Mission, Vision & Principles

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. Supporting and amplifying the leadership and radical imagination of historically marginalized groups
  2. Teaching those who’ve historically had access to power how to develop their radical imagination to abolish systems of oppression

 

Guiding Principles:

We believe in transformative justice, not punishment.

  • Create and empower community to heal systemic injury without relying on the inclusion of systems that caused the oppression 
  • Place power back into the hands of those who have experienced the most harm
  • Support action and policies which seek safety and accountability and which do not rely on punishment, violence, or including the criminal justice system to incarcerate or police
  • Assess intergenerational power in relationships between people and systems through an intersectional lens 

 

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

 

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  

 

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

 

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 

 

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 

 

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

 

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

 

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 

 

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

Where to Find Us:

The Meta Theatre Company
info@themetatheatrecompany.org

 

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