Arkansas Repertory Theatre Opposes Arkansas HB1228
On Mon., March 30, Arkansas Repertory Theatre (The Rep) Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp released the following statement in response to the Arkansas legislature's filing of HB1228, the "religious freedom" bill:
"Arkansas Repertory Theatre stands in strong opposition to HB1228, the "religious conscience" bill currently winding its way through our state government. We condemn any act that condones bigotry or discrimination of any kind. We believe HB 1228 is bad for our state and bad for our organization. Our state should look forward with optimism and hope, not backwards with anger and fear. This bill discourages the best and the brightest among us, in the arts and in commerce, from creating and living in our wonderful state. We, as a state, are better than this bill. VetoHB1228"
Additionally, on Tues., March 31, Hupp joined representatives from the state's legislature, business and LGBT community on the steps of the State Capitol for a rally organized by the Human Rights Campaign. Hupp spoke out against HB1228 and shared the damaging effects it will have on Arkansas' artistic community. In his closing remarks, Hupp said:
"HB1228 is like a Greek tragedy...a terrible tragedy unfolding before our eyes where we, the chorus, appear helpless to alter the course of events. We all think we know how it will end. But the final act hasn't been written yet. As we lift our voice of opposition, we recognize that great plays, great works of art, have the power to surprise us. Governor Hutchinson, surprise us. Give this farce, this tragedy, a happy ending. #VetoHB1228"
"Although the Arkansas legislature voted in favor of HB1228, The Rep and its board of directors, staff and community partners do not support the bill," said Hupp. "While employed at The Rep, actors will receive the utmost respect and support. It is, and will forever remain, our goal to provide visiting actors and creative designers a safe and welcoming work environment while at The Rep, in Little Rock and in our state."
On Facebook, the post was well received by followers with 2,653 Likes, 675 Shares, 97 Comments and a total of 124,992 People Reached (as of 4/1/2015 at 2 p.m.). As the most successful post in The Rep's social media history, it was four times as successful as the theatre's second highest reach post, a video of dance rehearsals for the theatre's current production Mary Poppins.
Founded in 1976, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the state's largest non-profit professional theatre company. A member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT D), The Rep has produced more than 300 productions including 40 world premieres on its 377- seat MainStage located in its history building in downtown Little Rock.
Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp leads a resident staff of designers, technicians and administrators in the creation of eight to ten productions for an annual audience in excess of 70,000 for MainStage productions and educational programming. The Rep employs guest artists from across the country to produce works, created, rehearsed, and built in downtown Little Rock, ranging from contemporary comedies and dramas to world premieres to the classics of dramatic literature. For more information, visit www.therep.org.
Pictured: (left) Sign in the window of The Rep; (right) producing artistic director Robert Hupp speaks at HRC Rally on the steps of the State Capitol.