Living Culture and Art Justice: Double Edge Theatre puts equity and solidarity first
Double Edge Theatre is a woman-owned theater company located in Ashfield, MA. Below, the team shares some details on their business and the importance of supporting local.
Describe your business
Double Edge Theatre is an artist-run organization that creates performances developed with collaborating artists, presented locally and on tour. Located on a 105-acre former dairy farm in Ashfield, MA, Double Edge is an International Center of Living Culture and Art Justice, with year-round performances, training, convenings, and sustainable farming.
What makes your business unique?
Since its foundation in 1982 by Artistic Director Stacy Klein, Double Edge has woven together identity, place, cultural, and artistic creation, navigating toward authentic human connection, cultural exchange, and building community through Living Culture. In the last five years, we formalized the term Art Justice to build equity and solidarity with the deliberation and intentionality that stretches across aesthetic, cultural, economic, generational, gender, geographical, professional, political, social, and racial backgrounds. This commitment includes the artists with whom we collaborate, the neighbors we trade or work with, our residency and training participants, and the consultants who help guide us.
Double Edge’s extensive programming reflects our commitment to our mission of art, Art Justice, and Living Culture through an entire season of performance, training programs for young artists, local, national, and international collaborations and partnerships, public conversations, and greening and environmental sustainability initiatives. Our mission is to prioritize imagination in times of creative, social, and political uncertainty. Central to this commitment is to uplift a diversity of artistic voices. All upcoming Double Edge activities align with this vision as we plan and celebrate our 40th Anniversary starting in April 2022.
What does your business look like?
Double Edge Theatre facilities include three indoor performance and training spaces, production (wood and metal shops) facilities, offices, a public archive, gallery, music room, kitchen, eight outdoor performance areas, an animal barn, vegetable gardens, and hoop house. Double Edge has two additional properties: a house in the center of town for residents and emerging artists; and a design house with offices, painting and puppetry studios, a costume shop, and storage for sets, costumes, and props. There is also a guest artist studio for retreat and development and private guest artist housing. Our future vision for sustainability and environmental justice includes further housing, expanding our renewable energy and our capacity for farming, and building a solar farm with accompanying apiary. Double Edge has a strong online presence with a new website where you can learn more about the company, watch select performances and excerpts, scroll through the archives of past conversations and convenings – and also have thousands of followers on social media! We invite people to see performances, participate in training programs, engage in cultural dialogue and exchange, and even schedule a tour of our facilities.
Why is it important to support businesses like yours?
Double Edge Theatre is a unique organization: an internationally recognized, leading theatre company serving a rural region from a small town in Western MA. Almost forty years of experience have allowed us to define and refine our work. We remain closely connected with our local community while at the same time serving a broader national and international community of audiences, collaborators, and students at our Farm Center and on tour around the globe. Our art requires the courage to prioritize imagination. Within the framework of Living Culture, everyone is invited to participate in Double Edge via performances, programs, or training. This demands rooting out appropriation, exclusion, invisibility, and marginalization. Throughout 40 years of listening, we have learned to work authentically and earnestly with artists, collaborators, and partners. This continued work has positioned Double Edge as a vital cultural leader in this region.
Do you want to say anything to your customers or guests?
We are grateful for the ongoing support of our community and look forward to welcoming people new to us!
How has your business changed or adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During this specifically challenging year of COVID-19, Double Edge remained resilient and found ways to survive and offer an assortment of opportunities for imagination, working with audiences, collaborating and emerging artists, and youth. Over the year-plus, we recognized a unique combination of resources built into the very fabric of Double Edge that bolstered our response to the global pandemic and crisis of justice. These resources include our structure as an ensemble-led organization, the autonomy and space provided by our rural Farm Center, our decades-long exploration of outdoor performance, and our long-term dialogue with artists from different communities. As a result, our reckoning with the pandemic has been very active. It has included a variety of in-person programs offered within safety constraints: in-person training programs and mentorships, growing our internship program, online educational programs in partnership with Greenfield Community College, and a live, masked, and distanced outdoor Summer Spectacle performance titled “6 Feet Apart, All Together.” This work has had a considerable impact on our communities and our field. We have been invited to participate in numerous online panels and podcasts to share our success stories and vision for the future. Double Edge’s robust response to the challenges of today speaks directly to our adaptability and enduring organizational soundness, which will bring our organization firmly into our next forty years.