When news of the COVID pandemic began to break last spring, Moonbox, like so many in our industry, began to scramble our schedules and personnel in an effort to let the show go on. Hopes that we were looking at just a few months of disruption dissolved as the virus spread, and we entered this long haul of social distancing, shut-downs and unspeakable losses of life and livelihoods.
In order to protect our staff and audiences, Moonbox decided early on to cancel all planned public performances, and took that decision as an opportunity to dive into activities we might not have had the time or bandwidth for under normal circumstances. Below is a description of the things we have been up to. In the meantime, COVID-willing, we are hoping to resume live programming in the 2021-2022 season. Details will be released this spring!
- Staffing and Mission: This “down-time” has afforded our team the space to take a breath, and think about where we have been, what we have accomplished, and where we want to go from here. This April marks the 10th birthday of Moonbox, so it has been an opportune time to do some soul-searching. In addition to engaging in rich discussions as a team about where we want to focus our energies moving forward, we have also taken this opportunity to increase and/or formalize some of our staffing, with an emphasis on increasing the diversity of voices at the table. In addition to bringing long-time Moonbox collaborator Davron Monroe on board as our Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, we have established our first official Board of Advisors which brings to the table several voices from the BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and Deaf/Disabled communities. We have been engaging as a team in Equity and Diversity training, and have been working to update and effectively communicate our policies and values.
- Website: We have FINALLY had the time to revamp and redesign our website with the guidance and expertise of Alex Spier. This new website will launch in early 2021!
- Community Initiatives:
- Non Profit Partnerships: We continue to expand our circle of local non profit organizations which we will continue to support and highlight when our normal programming resumes.
- Shadowbox Mentorship Program: Several of our core team have begun focusing in on our Shadowbox Mentorship Initiative – a program that gives hands-on experience in a production to local emerging artists, technicians and managers. The successes of this program over the past few years have been proof of concept, and we are working to establish even broader links with our local arts and education communities to provide these experiences to a greater number of people.
- “Turning the Tide” Accessibility Initiative: We continue to make connections and forge relationships within the Deaf and disabled communities in and around Boston. We are working to increase opportunities to work with us, both on and off the stage , and are in discussions with community members about developing New Works that explore the experiences of these communities. Our Core Team is also now taking ASL classes!
- Equity Diversity and Inclusion: We have hired a Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and are developing explicit goals policies on Anti-racism and Equity broadly. We have also used this time to begin training seminars for our staff on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
- Moonbox U: Planning is afoot to resume our affordable continuing education classes for theater proferssionals – stay tuned!
- Programming and Productions:
We have developed several projects to help support our local artists during the COVID shut-downs
- Moonbox Homebrew: Moonbox compensates artists to create original works that we share weekly on our social media sites.
- Boston New Works Festival: We launched a project to develop and workshop brand new theater pieces by local playwrights. Participants were compensated for participating in the submission and selection rounds. Eleven original works will be selected to premier at the first annual Boston New Works Festival in the 2021-2022 season!
- Online Production Collaboratives: Moonbox recently partnered with Liars and Believers to present a live on-line theatrical piece “Beyond a Winter’s Day”.