Jeremy O. Harris Pulls ‘Slave Play’ From L.A. Run Over Center Theatre Group’s Lack of Women Playwrights

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UPDATED: Jeremy O. Harris is in the process of removing “Slave Play” from its upcoming Los Angeles run at the Center Theatre Group due to the organization’s lack of female playwrights showcased this season.

Harris took to Twitter on Oct. 5 to share an email titled “Slave Play at CTG” with the following text:

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Dear all,

I’m emailing to let you know the reason why I haven’t shared much digital enthusiasm about the season.

As a playwright who holds dear the principles of both inclusion it was a shock to realize that this season was programmed with only 1 woman across all theatres. As an Angeleno and a lover of theatre I think Los Angeles audiences deserve and equitable showing of the playwrights working in the US right now.

I’ve spoken to my team and would like to begin the process of removing slave play from the season at this time. Hopefully in its place some young playwrights I love might be able to join the fold like: Celine Song, Tori Sampson, Aleshea Harris, Claire Kiechel, Antoinette Nwandu, Ming Peiffer, Whitney White, Clare Barron, Majkin Holmquist, Genne Murphy, Aziza Barnes and so many more.

I hope this finds you all and I look forward to speaking more.

See the tweet in full below:

Despite being snubbed at this year’s Tonys, Harris’ “Slave Play” announced a Broadway return the day after the ceremony.

“‘Slave Play’s return engagement marks for me a chance for New York and the world to re-meet a play that many met at New York Theatre Workshop and Broadway in 2018 and 2019, and that thousands of others met in its published edition in a year when theaters around the world were dark,” Harris said about heading back to Broadway. “To be doing it in 2021 with the Kaneisha who originated the role at Yale and members of the original cast fills me with the same joy I had I had watching the play for the very first time in a classroom five years ago.”

The Center Theatre Group issued an apology on Twitter later on Tuesday, writing in part: “We understand the frustration, disappointment and even anger in the scarcity of women playwrights in the upcoming season. Although we have announced a lineup featuring voices from many standpoints and identities, we acknowledge that we’ve fallen short of our own expectations and those of our community in regards to gender equity, and for that, we apologize. We can and will do better.”

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