Our first Company in Residence:
Free Soil Arts Collective
We are thrilled to announced we have formalized our partnership with Free Soil Arts Collective by naming Lowell's only Black-owned theatre company as our first-ever Company in Residence. Artistic Director Courtney Sale said, "I am beyond excited to have founder Christa Brown and Free Soil partner with us in this bold endeavor. We have so much to learn from their artistry and engagement. The winner in this ‘coming together’ is the people of the greater Lowell region. What folks will feel is a solidarity of arts leaders focused on strikingly original work, an everlasting focus on equity and generous care for our beloved community."
Brown will join the MRT artistic staff and participate in season planning; casting; equity and anti-racist work within the non-profit organization; and initiatives for emerging leaders.
Brown said, “We are honored to be the first Company in Residence at MRT. This partnership directly supports Free Soil's mission to amplify and strengthen the voices of artists of color. We look forward to working side by side with MRT as we glean nonprofit best practices, knowledge sharing, and support their efforts toward becoming an anti-racist organization.”
Free Soil operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. The company presented the original play Hair Tales: Stories of Black Hair-i-Tage at MRT last summer.
As MRT's Company in Residence, Free Soil will receive support in the form of rehearsal, performance, and office space. Additionally, the companies will work side by side in community engagement efforts around both Free Soil and MRT programming.
FREE SOIL MISSION: To amplify and strengthen the voices of artists of color.
CHRISTA BROWN is the Founder and Executive Director of the Free Soil Arts Collective, an arts organization with a mission to amplify and strengthen the voices of POC artists in the Massachusetts Merrimack Valley. Often having to travel to Boston for consistent work as an actor, she saw a need to create and promote artistic endeavors that accurately reflected the richness of the community in which she lived. Independent research so far indicates that the Free Soil Arts Collective is the first theatre organization of its kind in the Merrimack Valley to be led by a Black woman. Directing credits include Free Soil’s 2019 production of Hair Tales: Stories of Black Hair-i-Tage at Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Christa also works as a consultant with nonprofits and companies looking for creative ways to tell stories of their impact.
PHOTO: The cast of Hair Tales: Stories of Black Hair-i-Tage at MRT in 2019.