Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play will remain a part of Center Theatre Group’s 2022 programming. The playwright had recently requested the work be moved from the slate of programming, citing a gender imbalance in the upcoming season.
The turnaround came after CTG shared with Harris its plans for the 2022–2023 season, which will exclusively feature women-identifying or non-binary playwrights at the Mark Taper Forum (where Slave Play will make its West Coast debut). In addition, that same season will have a majority of women-identifying or non-binary playwrights at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Both venues will also focus on BIPOC artists.
“As an organization that is actively working towards being anti-racist and inclusive, we take responsibility for the lack of intersectionality of social identities and experiences on our stages,” said CTG in a statement. “We will continue our commitment to uplifting/building gender and racial equity within our production directors and artistic teams.”
O. Harris took to Twitter to share his excitement for his play's L.A. bow and the changes that were made to ensure it. "I hope that this commitment, reframing, and dialogue with artists can serve as a model/a call to action for other theatres and artists in our country," he wrote. "I’m relieved that the show will be able to go forward but I don’t want these dialogues to cease and I’ve offered my services to the theatre in any way they may want to use my privileges to aid in the fight for true equity in our programming."
The Los Angeles-based company also announced additional New Play Development programming, including a new chapter of the Not a Moment, But a Movement initiative, commissioning six new plays by Black women-identifying or non-binary playwrights. These initiatives will take place under the leadership of a new artistic director, as Michael Ritchie is set to retire at the end of the year.
CTG also invited artists, theatregoers, colleagues, and partners, to reach out to [email protected] to address any concerns.
Prior to its debut in L.A., Slave Play will return to Broadway in November at the August Wilson Theatre.