With the climate crisis evincing ever more  concerns this summer, our Climate Change Theatre Action event on Saturday Oct 16 could not be more timely. 

Our free afternoon event will offer eight short internationally  commissioned plays in four art galleries, a theatrical adaptation of Greta Thuneberg’s address to the UN, a dance performance, outdoor resource tables by environmental organizations, voter registration, and more. 

That Uppity Theatre Company, Artistic director Joan Lipkin, in collaboration with Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA), a project of the Arctic Cycle will present a theatre and arts crawl on Saturday, Oct 16 from 1-4 pm at area art galleries in the Central West End.

The galleries include Duane Reed, Houska, Philip Slein, and Projects +, all located on McPherson Avenue in the historic CWE district.

“We are living in a time of increasing urgency to address critical climate change. It is no longer something that can be avoided or ignored. Regardless of our business, our occupations or personal situation, we are all in it together. Through our participation in the Climate Change Theatre Action, the gallery hopes to take part in a larger effort that is all about increasing our awareness of this crisis,” said Duane Reed, of the Duane Reed Gallery.

Viewers will be able to see a short play or two of under ten minutes before proceeding to the next gallery to see others. The event will feature 4-8 short pieces. Most performances will be repeated 6-8 times or approximately every twenty minutes, starting at 1 pm. Some work may also be performed outside.

Indoor performances will be limited to ten audience members at a time and masking will be required.

Many St Louis theatre artists are involved in presenting this project including Anna Blair, Donna Weinsting, Dan Kelly, Teresa Doggett, Susan Volkan, Michael Paplanus, Don McClendon, Carrie Hegdahl, Alice Kinsella, and Rachel Mitchell, among others.

The Central Visual & Performing Arts High School will also present a theatrical adaptation of Greta Thunberg’s speech to the United Nations called” How Dare You”. Ashleyliane Dance Company will offer selections from their critically acclaimed “Environmental
Intelligence” dance piece.

Additionally, there will be outdoors tabling by environmental groups including Great Rivers Greenway, US Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Project Animal Freedom, World Bird Sanctuary, Metropolitan Congregations United, Earth Dance Organic Farm School, St Louis Voter Registration Group and more. Street parking is available as well as a paid lot on Euclid Ave between Washington and McPherson Ave.

“The issues facing us are real but so are the opportunities to change the direction of this global crisis,” said Joan Lipkin. “The arts are a pathway to illuminate the issues in an engaging way and also to promote hope, joy and engagement. It is both meaningful and important that St Louis take part in this international arts and ecology movement.”

Produced by Joan Lipkin and Pamela Reckamp, the St Louis event is part of a worldwide series of readings and performances of short plays about the climate crisis and environmental justice. CCTA 2021 will take place from September 19 to December 18 to coincide with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26).

The last iteration of CCTA, in 2019, included over 220 events in nearly 25 countries. For more details, the list of participating playwrights, and previous collaborators, see www.climatechangetheatreaction.com.

Because there have been a historic number of anti-voting bills recently introduced at the state level and in some states, passed into law, groups throughout the U.S. are participating in various activities called ‘Deadline for Democracy’ in the next two weeks in support of the For the People Act, now under consideration in Congress, and preserving voting rights.

Missouri has some of the worst voter suppression in the country. 

. A rally downtown St. Louis will take place on Thursday, July 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Kiener Plaza Park, which will feature remarks from Missouri State Rep. Peter Merideth, Dr. Sara Kenzior, Wesley Bell, Denise Lieberman, among others. There will be an ASL interpreter for all speakers.

The rally will open with a community dance led by Ashley L. Tate and Thomas Proctor of Ashleyliane Dance Company called ‘Dancing for Democracy’ for Dance the Vote.

With eight out of ten Americans supporting more access to voting, regardless of party affiliations, Dance the Vote, a non-partisan voting advocacy group, will join with over 30 groups nationwide in the Deadline for Democracy grassroots effort.

In St. Louis, the event is sponsored by the Indivisible Missouri Coalition — includes Indivisible St. Louis, Indivisible Pulaski County, Indivisible Heart of The Ozarks, Indivisible Take Action Now, Indivisible SEMO, Indivisible We Will Persist, Small Deeds Done, Dance The Vote, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, and Ashleyliane Dance Company.

At the state level, there have been 389 bills introduced in 48 states that would restrict a person’s voting access as of May 14, 2021 according to the Brennan Center.

From 6-6:20 pm, DTV will offer a free community dance class called “Dancing for Democracy” led by Ashley L Tate and Thomas Proctor of Ashleyliane Dance Company featuring favorites like the Electric Slide, the Wobble, the Cupid Shuffle and more. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age or dance experience.

This will be followed by several confirmed speakers:  authoritarian scholar, writer and anthropologist Dr Sarah Kendzior, Attorney Denise Lieberman of the non-partisan state wide organization Missouri Voter Protection Coalition and St Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell.  Additional speakers may be added.

Postcards will be available for signing and the St Louis Voter Registration Group will be registering people to vote.

“Missouri has some of the most restrictive legislation in the country, blocking access to our most fundamental democratic right,” said Joan Lipkin, the founder of Dance the Vote. “The For the People Act would end gerrymandering, allow universal access to vote by mail, expand early voting requirements, restore the right to vote for people with felony convictions who have served their time, modernize voter registration systems and institute automatic voter registration. It is essential that it be passed.”

Who:      Dance the Vote, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, Indivisible St Louis

What:     Deadline for Democracy: Rally for S1 For The People Act

Date:      Thursday, July 1

Where:   Kiener Plaza Park

                500 Chestnut St.

                St. Louis, MO 63101

Time:     6-8 PM CDT

Details:   Further Details and RSVP can be found here:                                                                          https://act.indivisible.org/event/local-actions/163030/signup/

About Dance the Vote:

Dance the Vote is a non-partisan project that uses the arts to promote voter awareness and registration. Founded in 2016 by theatre artist and activist Joan Lipkin in collaboration with activist designer Anne Taussig, voter registration specialist Sabrina Tyuse and choreographer Ashley L. Tate, DTV raises public awareness by utilizing dance, video, graphics, music and spoken word.

Programming is based on various themes of the voting experience, including the experiences of African-Americans, women, people with disabilities, college students and immigrants around voting, voting rights, voter suppression, among other themes.  This project brings together local as well as artists nationwide who creatively seek to make a difference by promoting voter awareness and getting eligible voters registered and committed to vote.

In 2016, the project was presented at Vintage Vinyl, St, Louis Black Pride and Left Bank Books, and the 2018 midterm performance at the Missouri History Museum attracted an audience of 1200. The 2020 season was virtual due to Covid-19, with 10 episodes of commissioned pieces from artists around the country, and also included participation in Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy, the national special on voting produced by CBS and Global Citizen. Dance the Vote also collaborated with Webster University to sponsor a contest for college students using a variety of arts media called “Make Good Trouble: Why John Lewis Inspires Me To Vote’’ for which they awarded cash prizes.

Dance the Vote has received several awards, including an IDEA Award for commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, a 2021 FOCUS What’s Right With the Region Award for Fostering Creativity for Social Change, an award in the 2021 St. Louis Magazine A List for Moving Democracy, and both a mayoral and aldermanic proclamation declaring Dance The Vote Voter Registration Day in the city of St. Louis.

For more info, contact [email protected] or see www.dancethevotestl.org

About Ashleyliane Dance Company:

Ashleyliane Dance Company (ADC) is a professional performance organization under the artistic direction of Ashley L. Tate, with a mission to cultivate diverse repertory, create safe educational spaces, and a vision to promote the intersection of dance and social issues.

Since its inception in 2007, ADC has performed at a plethora of major events and private engagements, including but not limited to: the Muny, Fair St. Louis, First Night, Loop in Motion, Dancing in the Street, Casino Queen, Four Seasons Hotel and The

Pageant. ADC has been featured on Fox 2 News,”Best of the STL” on STL TV, Show Me St. Louis, HEC-TV, and the Nine Network and in Alive Magazine and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The company has produced a number of dance concerts at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA), Ivory Theatre, and Missouri History Museum, Edison Theatre, and The Grandel.  They have also been invited to perform at the Dance Chicago Festival, the American College Dance Association Convention, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the Chicago Choreographers’ Carnival, Peridance Capezio Center, TADA! Theater, and Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City, as well as the 18th St. Arts Center in Santa Monica, California and Gordon Gamm Theater in Boulder, Colorado. 

ADC is a proud resident organization of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

About Indivisible:

Indivisible is a movement driven by a vision of a real democracy of, by, and for the people. The Indivisible movement is a network of thousands of local groups and millions of activists across every state working to build an inclusive democracy by fighting for bold, progressive policies and creating lasting grassroots power. 

#  #  #

Indivisible St. Louis is a grassroots group dedicated to the pursuit of justice, equity, and progress for all. They are a registered chapter of Indivisible (www.indivisibleguide.com) committed to promoting, encouraging, and facilitating constituent contact with members of Congress to help move a progressive agenda forward.

The St. Louis arts community has teamed up to promote voter awareness and registration through the “Dance the Vote” campaign. The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum’s MacDermott Grand Hall in Forest Park, with a free Michael Jackson community dance piece to be taught at 1 p.m. on the outdoor steps
This project brings together local artists who seek to make a difference during this election season by getting people registered to vote before the Oct. 10 Missouri voter registration deadline for the upcoming Nov. 6 General Election, and committed to voting on election day.
The “Dance to Vote” campaign raises public awareness on the themes of voting and civic
engagement featuring local choreographers and dancers from Ashleyliane Dance Company,
Karlovsky and Company Dance, Beyond Measure Dance Theater, SkyStone Contemporary Ballet,
Washington University Dance Theatre, Imagine Dance Project, Las Rumberas, Madco 2, KYPEKuumba Youth Performance Ensemble, Better Family Life and more.

Joining the lineup of various dance companies will be spoken word artists, poets and singers
including Pam Garvey, Susan Spit-Fire Lively, Roseann Weiss, John Blair, MK Stallings, Ana
Jennings, Sahara “Sista Sols” Scott, and Kim Furlow, among others. Voter registration will be
provided at the event in partnership with St. Louis Voter Registration Group.
The formal program in the Missouri History Museum’s MacDermott Grand Hall at 2 p.m. will be
preceded by a free community dance piece to music by Michael Jackson to be taught at 1 p.m. on
the steps of the Museum.
“The Missouri History Museum is thrilled to be a part of this effort to raise citizen awareness
and get people to the polls. The history of our region and country is made up of choices that
were made at the polls, as well as the struggle to be included in those choices,” said Emily
Underwood director of community programs for the Missouri Historical Society. “Regardless of which candidates you support, voting is an important way to play a part in the continuing story
of our community.”
The event will also offer free ice cream and an all ages selfie station where attendees can take
photos with signage that documents their commitment to voting.
The project is spearheaded by theatre artist and social activist Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of
That Uppity Theatre Company and Ashley Tate, Artistic Director of Ashleyliane Dance Company.
The choreography will be based on various themes of the voting experience, including the
experience of African Americans, women, Latinx and people with disabilities around voting,
voting rights, voter suppression, voting in other countries, among other themes.
“As this is arguably one of the most important elections of our lifetime, we have to come
together as artists to offer our talents, vision, and passion to actively participate in promoting
voting and voter registration. The range of participating artists reflects much of the diversity in
the St Louis community and offers creative and exciting perspectives on why voting is crucial
and a precious right,” said Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company.
Only 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population turned up for the 2014 midterm elections,
according to numbers from the United States Election Project, run by Dr. Michael McDonald at
the University of Florida, which marks the 2014 midterms as having the lowest turnout since
WWII. In 2016, eligible voter turnout was just over 58 percent. In both instances, a low number
of voters have been determining the fate of the nation. We are now in the lead-up to the 2018
midterms, and communities face a number of obstacles to increased voter turnout.
Previous performances of “Dance the Vote” include outside Vintage Vinyl in the Delmar Loop,
St. Louis Black Pride and Left Bank Books.
The first midterm election edition “Dance the Vote” performance will take place on Saturday,
Oct. 6 from 2-5 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. Non-partisan voter
registration opportunities will be available on location to interested voters. Performances will be
held within a three-hour time slot and each piece will be performed more than once.
“Dance the Vote provides an opportunity to showcase the skills of St. Louis choreographers and
dancers in service of community involvement. We are excited to create pieces tied to the history
of voting to remind the community how important it is to exercise this fundamental right,” said
Ashley Tate, Artistic Director of Ashleyliane Dance Company who is co-chairing Dance the Vote.
Featured image is photo of Ashley Tate.