We are the Summer Cabaret 2020 Leadership Team.
We’re so grateful that you’ve decided to pay our page a visit. We are two directing students, Christopher Betts and Alex Keegan, and three theater management students, Carl Holvick, Sami Cubias and Jason Gray. We came together earlier this year with an aligned purpose - we wanted to be part of a Summer Cabaret that was radically inclusive, artistically daring, and community-oriented. We articulated a set of values that resonated deeply for each of us: a reclamation of space by giving voice to narratives that have been overlooked or distorted in mainstream theatre, liberation to think and create freely, outside the confines of a busy academic year; curiosity to investigate brave, challenging work, community built through season programming as well as a host of readings, workshops and events aimed to engage greater New Haven, and celebration; celebrating the human spirit in all aspects of our theater making.
We called our season A Seat at the Table, and were raring to go with artists and creative staff engaged and finances mapped out.
Then Coronavirus hit.
And we all took a big step back. We gave ourselves grace and time to take in the moment, to process the grief and frustration, and the endless questions - at the core of which was/is: what does theater mean in this moment?
We surveyed the community to ask you essentially the same thing. We meditated on your amazing responses and used them to fuel an exciting retreat with our artistic collaborators where we were able to reimagine what the Summer Cabaret could be and who we might serve.
It became very clear that we needed to use our platform to address the Black Lives Matter movement and do our part to lend energy, engagement and nurturing to the monumental change taking root in our country and around the world to fight racial injustice. It also became clear that instead of asking for a Seat at the Table, we wanted and needed to build a table of our own, both as a leadership team and as citizens of a fundamentally flawed society. And so this summer’s project, MEZA, was born. Meza, a Swahili word meaning Table, is offered as a unifying theme for our season, and by larger implication, as a way forward for all of us.