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Lights at Mudlark Theater suddenly were bright at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, as a small group of Mudlarkians and supporters joined theater groups of all types – from Broadway to regional theaters to high schools and colleges and community theaters across the nation – to launch the Ghostlight Project.
According to the website, ghostlightproject.com, “Gathering outside of theaters on the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, people will join in a collective, simultaneous action, together creating ‘light’ for challenging times ahead. Inspired by the tradition of leaving a ‘ghost light’ on in a darkened theater, artists and communities will make or renew a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone – regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
While many gatherings were held outside, the observance at Mudlark took place inside Mudlark’s headquarters, 1417 Hinman Ave. In relative darkness, actors and directors read the same statement that was being read across the country, pledging to create “brave spaces” that will serve as lights in the coming years. The group defines a brave space as a space where people can feel safe to be themselves, and where “diverse opinions, dissent, and argument are not only tolerated, but invited. Active listening and courageous exchange are fundamental values.
Collective action, activism, and community engagement, both within and outside the walls of the theater, are cultivated, encouraged, and supported.”
Afterward, Mudlark Managing Director Christina Lepri asked all in attendance to direct toward her lantern whatever lights they had brought with them. The lantern, she said, will be lit for the remainder of the year.