Dear Theatre Friends,
Earlier this year, Gov. Walker signed a law recognizing the second Monday of October as Indigenous People’s Day. This was a holiday formerly recognized as Columbus Day, which Perseverance Theatre has not taken as a recognized holiday because we felt it was not respectful to the indigenous people of our land to do so. In light of the state’s formal recognition and re-dedication of the holiday, Perseverance will begin celebrating Indigenous People’s Day as a paid holiday, and will seek new steps we as theatre makers can take to celebrate and support the Native people of Alaska, especially as storytellers and generative artists, but also as employees, audience and board members, and throughout our organization.
With seasons in both Juneau and Anchorage, Perseverance stages performances on both Tlingit and Dena’ina land, and has traveled into countless others accross Alaska and when touring in the lower 48 states. And in nearly 40 years of business, we have worked with, for, and have celebrated Alaska Native and American Indian people and cultures. We’ve made mistakes as well as celebrated successes, and we are eager to take the next steps in our journey together to build an Alaskan theatre.
In the past several years, Perseverance recognized a need for the voice of Alaska Native people to have a larger role in our theatre, and that it needed to be in the leadership itself. We are committed to producing Alaska Native-written, directed, and performed art every season and making space to include these productions side by side with classics and other works. We pursue partnering with statewide Native organizations, and learning what more we can do to be allies and artistic supporters of Alaska Native cultures and people.
In the future, we hope to do even better. In addition to our Tlingit/Dena’ina Resident playwright, we have new plans already, including a group of four commissioned Native playwrights who are each working on new plays we hope to produce in future seasons, and supporting each other in an exploration of Alaska Native writing. But as a theatre company, we also recognize we have much more to learn about many things, including our home in Alaska and its stories, from people who have been here for over 10,000 years. We seek to be good stewards of this land, and its people. We celebrate the diverse cultures and people of Alaska, and hope to continue learning together with all of you, our community.
Art Rotch, Artistic Director