• Jess Hutchinson

GROWING FORWARD: Creating Accountability and Embracing Change

the "why" behind our November convening

In her landmark novel Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler said:

All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change.

For more than two years, we’ve felt the truth of this prescient text. The uncertainty of a pandemic, the urgent calls for long-deferred racial justice, revelation after revelation of breaches of public trust and private bodies/minds by those emboldened by a white supremacist patriarchal culture: our world continues to shift with dizzying speed. At the same time, we are seeing what resilient, determined, courageous people can do, especially when they come together in community to create longed-for change.

As artists, administrators, and advocates for a form grounded in the sharing and witnessing of human stories – with particular interest in passing the mic to new perspectives and unheard voices – we have a choice to make. Will we embrace the opportunity this moment is manifesting to remake our systems, better care for ourselves and others, to be profoundly changed by all we’re experiencing together? Will we create new systems that aim to prevent harm, repair relationships when harm occurs, and build the equitable, just, anti-racist ecology we envision? Will the stories we tell and the way we tell them fully engage with the newness of this moment? Or will we allow the gravitational pull of the status quo to bring us back into familiar orbits, ignoring the charge we’ve been given to make true and lasting progress?

Growing Forward: Creating Accountability and Embracing Change is National New Play Network’s call to courage for the new play field and the American theater writ large. During this one-day virtual convening, we gather our Member Theater staff, Affiliated Artists, and Ambassadors to share their experiences, curiosities, and the work they are doing to embrace change and create systems of accountability. We invite our friends in the larger field to join us for select events via YouTube live, including a Playwrights Slam that will feature NNPN Affiliated Artists who experienced an interruption in their NNPN program experience since the spring of 2020, as well as discussions about the key issues alive in our field today.

At NNPN, we believe in the power of collaboration to spur innovation and create a just, equitable new play ecology. We believe that creating an aesthetically diverse ecosystem that values humans and their unique perspectives is the way we will thrive, not just in this moment but as change continues to play its role in and beyond our lifetimes. We hope you will join us as we explore what’s happening now and look ahead to what’s possible as we work to grow forward together.

Our Playwrights Slam, opening plenary, midday keynote, and closing plenary sessions will be live-streamed to our YouTube page. Keep an eye on our website for more information and links to join us.

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