Across the country on January 19th members of the theatre community came together to launch The Ghostlight Project. Gathering outside of the Bootless Stageworks theatre at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Wilmington, a small group of artists, writers, singers and members of the community joined in a collective action, together creating “light” as a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation and compassion for everyone.
Their aim is to have theaters become “safe brave spaces” that will serve as light so the voices of many can be heard. A ghost light is a light that continues to shine on a theater stage when it’s not in use and would otherwise be dark.
“Bootless believes theater us and should always be a safe brave place for conversations that might otherwise not be started because they are too difficult, too explosive, too polarizing,” said Roseanne DellAversano with Bootless Stageworks. “Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are, what they feel, and how they live their lives,” she said.
Several artists wrote their own “I am (name)… I fight for…” declarations about diversity and acceptance, which were displayed at the gathering. A few artists were invited to speak, read or sing for the crowd before guests moved inside to watch the film, “The Color of Perception.”
Voice and piano instructor Mario Padovani, who was born with a disability, spoke about being different and the joy he found as a young child in the love and acceptance of friends. “The idea of my friends accepting me as I was provided an opportunity for growth,” said Padovani. Before he performed for the crowd he shared, “It’s up to us to take the seeds of kindness and tend to them so we can reap the harvest of an inclusive society.”
The event concluded as it did for Ghostlight Project attendees around the nation; attendees read aloud the “Be a Light” pledge for continued vigilance and advocacy of shared ideas, active listening and a ‘courageous exchange of values.’