Story of the JUBILEE

The JUBILEE has always been a dynamic organization. Since inception, different members are available to meet and plan. One of the great joys of the JUBILEE is that we are without celebrity or traditional seats of power. Our power is collective and vision-based. The vision is passed along, adapted, and improved as new people interact with the vision and as long-term members return from the individual demands on their time. In a nutshell: The JUBILEE is shaped by everyone who participates.

Our work is centered around one concern: theatre in the United States can do better. The result is this challenge to our theatre community to take responsibility for our contribution to nationwide inequity and address it through a year of innovative programming.

Our work began in 2015, when a ragtag group of 20-30 people started getting on the phone once a month to brainstorm around inequity in theatre in the U.S. We began to imagine what would happen if every theatre in the U.S. committed to programming marginalized voices for a festival season, to discuss what it might take to make such a thing happen. We published a call to action in HowlRound, asking theatres to pledge themselves to this labor. We received more than 60 pledges. To honor this first wave of pledges, we set out to formalize our organization and strengthen our impact. We received support through the HowlRound Challenge, which enabled us to host our first convening in Boston in December 2017. There, we gathered fourteen people who represented the past and the future of the JUBILEE to refine our vision and maximize its potential impact.

We have since articulated the following vision:

The JUBILEE is a yearlong, nationwide theatre festival featuring work generated by those who have traditionally been excluded--including but not limited to artists of color, Native American and Indigenous and First Nations artists, women, non-binary and gender non-conforming artists, LGBTQIA2+ artists, Deaf artists, and artists with disabilities.

As a result of this convening, we defined the JUBILEE as an ongoing process, an investigation that could be entered into again and again. One could not really become “JUBILEE compliant” (whatever that would mean) and then call it a day. We began to simplify the vision for the JUBILEE: an invitation for all theatres to examine what their dominant frameworks are and what voices, stories, and perspective aren’t typically a central point of focus. Theatres can now craft their own unique pledges to serve their community and their institution, creating their own entry points to innovation and transformation.

So let's take action together! Join us as we celebrate the beautiful ecology that makes up theatre in the United States! If you believe our theatre should include ALL voices, if you believe it is our responsibility as individual artists and as institutions to take action and make this vision a reality -- then sign the JUBILEE pledge! You can sign the JUBILEE pledge as written, or you can write our own JUBILEE pledge, stating what the JUBILEE means to you and how your organization will engage with it in 2020/2021.We invite you to add your theatre, your voice, and your community to the celebration. We’re excited to move through the next era of theatre in the U.S. with you.

All of you.