Racial unrest, coupled with the awakening of Americans to the systemic injustices against people of color, has been a call to action for the theatrical world, and for our theatre in particular. At Capital Stage we naively thought that our good intentions were enough. The shocking, unjustified killings of Stephon Clark, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and dozens of other Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement have unearthed the grim reality of systemic racism in this country.
Our cultural institutions, our community and our country need to change. We need to infuse antiracism into the very fabric of our theatre and our lives. Therefore, our mission to entertain, engage and challenge our audience with bold, thought-provoking theatre must now be expanded to address the injustices occurring in our community.
At Capital Stage we are committed to this change. Through this statement, Capital Stage is announcing specific steps that we are taking to address and dismantle the structures of oppression and white supremacy that exist in our industry. We recognize that the theatrical culture has been a place of power and privilege and thus we are taking the following steps toward necessary change.
We are committed to recognizing and eliminating our biases, both conscious and unconscious. We look for guidance from members of our community who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). We seek out unheard, underrepresented, and underprivileged voices to embrace in our theatre and in our community. In our audiences, our casts, our crews, and at the highest level of leadership and the Board of Directors, our primary focus is creating bold live theatre with an antiracist perspective.
Although this is an imperfect start, we will continuously revisit the following action steps to be sure we are on course.
We pledge to hire at least 50% BIPOC theatre artists every season.
We pledge to produce at least 50% BIPOC playwrights every season.
We pledge to cast BIPOC actors in roles traditionally assumed to be “white” roles.
We pledge to be intentionally inclusive in the apprentice program to reflect our community.
We pledge to review our strategic plan and mission statement to align our theatre with antiracist best practices.
We pledge to customize the give or get requirement for each Board member.
We pledge to review Board practices to eliminate bias and exclusionary practices.
We pledge to review Board recruiting practices to ensure inclusivity.
We pledge to increase diversity on our board to better reflect our community.
We pledge to initiate antiracism training for all Board members.
We pledge to expand antiracism training for staff and volunteers.
We pledge to view our recruiting and hiring practices through a lens of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).
We pledge to provide EDI progress reports at regular intervals throughout the season on our website.
We pledge to create a safe space for BIPOC feedback and comment for our artists, staff, and Board members.
We will create an Artists of Color EDI Committee to make creative recommendations, give feedback to our company, and contribute to the conversation.
We pledge to provide an EDI facilitator to conduct Board and staff training and consultation.
We pledge to create a space for community feedback.
We pledge to provide opportunities for collaboration with community groups focused on social justice.
We pledge to create outreach to our diverse communities to encourage greater access to our theatre.