On Friday May, 22nd, 2020, the Playwrights Ensemble of Victory Gardens resigned en masse via a public letter on Medium. See the full letter below.
Victory Gardens Theater Playwrights Ensemble:
Luis Alfaro, Marcus Gardley, Ike Holter, Samuel D. Hunter, Naomi Iizuka, Tanya Saracho, Laura Schellhardt
We, as an ensemble of resident artists at this venerable institution, are deeply
disturbed by the notion that our creative home aspires to be a truth-telling temple on its stage, but not in its administration.
This is unacceptable.
The Board of Directors, who are of service to our community, took it upon themselves to eliminate communication with the ensemble, artistic staff, stakeholders and artists who have labored for a decade to build up this theater and its new audience.
For over five months, and after receiving a letter signed by over 60 of its biggest supporters asking for accountability, the board sat on a plan to reorganize the institution.
It ignored the limitless possibility of what the field might have presented in terms of viable local and national leadership.
This is a theater where the voice of the writer and creator is valued, but for months, we were told that our voices were irrelevant, and waited for days and days to hear from anyone in the institution after the news was announced. After being told we would be in conversation about any developments, we ended up hearing about the change in leadership along with everybody else.
We are hereby resigning as a unified collective.
How can we do our best work when the basic tenets of trust and leadership are not guaranteed?
We are calling on artists, audiences and donors to examine closely what happens when an institution like Victory Gardens Theater purposely ignores the mission it made for itself and abuses the very resources it claims to value and support.
The ensemble hopes this act inspires the organization’s leaders to reconsider their treatment of this community, so that future ensemble members will feel proud to call the Biograph their home.
As we step down, all of us are proud of being part of this theater’s rich history, and we demand that a search for new leadership be made public so that all qualified leadership is encouraged and invited to apply.
The Former Ensemble Playwrights of Victory Gardens