The Flea Announces Production Pause to 'Reflect on Misalignment of Values'

By: Jun. 18, 2020
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The Flea Announces Production Pause to 'Reflect on Misalignment of Values'

Off Broadway theatre company The Flea has just announced that it will pause production activity to "to transform [their] institutional culture and producing model."

A statement from leaderships reads:

The Flea must reckon with the intersection of racism, sexism and pay inequity and we must properly address grievances expressed by members of our community, particularly Bryn Carter and our Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) artists who are leading the priorities in our culture reform. We are pausing all production activity to reflect on the misalignment of our values and actions and to transform our institutional culture and producing model.

We take full responsibility for the ways in which we have let down our artists, and are heartbroken to know that we have come up short for the very people it is our mission to serve. This necessary pause will afford us the time to listen to our artists, staff and supporters, to deeply reflect on what we can do better and to seek and implement the recommendations of our community members, most importantly our BIPOC Resident Artists. We will pause for as long as it takes to align our development and producing model with our values.

As part of this work, we believe it is important to keep the community abreast of what we are implementing in real time:

  • Artists at The Flea will no longer be volunteers. All artists will be paid for their work.
  • We have been moved and humbled by how our BIPOC resident artists have come together to hold us accountable in this moment. They have provided us with a list of priorities to transform our culture. The Flea is committed to working collaboratively with our artists including adding resident artists to our Board of Directors.
  • Resident Artists will be included in the season planning process.
  • All staff and leadership will be continually trained in anti-racism; diversity, equity and inclusion; and conflict resolution.

We believe it is possible to change. We are truly committed to transforming our culture into one we can all be proud of. And when we can turn the lights back on, we hope to come together stronger than ever.

-Carol, Niegel, & The Flea

A statement released by The Flea's company, the Bats, was circulated earlier this week:

The Flea Announces Production Pause to 'Reflect on Misalignment of Values'

The Flea Announces Production Pause to 'Reflect on Misalignment of Values'

The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Niegel Smith and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading Off-Off-Broadway companies. Winner of several Obie Awards, a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement and an Otto Award for political theater, The Flea has presented over 100 theatrical, musical and dance performances since its inception in 1996. Past productions include premieres by Steven Banks, Thomas Bradshaw, Erin Courtney, Bathsheba Doran, Will Eno, Karen Finley, Amy Freed, Sarah Gancher, Sean Graney, A.R. Gurney, Jennifer Haley, Hamish Linklater, Enrique Gutiérrez, Ellen McLaughlin, Ortiz Monasterio, Itamar Moses, Anne Nelson, NSangou Njikam, Qui Nguyen, Adam Rapp, Jonathan Reynolds, Kate Robbins, Roger Rosenblatt, Todd Solondz, Elizabeth Swados, and Mac Wellman. Successes include Drama Desk nominated She Kills Monsters, New York Times Critics' Pick Inanimate, Syncing Ink, These Seven Sicknesses, Restoration Comedy, The Mysteries and ten World Premiere productions by A.R. Gurney, including the WSJ Best New Play of 2013, Family Furniture.

The Flea Theater is located at 20 Thomas Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks north of Chambers, close to the A/C/E, N/Q/R/W, 4/5/6, J/M/Z and 1/2/3 subway lines. Purchase tickets by calling 212-352-3101 or online at