A Statement from The Mystery Cafe re: the boycott of CTC

Recently, a number of theater companies in our community have been asked to issue a statement regarding the boycott of CTC. Some have responded, others have remained silent. Silence is what is at the heart of the boycott. Silence and complicity are what allowed the abuses at CTC to happen.

Laura Stearns, who has called for the boycott, has courageously taken on an unenviable role; she has become a representative for the survivors of sexual abuse who are seeking accountability from the institution that allowed their victimization. She’s is brave and she is strong, which is something we have known for a very long time.

Laura was a part of the Mystery Cafe from its very beginning. She was married to its founder, Lee Adams. She was in the very first show in 1989. She, Lee, their sons, her brother – they’ve all had roles in the Mystery Cafe . So much of what we are as a company is thanks, in large part, to Laura’s involvement, a fact which cannot be ignored.

CTC cannot ignore its history either. Their company was born out of a culture of abuse and neglect. Those victims, who as children deserved protection, advocacy and safety, call out to this institution; a call that continues to be unheard. To take the attitude that “the past is past” is to suggest that things are different without doing the work to change. “It’ll never happen again” doesn’t address the damage done.

As CTC tries to reconcile its history of abuse and negligence and move forward, there needs to be an acceptance of culpability and recognition of those who were victimized and continue to suffer. In particular, the role of silence and complicity must be acknowledged. As a community, we, too, have a responsibility, not to look away from injustice, but to stand up for the vulnerable and the marginalized.

To that point, The Mystery Cafe would like to publicly stand in solidarity with Laura and her fellow survivors of sexual assault. We acknowledge your experience, and lend whatever platform we may have to echo your call for justice.

Brian Kelly