After the TCG conference I wrote a blog post outlining action items for our community based on my take-aways from the conference. Others have approached StageSource on how they’d like to take action on a variety of topics. How do we create the change we want to see?
I have had several conversations about diversity, inclusion, and gender parity in different contexts. When I talk to people about having public conversations about these topics with the goal of action steps, some reactions have been mixed. While there is support for the idea, there are a lot of people who think the project is going to fail.
To this I say three things:
First, we have to address these issues if we want to remain relevant as an art form. If our population is becoming more diverse, it isn’t OK that only four LORT Artistic Directors in this country are people of color, and zero managing directors. If women are 51% of the population, that needs to be reflected throughout our sector. If there are tools and best practices to create opportunities for audiences and theater makers to be included, we need to learn them and use them. As theater makers and audiences, we are incredibly empathetic. But it doesn’t matter how empathetic we are, we cannot truly understand the perspective of everyone. We need to make room for other points of view so that we can begin to get other perspectives in decision making roles.
Second, some changes can take place by all of us understanding the resources available, establishing best practices, and leveraging the knowledge of the community.
And third, now is our moment. These challenges have been part of the community, and a topic for discussion, for a while. People are frustrated by the lack of movement beyond discussion. So, let’s lead the conversation, generate some action items, and create the change we want to see.
To this end, I am convening a Diversity/Inclusion/Gender Parity Task Force. We will:
- Be comprised of anyone who wants to participate. I am actively reaching out to some people, but all are welcome. I want a full room of ideas and points of view. The two caveats—you need to understand the need for change, and really want to create it. I know there will be disagreements and compromises on how to create that change, but that’s the point.
- Be individuals. This working group is a safe zone. No one will be speaking on behalf off an organization. This is not the space to attack any individual or company. Here everyone will have the benefit of the doubt. I know this is hard, but I believe that we can all come together in a civil manner and get to the heart of these issues.
- Be meeting three times this fall. Tuesdays: October 16, October 23, and December 4. The meetings will take place in Tremont Temple, 88 Tremont Street, from 6-9. October 16 and October 23 will be brainstorming and discussion. Participants may come to one or both meetings. At the December 4 meeting we will react to ideas from the October meetings. Once we synthesize these ideas we will appoint a subcommittee to create a report for release to the theater community in February.
- Be willing to fail. Timidity does not serve our art, nor does it serve our community. If we should fail, we will try something new.
So, game on. There will be no, “We’ve tried it before”. Three meetings. A beginning. That’s all I’m asking of you. I want you to be in the room to help change our world.
Interested? Sign up below.
Not in Boston? I’ll come to you. If you want to be a part of this, we will find a way.