2b announces big changes

 

Full statement from Christian Barry, Artistic Co-Director

This is a time of great change in the world. But the change isn’t happening quickly enough.

For some time now, we have all been thinking about how to manifest the change we want to see in the world. Those departing are doing so for a confluence of individual reasons. As an organization we have embraced this moment for evolution at 2b.

We all want the company to be a part of a metamorphosis that sees our community become more compassionate, equitable, and just.

Some of us are changing our profession to manifest change, some of us are taking a pause to listen, some of us are opening up a space at the table. We are all taking steps forward, seeking a better, more caring world.

One of the things I am most proud of at 2b is the company’s recently articulated value of prioritizing care​ over ​ambition​. 2b has historically strived for excellence at all costs, sometimes overworking and depleting ourselves and our teams. Our people are our greatest resource, and going forward, 2b will lead with care.
Anthony Black has been my collaborator and partner for 20 years. His contributions to the company and to the community of Halifax are immense. He is irreplaceable, and I’m proud of what we’ve built together. Although he won’t be in the rehearsal rooms or the 2b office, his contributions and his impact will be with us in all we do.

The company will begin re-shaping our staffing model, with preliminary hiring by early Fall, and will be restructuring our artistic direction and vision by January 2021. I am deeply thankful to our outgoing staff – they have made incredible contributions to this organization and this community, and they are some of my best friends – I will miss working with them everyday. Thankfully, they will continue to be a resource for 2b, and they will all support 2b throughout this transition. We have big changes that we want to make, but we are building on great foundations and working with some of the very best people.

As we take our first steps forward into this period of evolution, these are the things I am heartened by: We have time in this moment to look within and without, and after deep reflection we will re-emerge from this chrysalis moment with a strengthened core, and a new course. We will be guided by the values we have built together. We will lead with care. 2b will stand against racism. Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. We will work sustainably, with the health of our environment at the forefront of our minds. We will breathe together and hold each other up. We will listen. We will sit with discomfort. We will mourn. We will look to create space for joy. We will open.

 

 

Full statement from Catherine Woodman, Chair of 2b’s Board of Directors
on behalf of the Board of Directors: Daniela Bassan (vice-chair), Jeannine Bakeeff (secretary), Scott Hanko (treasurer), and Directors Lucy Hulford, Monique LeBlanc, Denise MacDonell, Jeremy Moore, Sarah Simpson, Denise Smith, and Charla Williams

This year marks an incredible 20 years in the history of 2b. During those twenty years, the company has grown into one of the most active and respected touring theatre companies in the country. After two decades, we embark on a time of great change. 

We are grateful for the contribution of Anthony, Colleen, and Karen and we wish them all the best.

The 2b Board of Directors is a dedicated group of passionate community members who are steadfast in our support of 2b’s mission and its people. We are looking forward to contributing to this exciting and key phase of revisioning. 

2020 has seen unprecedented challenge and disruption caused by a global pandemic, as well as calls to eradicate systemic racism in our societal constructs. We will ensure that 2b continues to be a positive part of the changes that are required.

2b will be revamping its leadership structure and introducing operational changes. We look forward to sharing more details soon about upcoming programming and production plans. 

With this latest evolution of 2b, the goal is to build upon the core values of the company, reaffirm the resolve of the entire organization, and to commit to a community presence that is compassionate, equitable and just.

 

 

Full Statement from Anthony Black, Artistic Co-Director

I have been contemplating a shift away from 2b for several months. For the past 20 years, this company has been central to my life.  After two decades, I’m ready for a change. Many factors have contributed to my coming to this decision now. The global pandemic has given me time to stop and think. Meanwhile the uncertainty about when and how theatre will resume has made me feel that, if I’m going to make a change, this is a good moment. I’m not sure what is next for me and I will be taking some time to figure that out. I am lucky to have gotten to spend two decades collaborating with my best friend and creative partner, Christian, and to have gotten to know and work alongside some incredible people, in particular Colleen and Karen, whose talents and hearts will be missed.

We all agree that this is an opportunity for creative renewal. The pause to the performing arts sector provides 2b with a perfect moment to look at and rebuild its foundations and to bring in fresh voices and new perspectives. 

In Christian, the organization has a sensitive and wonderful artist who, in partnership with the board of directors, will provide leadership and continuity while making space for growth and evolution. 

To get to create the kind of theatre that we have made while remaining based here in Halifax has been an extraordinary privilege; indeed it is a dream come true. I have faith that the organization will continue to be a strong and vital cultural force in this province and around the world.  I’m eternally thankful to the artists, administrators, technicians, consultants, presenters, agents, board members, and audiences that have been part of my journey at 2b.

 

 

Full Statement from Karen Gross, Managing Producer

I feel enormously grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the people I’ve met at 2b. I have found this job fulfilling, fascinating, and challenging. Working in proximity to art has been a profound gift. I am planning to move in a new direction professionally. I have been personally preparing for this transition over the past several months.

I love theatre because it allows us to imagine possible worlds and it offers us space to meaningfully be together. In these ways I see the pursuit of justice and care as essential to theatre making.

At 2b we have talked about times we’ve shown a lack of awareness of power dynamics, had perfectionistic expectations of contractors, and upheld a vision of artistic excellence that assumes a white male perspective as default. At the heart of these conversations are questions about how we want to relate to other people and what kind of world we aspire to. 

I know I have made mistakes. I avoided building relationships and hid behind my to do list. I wish I had imagined more: sometimes I told myself we were doing the best we could with what we had. I protected the institution by allowing conversations to happen privately and slowly, sometimes leading to little or no change. I often didn’t consider more radical transformations that could have yielded new possibilities. 

I hope that listening becomes a more central part of 2b’s work. Deep listening involves recognizing your own point of view as subjective and understanding that the ways other people see the world are as real and human as yours. It means making space to be present with other people. It can be uncomfortable and it can feel like it’s not solving anything. And it is necessary for making theatre.

I am inspired by the art 2b makes and by the organizational values we gradually built as a team, which now centre care. To move from committing to these values on paper to living them out is the real work. I have faith that this organization is capable of that. I plan to stay engaged with the company’s activities and support them by holding them accountable. I ask you, the community, to do the same.

This could be a transformative moment for 2b. There is also risk. There is always risk in the moment of taking a leap.

 

 

Full Statement from Colleen MacIsaac, Managing Director

Working at 2b has been an absolutely life-changing experience for me. I will always be truly grateful for the amount of trust that the organization placed in me, for the people I had the extraordinary good fortune to work with, and for the incredible experiences that I had while employed by this company. I think the staff of this organization (both departing and remaining) are truly wonderful people, and I care for them all greatly and look forward to seeing what they do in the future. 

Recently, I had a realization that for the overwhelming whiteness of theatre leadership in our region to shift, people need to step aside to make space, and drastic, transformative changes need to happen. It is hard work, but I believe it is essential work. I have been doing a lot of reflecting on this document and others like it, and critically examining the ways that I personally move through the world. I have been assessing my own failings, thinking of times that I could have listened more, pushed for change more, or told myself that I was too busy to fully engage with just causes and actions. I feel hopeful about moving forward. During these slower months I have also been taking a look at the directions I want to move in and am going to be taking more time to focus on my own artistic practice and investigate life at a different pace. 

These are transformative times. I am heartened by 2b’s shift towards care as a central value. I am excited by the projects that 2b is working on. I have trust in the 2b team to move forward in positive, just ways. I have been tremendously lucky to work with 2b for the past seven years, and now it is time for me to pass along that good fortune to someone else, who can bring new perspectives to the company and enrich it further. I am confident that this is not only going to be a very positive step for me personally, but for the organization as a whole.