Taxpayer Funded Theater To Have Black Only Performances

Taxpayer Funded Theater To Have Black Only Performances

( – Many communities have performance theaters for local residents to participate in either as performers, crew members, or spectators. Many of these are taxpayer funded and receive state or city funds to continue operating. Such is the case with Canada’s National Arts Centre (NAC), which is now receiving backlash over its limitations as to who can attend a specific show.

On January 16, the NAC announced that it was offering its first “Black Out” night on February 17. According to the theater, this event “is an open invitation to Black Audiences [sic] to come and experience performances with their community.” The Babs Asper Theatre will host a performance of “Is God Is.” What has people in an uproar is the fact that only black people are allowed to attend, which many see as an act of racism or segregation. Some even called for a white-only night.

According to a representative who spoke to Jonathan Kay of Quillette, no one will be checking anyone’s race at the door, and nobody will be turned away.

This is only the first of these events to come. The theater will host another one on May 5, this time for a curated play titled “Heaven.” According to its announcement, these nights will be a regularity as the NAC plans to include more dates in the 2023-2024 season.

NAC is hardly the first performing arts center to host a black-out night. In September 2019, Broadway’s Golden Theatre did the same for “Slave Play” by Jeremy O’Harris. The show was such a success, the theater hosted another one on January 8, 2020. Since then, there have been a number of other performances earmarked for black audiences.

Two other Toronto theaters, Theatre Passe Muraille and Canadian Stage, plan to host similar events in the future and piggyback off the success of the initial Broadway night.

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