Marin Theater Company has come under fire for a controversial production of the play, Thomas and Sally, by New York writer Thomas Bradshaw that takes on the historical relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Several actors turned down the roles, signaling early trouble for the company and production. Prior to the show even opening, patrons and community members were posting on the social media pages of the theater company requesting a stop to the production, using hashtags #rapeisnotlove and #enditnow. MTC's initial deflection of these remarks was seen as dismissive. Tracy Camp, a local actor and board member of Marin's AlterTheater passed out fliers outside the production discouraging people from seeing the play; and a peaceful protest held outside the theater by Regina's Door, an organization of women in defense of sex trafficking, was met with taunts and insults by the MTC security team and eventually led to to a decision by Marin Theatre Company to call the police on the protestors. In addition, actors have insulted and demeaned the criticism from the stage in post-show addresses to the audience.
An open letter of protest crafted by a coalition of Black women professional theater artists, which included actors Margo Hall and Lauren Spencer, who have recently been seen onstage at Marin Theatre Company, has been signed by a growing number of Bay Area performing artists. The group met with Marin Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis at the theater on October 24th, to discuss their concerns in person.
Cathleen Riddley, a San Anselmo resident, actress and artistic director of AlterTheater, and a member of the coalition said that she hoped that the “MTC staff will hear and listen to the feedback of black women.”
Marin Theater Company has responded publicly here.