Notes from Nina: Hope, Change, Patience, and Accountability

Hi TADA! Friends and Family,
I have hope.
Change is happening everywhere and for everyone. It always does and always has, but I’m noticing it more these days. Maybe it’s because every day I walk to the living room, I sit down on the couch to start work on my computer and look out the window where I see the red, yellow, and green leaves less and less each day. One day there was such beauty and now I see bare, almost scary-looking branches, allowing me to see the ugly stark city buildings surrounding me.
This is actually contradictory to how I feel today. I’m feeling good about the change that is happening in this country. That needs to continue to happen. We all need to commit to keeping up the fight. It’s up to us to hold those in positions of power accountable, as well as our friends, family and everyday people. Voices have been heard and will continue to be heard. The voices must continue. The birds are still chirping and life is still going on.
I’m feeling good that the Coronavirus will be under control within the next year. I know that right now there are more people getting sick and we are still actively in this Pandemic. There’s still work to be done. Wear a mask and protect others– you are also protecting yourself. It’s important that we care about each other. There will be a vaccine. We will get past this. 
I have hope
Listening to the Ensemble and hearing what they have to say about politics, race, change, their goals, and TADA! inspires me. I believe they will make good changes to the world. I see future nurses, therapists, designers, actors, teachers, listeners, writers, fighters, lawyers, directors, leaders, and politicians.
I love how they hold each other accountable, how they share their stories, and how they love each other. I love seeing their parents support each other and support each other’s children. We all miss being in person together but I’m glad we’re still able to be there for each other.
I am doing a lot of listening, learning, re-learning, revising, changing, and (did I mention?) re-learning. I wish with all my heart that I had been able to do this sooner– that I could understand more of what was needed and how I needed to change. What it means to be a leader in this sector at this time is different from when I started TADA! 36 years ago. The air that we are breathing is different and that’s not because it’s fall– it’s because of the change in people, structures, and systems that is happening. Yes, it is happening– slowly happening.
I have hope
I have hope, and I am learning to have patience. Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Tolerance, fortitude, endurance, even-temperedness, serenity, tranquility, understanding, kindness, perseverance, diligence, and determination.
We all need a lot of patience. The changes we need will take time. I like to solve problems and take actions right away. Sometimes that is good, but external actions can’t always happen right away. I have to give myself a good talking to when things go through my head so that I think before I act. I have to remember that we are all human and we make mistakes– all of us. I ask for your forgiveness.
That doesn’t mean that I or TADA! shouldn’t be accountable. In fact, we must be held accountable. When you believe in something you have to be courageous enough to say, “this is what I stand for” and patient enough to let people think about it for a while before they act.
TADA! and its staff have been doing a lot of training, thinking, talking, crying, and changing. We have and will continue to change hiring and recruitment procedures and hold forums for our youth, while also initiating new programs to support our BIPOC families and teens. We are forming a committee to review our Board bylaws and requirements to make TADA! safe, equitable, inclusive, and just. We have a role in dismantling racism.
This analogy helped me (thank you Brooke Richie-Babbage): It’s like we’re peddling a bike and shifting gears. There’s that moment when the chain is moving to a harder gear– where it’s in between one and the other, where you have to keep pedaling while you’re waiting for the click so that you are safely able to move forward at full speed. That’s the moment I am in right now.


Janine Nina Trevens
Executive & Producing Artistic Director