Congratulations on 30 years of excellence

We are proud to offer our congratulations to AATAT, our African American Theater Arts Troupe, as it marks 30 years of community building, artistic excellence, and public service. It is a grand achievement for a small theater group willed into existence by a visionary staff member and a dozen students to be thriving three decades later. The troupe, whose history and evolution are detailed in this issue of Tuesday Newsday, has contributed greatly to the vibrancy of our campus. 

Our entire community is made richer by the spaces the troupe provides, by the performances its student actors deliver, and by the community service in which they engage. Each generation of AATAT students has sought to create new forms of theater and service, including mentoring high school students and distributing more than $100,000 in scholarships. Students this year have risen above the challenges of the pandemic, designing online theater productions and virtual outreach programs for high schools throughout the state, forging new ways to build a more equitable, anti-racist world. 

The troupe has also served as a valuable space for our Black students, providing them with an outlet to express their experiences and a way to ensure that their voices and histories are valued and represented in our campus community. 

Equally important to us is the foundation that the troupe provides for its members after their time on campus. Yes, some work as performers, but all are prepared to serve as leaders in their communities, whether as engineers or attorneys, actors or activists.

We appreciate the opportunity to share a message of celebration that highlights the excellence of our Black students and alumni, and to promote the deep healing Black theater can offer both actors and audiences. 

So congratulations, troupe members, past and present. And a heartfelt thank you, Don Williams, for your 30 years encouraging students to both tread the boards and to create a better world while doing so. Theater is an imaginative collaboration that brings new worlds to life and allows us to imagine our world differently. UC Santa Cruz is a different and better place today because of the work of the African American Theater Arts Troupe.