MANIFESTO

Artists’ manifestos are always expanding and changing as they experience more of the world and the world around them changes. The world Abbey is making art in now is vastly different from the world of four years ago. Most manifestos are rarely ever finished; here’s a working draft of hers.​

  • To make every room I walk into accessible.

To challenge the definition of accessibility, allowing each room and company to redefine and expand the definition of what fosters accessibility as they see fit.

  • To always do the work, especially when an experience portrayed is outside of my own. To really do the work.

  • To lead with Anti-Racist Theater Practices and Conscientious Theatre Training; to be a part of dismantling the white supremacist practices that have been the foundation of our theatrical history and rehearsal room practices. I only want to work in spaces where my fellow artists feel they can bring their full selves into the room. 

Having a vision should not be synonymous with needing to lead the conversation. Instead, it is a directors’ job to create a collaborative culture that removes barriers, by allowing space for non text based investigation, investigation of bias, and where each individual’s experience can exist without erasure.

  • To foster intellectual rigor, insatiable curiosity, freedom and daring to play, commitment to specificity and precision of story-telling. To build an environment of creation and collaboration built on respect, and the shared sense of joy and magic of having the extraordinary privilege to create art together. 

One of the greatest privileges of being an artist is that our job is to inhabit and explore the lives of others. All art is personal, and all art is political. When truth in representation aligns with what an audience experiences onstage, art has the power to be transformative. There is a responsibility to work towards truth, and a cost to everything we put onstage.

  • To uplift the playwright’s vision above all else. To immerse myself and my collaborators in the world crafted by the writer, to build the foundation of our universe on their impulses and inspirations, with a dedication to discovering everything the text can offer.

  • To never make art in a vacuum. Theater is made for the audience. It is an act of creation in more than what is on the stage. Theater has the power to bring new communities together, challenge beliefs, and spark dialogue. In the way theater is structured, we build a community, each night, over and over again, from scratch as a new audience walks in our doors. Theater is an act of service, and when we forget the push and pull with what should be an ever expanding audience, we limit its transformative power.

  • To create art that scares the shit out of me, makes me question my own ideals, sings with poetry, investigates the ethics of representation, and challenges the idea of form. To seek delight in mystery, and remember the power of wonder.