MRT Welcomes Free Soil Arts Collective As First Company in Residence

Merrimack Repertory Theatre and Free Soil Arts Collective will formalize their partnership this season.

By: Sep. 16, 2020
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MRT Welcomes Free Soil Arts Collective As First Company in Residence

After a yearlong collaboration, Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) and Free Soil Arts Collective, Lowell's only Black-owned theatre company, will formalize their partnership this season as Free Soil becomes MRT's first official Company in Residence, according to Courtney Sale, the Nancy L. Donahue Artistic Director, and Bonnie J. Butkas, Executive Director.

Sale said, "I am beyond excited to have founder Christa Brown and Free Soil partner with us in this bold endeavor. We have so much to learn from their artistry and engagement. The winner in this 'coming together' is the people of the greater Lowell region. What folks will feel is a solidarity of arts leaders focused on strikingly original work, an everlasting focus on equity and generous care for our beloved community."

Brown will join the MRT artistic staff and participate in season planning; casting; equity and anti-racist work within the non-profit organization; and initiatives for emerging leaders.

Brown said, "We are honored to be the first Company in Residence at MRT. This partnership directly supports Free Soil's mission to amplify and strengthen the voices of artists of color. We look forward to working side by side with MRT as we glean nonprofit best practices, knowledge sharing, and support their efforts toward becoming an anti-racist organization."

Free Soil operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. The company presented the original play Hair Tales: Stories of Black Hair-i-Tage at MRT last summer.

As MRT's Company in Residence, Free Soil will receive support in the form of rehearsal, performance, and office space. Additionally, the companies will work side by side in community engagement efforts around both Free Soil and MRT programming.

For further information visit the Free Soil Arts Collective site at or