As artistic director and founder of Merely Players Presents, I am passionate about our mission! In 2014, I began producing my own shows because I wanted to have more control over the types of work that I was doing and the people with whom I was doing it. This included plays that spoke to themes that were very personal to me - mental health, parenting and family, race and generational differences - and to find a way to have conversations about those topics. Talking about the things that are difficult can be messy; but I believe that the stage is a place to start.
As a woman in this leadership role, I find that it is important to be an example to others who have a dream like I did in 2014 and stepped out on faith and conviction. I also look to the women that inspired me - who stepped out and began something that never existed before. It was important that I surrounded myself with people I had worked with and trusted and knew had my back. We leveraged each other's strengths since I knew I couldn't (and did not wish to) do it alone. We did good work. And then, we did it again. And soon, we had people who wanted to work with us. This has widened our circle and I continue to challenge myself and those I have assembled on my team to "cast a wide net". This continues to be our mission and one we strive to achieve through casting choices, staff choices, board choices, play choices.
In our mission, we state that our goal is to amplify a diversity of voices and to elicit conversations. That couldn't be more true! As I drive through the streets of Atlanta and meet people in my community, I see and hear the people whose voices I want to bring to our stage. As a 501(c)3 organization, we can provide these opportunities since all of the money we raise will go directly towards that mission of supporting artists, creating new work from a variety of walks of life, begin discussions about the topics that concern us, to build bridges and not burn them. All of the world is indeed a stage - a place where we play out our lives, our loves, our dreams, our losses - and we are merely players who wish to tell those stories.