Into 2021, and beyond…
The impact of COVID-19 has made many of the failures in the systems of our society and industry painfully apparent. This, followed by the murder of George Floyd with the resulting protests and conversation made even more painfully clear not only failures but injustices built into the fabric of all of the systems on which the Dragon relies and about which it has been complacent.
The new Dragon must be about embracing the changes that would have been part of our long term plans as soon as possible instead of over the next 3-5 years.
We will do this by:
- Centering the interdisciplinary nature of theatre and presenting a more diverse selection of performance disciplines;
- Centering the voices of artists from underrepresented communities as outlined by our Equality and Diversity statement here;
- Creating more opportunities for formal and technological research and experimentation to create new and grow existing markets for the performing arts;
- Creating educational opportunities for all ages and levels of involvement with the theatre, across a diverse range of theatrical disciplines and backgrounds;
- Utilizing theatre education as a means of providing interdisciplinary training in other fields such as STEM areas, and beyond; and
- Developing and prototyping more equitable economic models for the compensation of artists/designers/technicians/instructors such as through the implementation of hybrid (online/in-person) programming beyond the pandemic.
Those of us who are working tirelessly on this new Dragon believe that the point of a non-profit organization is to serve its community and that the Dragon’s existence is moot if we are not serving, even during extraordinary times.
We are not here to just survive. We are here to create theatrical experiences with, and for, all.
We have an opportunity right now to check our assumptions as an industry of what is possible and what is ‘just the way things have to be’. We believe that this is the time to find experiences on a spectrum of theatricality which can still engage people’s emotions, build instant communities and spark conversations. We believe that artists really are ‘second responders’ to any social crisis, and we believe that it takes a level of rigor and application of ‘Design Thinking’ which we are ready to commit to.
We are acknowledging that we are unlike other theatre companies and we are carrying this through to how we view staffing. We do not function internally as a stagnant pyramid. We are alive, with different sections of a brain and muscles and bones. We need all these parts to function vibrantly. Above all else we need our artists, our audiences, and our students, for they are our heart, our veins, and our arteries.
To the Future
This next phase of Dragon’s life will be all about developing new ways of engaging with and serving through the arts in a post COVID world. We believe that it is our responsibility as an arts organization to create paying work opportunities for artists who have lost their income due to the pandemic. We believe it is our duty to center voices which have been for too long under represented and excluded in our industry and society. We also feel it is our responsibility to introduce audiences to new forms and disciplines of the performing arts and broaden the understanding of all that theatre can be. We believe that we live at a time of great cultural change and that certain forms of theatre can stand alongside film, popular music and video games as a dominant cultural force in our time of great need for human connection and storytelling. We believe our artistic skills and processes can enhance the outcomes of our partners from many sectors including business, governance, healthcare, youth & elderly services, etc. The fourth wall is hardly the limit.
We are excited for the journey ahead, and are honored to have you with us. Enjoy the experience.