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Theater Artists Transform Victory Gardens' Boarded Up Windows into Billboards During Protest

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In Chicago, over 100 members of the theatre community gathered at the Victory Gardens Theater to protest, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Before the protest began, artists transformed the theater's boarded up windows into billboards. One photo shows a board plastered with "Say Their Names" along with the names of several Black people who have had their lives taken.

Many people felt compelled to share these words due to the theater's decision to board up, rather than open their lobbies for protesters to seek refuge, as many other theaters have done.

"I felt compelled to do this because I've worked in this theater for years and I've been taught about equality by this theater, and I've been taught about a safe space." said the scenic designer William Boles, who said he was one of the organizers. "To see a theater that I respect being silent during this time is very upsetting. There is nothing on their signage. Just empty plywood."

Many former employees and collaborators of the theater have also taken issue with the fact that Victory Gardens has chosen not to replace Artistic Director Chay Yew, who is leaving the theater at the end of June. They have instead chosen to combine the position with that of executive director Erica Daniels.

Daniels responded to the concerns in a statement to the Tribune, stating, "Rest assured, we are listening to all voices and reflecting on the concerns being raised. While we understand the desire to take swift action, we want to be deliberate in our decisions and make sure we incorporate all of the information we are receiving. That said, we will share news soon containing concrete actions to address the community's concerns, and that reflect our unwavering mission to create an inclusive theater experience."

Read the original story, and view photos, at the Chicago Tribune.

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