Mission: The Meta Theatre Company seeks to abolish systemic oppression through live, interactive performance.
Vision: Build a liberating world that does not yet exist by:
1. We believe in transformative justice, not punishment.
2. We work through an intersectional lens, not focusing on just one social identity.
Educate on the history of how the idea of hierarchical systems like white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, capitalism, nativism, and ableism are socially constructed to divide communities
Help audiences develop a critical consciousness about the ways in which categories of oppression overlap, creating disproportionate impact to those who identify with multiple categories of oppression
Acknowledge that intersectionality is fluid and be open to learning more about multiple marginalizations
3. We trust the lived experiences of those who have been historically marginalized, not how the oppressive systems portray people who have been silenced.
Affirm the movement and the belief Black Lives Matter to bring to light how anti-Blackness is pervasive
Uphold the lived experiences of BIPOC, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ folks, people of all gender identities, especially those who are gender non-conforming and transgender, people with disabilities, people and communities impacted by carcerality and policing, survivors of interpersonal violence, people with mental illness, and members of any group which has historically had the least access to equity and institutional power
4. We define violence by those creating the harm, not those being harmed.
Identify violence on a continuum where the seemingly non-violent acts lead to the most violent acts
Name the oppression and violence by focusing on systems which create an imbalance of power
Educate on how positions of neutrality or apathy support oppression and how to amplify and support the oppressed instead of “saving” the oppressed or speaking for them
Demand accountability from those who have historically benefitted from systems of oppression, including MTC and the organizations and audiences with which MTC partners
5. We support abolition, not reform of oppressive systems.
Demonstrate how existing larger systems were designed to protect white supremacy and patriarchy
Build new and liberating systems led by those who’ve historically been oppressed
Explore with audiences how to apply an abolitionist approach to every system they encounter
Counter propaganda and echo the true intent behind abolitionist movements like Black Lives Matter’s Defund the Police
6. We believe people subject to the carceral state deserve recognition of their full humanity and should not be marginalized or invisible.
Amplify the leadership of those who are formerly or currently incarcerated, especially BIPOC leaders and others who have been oppressed by systems of white supremacy and patriarchy
Support efforts to abolish systems that support carcerality, including mass incarceration, disenfranchisement, and criminalization of historically marginalized communities
Identify the ways in which all systems contribute to the carceral state and empower people impacted by carcerality to shift the power imbalance and find liberation
Build on our weekly theatre based liberation work at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey from 2013-2020
Organize mutual aid and reparation opportunities for direct giving to formerly incarcerated women
Develop a liberating re-entry program for Meta cast members
7. We believe that white people are taught to perpetuate white supremacy and that doing antiracist work does not make white people, including those of Meta, immune from perpetuating white supremacy.
Hold white members of Meta accountable to the leadership of color in Meta and in the community by being transparent and repair harm when white supremacy is upheld
Engage in the use of accountability tools such as weekly caucusing, independent work, accountability letters, and reparations so that white members of Meta are actively working against their indoctrination into white supremacy
Collaborate with white audience members to develop a critical consciousness and to create ongoing action that challenges systemic racism and resists indoctrination into white supremacy
Encourage predominantly white organizations that work with Meta to develop their own practice of accountability through education and repair of harm to historically oppressed people within their organization
8. We are accomplices and co-conspirators, not allies.
Strategize with the community impacted by the oppression
Work as active players in the movement for justice rather than cheer in the stands
Support leadership of oppressed groups by building sustainable partnerships with BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and formerly-incarcerated led groups
Directly challenge systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, capitalism, nativism, and ableism
Build trust with individuals and communities through consent and accountability
Work in community and in transparency, never in isolation
9. We work with audiences, not for audiences, to decolonize theatre.
Create a theatrical space that flattens hierarchy and embraces audience participation
Be players and actors in dismantling the machine of white supremacy and patriarchy
Make theatre and information accessible and inclusive of historically marginalized experiences
Decenter whiteness, patriarchy, and capitalism
Challenge the notion that euro-centric aesthetics and academia are necessary to legitimize art and performance
10. We honor the people and organizations who have inspired us.
Rhea Almeida- The Institute for Family Services/Liberation Based Healing Conference
Paulo Freire-Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Augusto Boal- Theatre of the Oppressed
Kimberlé Crenshaw-African American Policy Forum
Black Lives Matter
Movement for Black Lives
Angela Davis-Are Prisons Obsolete?
bell hooks-Feminism is for Everybody
Eduardo Galeano-Open Veins of Latin America
Ijeoma Oluo-So You Want to Talk About Race?
Ibram X. Kendi-How to Be an Anti-Racist
Bryan Stevenson-Equal Justice Initiative
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
All of Us Or None of Northern NJ
Karen Gaffney-Dismantling the Racism Machine: A Manual and Toolbox