Almost 50 New York theaters, from Abrons Art Center to WP Theater, are calling on their patrons to lobby New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and the New York City Council to reset their priorities in the annual budget that must be passed by July 1.
Theaters that have signed up for the campaign, which has been given the hashtag #NYCBudgetJustice and is inspired by the work of Communities United for Police Reform, have been sending out e-mails to their lists calling for a cut in funding for the New York Police Department, and a restoration of planned cuts to social services and cultural programs.
The wording differs depending on the theater. An excerpt from Atlantic Theater’s e-mail:
“Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Executive Budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year calls for only a 0.32% cut to the New York Police Department. He has since stated that he will make cuts to the NYPD but has not specified or defined to what extent.
“At the same time, the budget – as our colleagues at Playwrights Horizons aptly pointed out – proposes drastic cuts to essential services, including:
- 100% of summer youth jobs
- 45% of the budget of the Department of Youth and Community Development
- 40% of the capital budget for affordable housing
- $640 million+ from the Department of Education (with much of that coming from direct cuts to our schools)
“The budget also includes a more than 60% cut to cultural programs funding. This is a devastating blow, particularly to organizations in the Coalition of Theaters of Color whose work is more essential than ever to the vibrancy of our city.”
The e-mails link to a document, adapted from the Communities United for Police Reform, that offers contact information for telephoning or e-mailing the relevant city public officials and a suggested script to use when addressing them.
The theaters that are part of the campaign include: Abrons Art Center, The Acting Company, AMAS Musical Theater, Ars Nova, Atlantic Theater Company, Beth Morrison Projects, Bushwick Starr, Clemente Center, Clubbed Thumb, Dixon Place, Downtown Art, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Foundry Theatre, HERE, Keen Company, La Mama, LAByrinth Theater Company, Ma-Yi Theatre, Mabou Mines, MCC, The Movement Theatre Company, National Black Theater, Nature’s Darlings, New Georges, The New Group, New Ohio Theatre, New York Stage and Film, New York Theatre Workshop, Performance Space New York, Play Co, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Red Bull, Second Stage, Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Talking Band, Tandem Otter, Target Margin, Theatre for a New Audience, This Is Not A Theatre Company, Vineyard Theatre, Waterwell, and WP Theater. And the list is growing.