Stand Up for Theatre for Young Audiences

Dear Colleagues & Supporters,

I write today hoping that you’ll add your voice to theatreWashington’s as we seek to enact concrete change in how the theatre community is represented by The Washington Post.

As you may know, The Washington Post recently changed its editorial policy, excluding Theatre for Young Audiences from its critical review and feature coverage.  The decision to exclude theatres whose mission is to encourage family theatre-going and the development of new audiences seems especially arbitrary as the Post continues to review productions for young audiences performed by touring companies – and by resident theatres whose mission also includes regular, adult programming.

I urge us, as a community, to share with The Washington Post leadership our profound concern about this decision.  We know from experience that it benefits all of us when arts coverage is broad, comprehensive, and fairly assigned.  
Some of you may have already received notices from Imagination Stage Artistic Director Janet Stanford and Adventure Theatre Producing Artistic Director Michael Bobbitt, urging your support in protesting this to voice concern regarding this policy. Let the Washington Post Editor, Liz Seymour and her staff hear from the community, as that is a vital step to changing this policy.
Here is the suggested Editorial team to contact:

Below my signature, you’ll find a sample letter. If possible, please take a moment to personalize it, drawing on your own unique experiences and passions. At the very least, I hope that you’ll use the letter to speak out against this diminishment in arts coverage – and the implied diminishment in respect for important members of our theatre community.

Amy Austin


Dear Ms. Seymour,
I write today to ask you to reverse a recent policy that ended critical review and feature coverage of Theatre for Young Audiences.  As you know, educational access to the arts, including the theatre arts, has suffered a significant decline. Theatre for Young Audiences helps to fill that educational arts gap. These companies produce high-quality immersive experiences enhanced by professional actors, directors, and designers.

By removing coverage of such work, The Washington Post sends a clear message to parents – and grandparents – throughout the greater Washington area. These readers hear loud and clear that their needs are not important to editorial leadership. Parents, after all, should be able to rely on Post coverage to choose from among the many, myriad offerings available to their children. It is disrespectful to our professional theatres and your readership to deny that service.

While The Post continues to review touring productions of family shows – and productions presented by resident companies whose mission encompasses adult fare – why can’t it continue to review theatre produced by companies dedicated solely to serving young audiences?

The Washington Post and Theatre for Young Audiences share a concern for cultivating and growing future generations of citizens who are fully engaged in their community. Let this budding generation discover the work created for them by discovering it first on your pages.

I support Theatre for Young Audiences in the Washington region and hope The Washington Post will return to its recent editorial policy of including fair coverage for these theatres and their work.

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