Theatre Washington, along with a coalition of members of the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations across the United States and Canada, has released a statement of support and solidarity for Nataki Garrett, artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Garrett was featured in a National Public Radio story in September 2022 where it was revealed that she has received death threats due to her programming choices that lift up diverse artists and arts leaders. She now travels with security for public events.
The following statement of support has been co-signed by 24 arts service organizations across the United States and Canada:
As an international coalition of theatre and performing arts service organizations, we collectively voice our support, admiration, and respect for Nataki Garrett, Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Ms. Garrett is a leading national figure both as a theatre artist and an advocate for a society that is more equitable and just. Arts organizations across the country look to Oregon Shakespeare Festival as a beacon of progress, creativity, and innovation on stage and off. It is notable that while OSF has been a leader in the work of diversifying artistic programming, artists, and staff for over a decade, it is only now, when a Black woman is at the helm, that public resistance has taken the form of unconscionable threats of violence.
We denounce, in the strongest possible way, any and all threats of violence against artists and arts leaders, and we are particularly alarmed and disgusted by the layers of misogyny and racism that underlie the threats against Ms. Garrett’s life.
Artists have always been at the forefront of imagining new worlds, encouraging empathy, and expanding the stories that are told. No artist should be made to fear for their life because of their creative contributions or their personal identity.
Our organizations are charged with offering the arts field leadership through service. We have members in all fifty states and Canada. We are a community of artists and leaders, all working toward a world where the arts can continue to make the world better, more inclusive, and more representative of all people’s lived experience. We are grateful to Nataki Garrett, as well as the board, staff, and artists of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for their significant leadership in the field. We stand in solidarity with Ms. Garrett as she navigates these unacceptable threats of violence while continuing to lead her organization with the courage, grace, artistry, and vision for which she is known.
Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York)
ArtPride New Jersey
Arts Administrators of Color Network
Asian American Arts Alliance
Austin Creative Alliance
Boston Dance Alliance
Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
League of Chicago Theatres
Milwaukee Theatre Alliance
Minnesota Fringe Festival
National Guild for Community Arts Education
New Jersey Theatre Alliance
Portland Area Theatre Alliance
Theatre Bay Area
Theatre Communications Group
Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts
To view the statement and learn more about how Ms. Garrett and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Board of Trustees have responded to this situation, please visit: njtheatrealliance.org/we-stand-with-nataki-garrett/
For instructions on how to send your own statement of support, please visit: dramatistsguild.com/news/dg-tcg-and-sta-statement-support-nataki-garrett