The police and racial injustice crisis prompted by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others has led to protests all over our country and the world.

We at Hyde Park Theatre have been horrified by these senseless deaths but greatly encouraged by people taking to the streets to condemn these deaths and the systemic racism that exists in our country.

It’s profoundly heartbreaking and discouraging that the words “Black lives matter” have to be said at all, but they must be said. And we don’t want to just affirm that absolute most basic and inarguable fact and then go on our merry way as if to say: That’s it, give us our good citizenship medal now. Instead, we’re trying to examine ourselves to see how we can actually use our tiny axe to put a chip in the side of systemic racism.

The most obvious way we can think of is to feature more black voices—black playwrights, designers, and actors—-in our upcoming seasons (whenever those may begin--see below). That’s something we’re working on now.

I know many white people now are sharing amongst ourselves books and articles that have helped us better understand the black experience in this country and what work we can do to change it. There are lots of lists out there—here’s one I’m using.

But I also have a recommendation that’s been tremendously mind-opening for me personally. A few years ago I started following a lot of black writers and thinkers on Twitter. For someone who thought of herself as a very nice liberal white lady, it has been a huge education to me to listen in on the conversations among Black people. I’ve learned so much. If you’re interested in doing the same, here are a few of the people I follow to get you started: Ibram X. Kendi; 5’7” Black Male (his thread archive is especially valuable); Bree Newsome Bass; Wesley Lowery; Eve Ewing; Osita Nwanevu; and Kashana Cauley.

Just a tiny beginning, but it has helped me a lot. Black people have been thinking hard about racism all their lives, for generations; listening to them now is how white people will get up to speed.

Let’s hang on to the thought that this time our actions will be consistent and aware and unflagging. A hundred million tiny chips in systemic racism and it will start coming down like a Robert E Lee statue.

And as for the theater: The governor just annouced that theaters can open at 50% capacity, but we're not going to do that until we are sure we can keep you and all staff safe. We're working hard on that right now as well, and consulting with other local small theaters. We'll keep you posted.

We hope you will consider a donation to one of the the bail funds, victim memorial funds, and racial justice advocacy groups on on this excellent list. Meanwhile, if you're able to make a donation of any size to help keep us afloat, we're more grateful than we can say.

Stay safe and brave. HPT loves you.

Hyde Park Theatre is located at 511 W. 43rd Street. Covered off-street parking for the patrons of HPT is available during performances in the lot at 4315 Guadalupe Street, just north of The Parlor. You can drive through The Parlor's parking lot to reach it. Evening HPT parking also available at the Hyde Park Church of Christ on the northeast corner of 43rd & Avenue B. We are grateful to them both for their generosity.

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Many thanks to our season sponsor
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Be our hero: make a tax-deductible donation to HPT today.

And here's another way you can help:

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, and by an award from The National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.

HPT is also funded by grants from The Still Water Foundation and Tocker Foundation.

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