Connecticut Repertory Theatre and its community of students, faculty and Mansfield residents participated in The Ghostlight Project, a ceremonial pledge of tolerance in front of the Nafe Katter Theatre Thursday evening.
The project looks to create spaces called “brave spaces.” These spaces are defined as a place where a person can be safe regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation as well a place where dissent and activism are invited and where there can be a community of listeners sharing in fundamental values.
The project was inspired by the tradition of an upright light that is left on the stage after a day’s work in a theatre is complete. After all other lights in the space have been turned off, the ghost light it is the solitary illumination that keeps people from injuring themselves in the dark.
On the eve of the inauguration, communities, theatrical or otherwise, gathered in front of theatres across the country to simultaneously shine lights into the sky. The lights symbolically represent a guiding lights for dark times ahead, according to theghostlightproject.com.
“Connecticut Repertory Theatre continues to be a place that welcomes diverse opinions, dissent, argument and people of all walks of faith and humanity,” said Michael Bradford, the artistic director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, during the ceremony.
Hundreds of theatres, arts activist groups and universities participated in the event across the U.S., a complete list of which is available on the project’s website. In Connecticut, 29 theatres and universities participated, including Hartford Stage Company, The Eugene O’Neill Center, Wesleyan University, Yale Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Odd Fellows Playhouse, TheatreWorks (Hartford), Heartbeat Ensemble and Goodspeed Musicals to name some.
“For me The Ghostlight Project means hope and community and knowing that you have people who will rally around you and help, especially in the rough times we are heading for,” said Christianne Glenn-Long, UConn alumnae who double-majored in English and theatre arts.
The timing of the event itself was a statement, the eve of the inauguration. There are many who dread President Trump’s agenda, fearful that a Trump administration will send the country backward on many social issues such as race, human rights and tolerance to name a few. One cannot say definitively what Trump’s administration will do to, or for, the country. The Ghostlight Project, though silently, extends a line, a stage by which people can become activists and express what they believe in.
“To me The Ghostlight Project is about standing up for collective human rights and having a non-pointed gathering saying that no matter what happens in the future, we are going to be standing up for the rights of all citizens in this country regardless of race, creed, color, sexuality and ability,” said Samuel Kebede, a sixth-semester graduate acting student.
Matthew Gilbert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org