Our job as improvisers is to listen, respond, and react. Sea Tea Improv is tired of seeing Black Americans have to deal with the psychological, physical, and economic stress of our country’s racist systems. Frankly, it’s bullshit.
We don’t need to craft the perfect statement to say: systematic racism is wrong. We know that Black Lives Matter, and it’s time for action. Every organization, large and small, needs to ask itself: what do we have to offer, and how can we help in antiracist work?
As you may have noticed, we’re still closed until the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Some things we can do immediately, and some things will have to wait until we’re open. How we’ll afford it all, and how we’ll remain strong until we open — we’ll figure that out on the fly, as we always have.
Here is what Sea Tea Improv has, and what we pledge to do in the coming days and years to use our privilege to bring support, safety, money, and a platform to Black artists and organizations in Hartford.
- We have concessions sitting in an empty theater, waiting for an unknown reopening. Sea Tea Improv will be donating all of our waters, sodas, chips, and candy to refresh and cheer on those doing anti-racist work. Half will go to the Summer of Solutions for meetings and Community Garden Days, and the other half will be given out at protests.
- We have money. Sea Tea Improv will be donating to Mutual Aid Hartford and the Connecticut Bail Fund, two organizations that serve our own local community directly and immediately. Mutual Aid brings food, diapers, and other essentials to any family that needs it in Hartford, and has more plans in the works. The Connecticut Bail Fund reduces harm and builds power by paying bail for those who cannot afford to do so, and fighting against incarceration. We selected these organizations due to their direct and swift impact on our own community, and simultaneous commitment to deep work.
- We have a privileged community. We ask our own community members — improvisers, students, superfans — to go beyond social media and match our donations to these two incredible organizations. If our community donates $500 to Mutual Aid and the Connecticut Bail Fund, Sea Tea Improv will match those donations.
- We have a stage. Sea Tea Improv pledges to offer the use of our stage and/or studios for 25 nights or days per year for Black artists, comedians, and organizers. We’ll staff the show, work together on ticketing and marketing, and charge no rental fees or door splits. Produce your show, tape your podcast, have a meeting, rehearse — whatever. It’s all yours, as soon as we can open our doors again.
- We have relationships with other theaters around the nation. We challenge our peer theaters, comedy clubs, and improv teams to match us. Donate your supplies, stage time, rehearsal space, and cash to Black businesses and organizations, and those doing antiracist work.
- We have a willingness to learn. Sea Tea Improv will provide antiracist training to our theater staff, instructors, and leadership. We will use the time until we can gather to research the best training possible.
- We have a platform for comedy. Sea Tea Improv will share the work of Black comedians and improvisers, especially ones we have featured. To begin, we’re working with Bill Posley to potentially bring back his Off Broadway Alliance award-winning show “The Day I Became Black.”
- We have inspiring neighbors. We recognize and thank the community leaders and friends who have advised and inspired us, and whose work we have benefited from. We will regularly promote the work of our neighbors on social media and encourage our community members to get engaged with these efforts.
In the coming days, we will go deeper with each of these efforts. Thank you for joining us in this vital work. What do you have to give, and where will you give it today?