As a nonprofit theatre in the Greater Boston area, we embrace anti-racism work as an awesome act of love! According to the Boston Globe, 54% of African-Americans ranked Boston as the least welcoming city for people of color. Meanwhile, Broadway has remained dark since March, signaling a severe nationwide shortage of arts and culture: the lifeblood of thriving communities.
Through outdoor theatre, New Rep has reimagined the “new normal” of public performances. This past fall, we partnered with the Watertown Free Public Library and the Historical Society of Watertown to present the first Watertown Historical Moving Play, featuring local Black history. Patrons traveled back to the Civil War era with Charles W. Lenox, a Black Watertown-based barber from 1863, who led groups on an immersive and educational theatrical experience as they strolled through historical Watertown sites, such as Lenox’s barbershop.
The success of the fall pilot program has led New Rep to expand its scope for our spring Watertown Historical Moving Play, which will focus on local Indigenous history. We aim to honor that the land now referred to as Watertown was the traditional homelands of the Pequosette Band of the Massachusett Tribe, especially since the Indigenous history of Watertown has been mostly erased. The production will be written by Mwalim Peters, Indigenous playwright and professor at UMass Dartmouth, and performed by an Indigenous actor. Performances will follow all COVID-19 guidelines and take place on sidewalks and public facilities.
Our immediate goal with this project is to increase community access to exceptional theatre, offer diverse programming, and give patrons a safe artistic experience that creates joy during this difficult time. In the long term, New Rep has been catalyzed by our community’s drive for equity, diversity, and inclusion and aims to lead a groundbreaking movement to develop innovative anti-racist practices and facilitate multicultural theatre.
Funded by Boston, MA (March 2021)