The Daily Gamecock

Voices from Columbia's Ghostlight Project

Students, educators and other community members gathered at Trustus Theatre and Longstreet Theatre on Thursday night to participate in a nationwide ceremony against intolerance.  The event, known as the Ghostlight Project, promoted messages of inclusivity and hope. Individuals at Longstreet Theatre were encouraged to shine a flashlight from their phones while Kevin Bush, the marketing director at the USC department of theatre and dance, sang an a cappella version of the song “Beautiful City” from the Broadway musical “Godspell.” At Trustus, Columbia Poet Laureate Ed Madden read an original poem entitled “The Gates.”  The ceremonies were brief, but they generated a lasting message of support and empathy.

Here are some of the things attendees had to say about the project and its message:

“What brought me here was the desire for hope, the belief that we can make a change,” –DeAudrey Owens, third-year theatre student at the University of South Carolina

“It is more important than ever to speak up for LGBT rights, women’s rights and basic human rights ... theatre should be a space to view those issues and support those who are oppressed,” –Allie Anderson, second-year theatre and English student at the University of South Carolina

“But while this isn’t really about the president or the new administration it is about taking this opportunity after a year or more of conflict and negativity and bullying and worry and all of these really dark forces to take a stand and remind ourselves why we’re doing what we’re doing as theatre artists,” –Kevin Bush, marketing director at the University of South Carolina department of theatre and dance

“We fill the silence with conversation, and feed the ignorance with information,” –Terrence Henderson, local artist and choreographer 

“I came out here tonight just to make a promise to our community and even all over the country that the theater is open to anybody with any past. No matter what race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. you are we will welcome you with open arms and this is kind of a safe space,” –Taylor Evans, senior at Spring Hill High School

“There’s been so much division in this country leading up to it [the inauguration], we’re really trying to show that there’s a community and a voice and a place that’s safe for all kinds of discussion and all kinds of diversity and make a brave space where everyone is welcome,” –Chad Henderson, artistic director at Trustus Theatre