Chicago theaters will participate in the Ghostlight Project at 5:30pm on Thursday, January 19, to affirm their commitment to diversity and inclusion in advance of the Trump inauguration. Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens and Shattered Globe theaters have announced programs for that date and other Chicago-area theaters are also participating.
The Ghostlight Project celebrates the theater tradition of leaving a “ghost light” on in a darkened theater. The lights will symbolize hope and a belief that change is possible through action. Participants will pledge their commitment to protect the values of inclusion and participation for everyone regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, disability, gender or sexual identity, or dissident actions. The national organization estimates that more than 300 theaters in 47 states will participate.
Steppenwolf Theatre will host a public gathering at 5:15pm in the open-air lot south of the theater building at 1650 N. Halsted. Ensemble members will read a statement on behalf of Steppenwolf and a ghostlight will be officially lit at 5:30pm and remain lit in the theater lobby until it is no longer needed. Complementary cider will be provided for guests outside and the 1700 Theatre and Front Bar: Coffee & Drinks will be open for guests to gather following the event. The event is free, wheelchair accessible and will feature ASL Interpretation. Ensemble member Tina Landau is one of he founders of the national Ghostlight Project.
At the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, the new theater marquee will be illuminated for the first item during a public ceremony Thursday in honor of the Ghostlight Project. The event will open with remarks by theater leadership at 5:15pm. The new vertical sign, to be illuminated at 5:30pm, will match the original 2000 marquee, which was irreparably damaged by an electrical fire last year. The new marquee will remain lit around the clock in the future.
The marquee is a visual symbol of Goodman Theatre’s long commitment to high quality productions, cultural and aesthetic diversity, and proactive engagement in the community, according to artistic director Robert Falls. “We are proud to reaffirm this longtime commitment now, at a time when tensions in the United States have unleashed dark divisions.”
Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln, will open its doors to all theater companies, artists and community members for a gathering beginning at 5:30pm, when the ghostlight will shine at VG. Doors will open at 5pm. Participants will be invited to pledge their commitment to the Ghostlight Project’s values of diversity, inclusion and participation.
Shattered Globe Theatre will participate in the Ghostlight Project kick-off event at 5:30pm Thursday at Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont, for a free ceremony to support inclusion and social justice in the arts. The event will be followed by a potluck.
The Ghostlight Project is providing “I AM / WE ARE” posters for individuals and companies to articulate what they fight for. The posters are available for download on the group’s Facebook page.
Other Chicago-area theaters participating in the Ghostlight Project include American Theater Company, Chicago Opera Theater, Second City and Northlight Theatre.