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Hawaii State Theatre Council Announces Plans To Renew

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Council Members will focus on the organization's mission, values, vision, and state-wide practices.

The Hawaii State Theatre Council, a 50-year old organization devoted to supporting theatres in Hawai'i, announces that it is embarking on a season of strategic planning. During this time, the Council Members will focus on the organization's mission, values, vision, and state-wide practices, and will cease its usual activity of adjudicating island performances and giving awards at the end of the season.

A statement from Hawai'i Theatre Council President, Donna Blanchard:

"To assure that we are inclusive of and sensitive to the many cultures on our islands, in June 2020 the Hawai'i State Theatre Council began a conversation following the Representation, Equity, and Diversity (RED) model established by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. At our September 12th, 2020 meeting we unanimously determined that it is time for this organization to revisit our impact on our community, and thoughtfully plan how we will move forward. We recognize that the Council has primarily benefited theatres on O'ahu, and that its annual production adjudication and recognition has been operating on a Euro-American centered paradigm that is not ideal for our community.

Understanding that we cannot fix a car while driving it down the road, we are taking the rest of the 2020-2021 season to cease public activities and focus inwardly on the soul of our organization. We are committed to ramping-up our meeting schedule and respectfully considering our mission, vision, and values, as they inform all that we do, including our adjudication process, moving beyond the traditional Western approach to awards, and supporting our neighbor island theatres better.

I'd like to add that the Council recently received some letters from members of the community, alerting us to issues we need to address; we really appreciate that help and we are happy to let you know about our commitment to change. Out of respect for our host culture, we are retiring the current Theatre Council logo and will no longer incorrectly use the Hawaiian name "Po'okelas" for our awards program.

If there ever was a year to take time to reset, this is it. Thank you for your support and patience while we work hard to evolve well. We plan to enter the 2021-2022 season in celebration of our art across the state with a new focus and brand that truly fulfills our mission to serve our theatre community!"

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