ATC Celebrates Pride at Scottsdale Fashion Square!
By Caroline Yu
Posted June 18, 2021 in the Daily Independent
Together with local organizations and businesses, Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega and other city officials celebrated Pride Month on June 17, with an event located at Wonderspaces Arizona in the Scottsdale Fashion Square.
On May 21, the city of Scottsdale passed an anti-discrimination ordinance that established protections for LGBTQ+ individuals from being discriminated against at home, work or in public spaces. The proclamation also established that the rainbow flag be officially recognized, that the city will increasingly work with LGBTQ+ organizations and will celebrate the diversity of its employees.
Part of the proclamation stated that Scottsdale would henceforth “proudly participate” in Pride Events, like the Arizona Theatre Company’s Pride Month celebration hosted on June 17. “They reached out to the city to invite members of the city to come participate in the event tonight, and, of course, when we received the invitation we were thrilled,” Stanna Michelle Slater, the city’s LGBTQ Liaison, said. She explained that from working in the past with key figures from ATC and Phoenix Pride, the celebration was brought to the city’s attention.
At the event, hosted in collaboration with Phoenix Pride, Stem Swag, Wonderspaces and Scottsdale Fashion Square, Mayor Ortega and Slater spoke about the city’s dedication to the LGBTQ+ community. In order to bring the Wonderspaces event altogether, it required diligent work and collaboration between the host organizations.
Scottsdale Fashion Square and the brands it hosts were particularly dedicated this year to celebrating Pride, Melanie Sutton, senior marketing manager at Fashion Square, explained.
“We were really excited because Macerich, the company that owns Fashion Square, really encouraged us to celebrate Pride Month,” Sutton said. To help both Phoenix Pride and ATC, it was decided that a partnered event would be most ideal. The inaugural event featured food and drink, live music and a raffle of prizes provided by the mall’s stores. Sutton further expressed the great importance of Pride events and stated that she believes that this event is a step in the right direction for the center. “We are looking forward to a long continuous relationship with Phoenix Pride and also Arizona Theatre Company,” she said.
Throughout the last year, Arizona Theatre Company has not held any in-person performances and has anxiously been waiting for its return. Geri Wright, executive director of ATC, said that the past year has given the company a lot of time to reflect on its practices and prepare for its return. “We didn’t just want to survive the pandemic, we wanted to come out stronger,” Wright said. Wright explained that their new values of artistry, conversation, collaboration, equity, sustainability, stewardship, and joy have been one of their biggest accomplishments. “We’ve had a year, year and a half, to be able to really look internally and you know, do that internal work so that we can be stronger when we do go back on stage,” she said. Following the year of “kicking the tires” and “changing the oil,” ATC is ready for its comeback later this year.
ATC has plans to have its first performance since the pandemic in late September to early October of this year. As a theatre company, ATC champions diversity and voices that are often unheard, Daniels elaborated. “Especially in the theatre, so much of what we do is about representation on stage, people being able to see themselves on stage and being able to feel less alone when they go to a theatre and learn the story of somebody else,” he said. Daniels went on to say that those sentiments of bringing about more representation are what Pride Month is all about and why it was important to host a Pride celebration.
In the spirit of celebrating Pride, the event brought together lovers of the arts and advocates of the LGBTQ+ community to further the understanding between the two. Gary Jackson, a member of ATC’s Board of Trustees, also spoke at the event and reflected on his history as part of the ATC family. Jackson, an LGBTQ+ community leader in Arizona and dedicated member of ATC’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, has a past as an actor in one of ATC’s productions in the 1990s.
In the spirit of celebrating Pride, ATC’s Stronger Together event brought together lovers of the arts and advocates of the LGBTQ+ community to further the understanding between the two.
After the hearing from city officials and representatives from each of the collaborators, guests were delighted with a special live performance by ATC’s Chanel Bragg. Daniels emphasized the vital role that theatre serves as a forum where people’s ideas and feelings can be changed and a place for people to heal.
“I feel like that’s the amazing thing about theatre,” he said. “And that’s the perfect thing for people to be thinking about for Pride.”
For the full article, click here.