ED&I Vision of Success

ED&I Vision

We are a vibrant, creative, mission-driven theater where everyone works together in the spirit of generosity, teamwork, and collaboration.

Differing viewpoints from staff; artists; volunteers; community partners; board members; funders; and audiencesare openly shared, heard, and considered to create the highest levels of artistic expression through the performing arts and/or storytelling for the betterment of the theater and the community.

We engage a diversity of voices to promote an inclusive and welcoming culture by creating equitable and inclusive practices, policies, and procedures for our employees, the artists, our volunteers, community partners, and the many audiences we serve.

We actively and respectfully navigate the uncomfortable conversations and the inevitable tension which challenges and enriches us all.

We measure our progress to ensure a sustained commitment to Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the long run.

ED&I Principles

Value Diversity:

  • Intentionally seek and retain staff; artists; volunteers; community partners; board members; funders; and audiencesfrom a variety of abilities, skills, and backgrounds and value the differences they all bring.
  • Value the diversity of our artists, their storytelling, and the work produced on stage and in the community.
  • We value authenticity in storytelling. We will build creative teams through a rigorous and intentional process to achieve representation in race, culture, gender, sexual orientation and ability.
  • Consciously strive to work together across differences and to better utilize our talents and contributions. The impact will be seen in our day to day interactions, through the decisions we make, as well as through our policies and practices. 
  • Recognize and address the many dimensions of diversity that often intersect and can create inequities. These may include race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age groups, economic class/income level, mental/physical/emotional health challenges, and others.
  • Recognize that diversity of experience and thought expands well beyond our work on the stage, and commit to honoring that in the way we operate as a company.

Consciously Inclusive:

  • Proactively demonstrate inclusive behaviors and engage in the work to improve the day-to-day practices, increase staff engagement and sense of belonging, and to work towards equitable outcomes.
  • Increase transparency around decisions made for the organization and share the why behind the what.

Anti-Racist:  

  • Create, support, and implement additional anti-racist policies, practices and procedures and take actions to create equity across the organization while working to eliminate white supremacists’ practices and mindsets of the past.

Community Impact:

  • To be a community catalyst for ED&I and proactively engage in a reciprocal conversation with the communities we serve, our partners, and our audiences to create positive change.
  • Seek and continue to further the conversation beyond the show allowing audiences to participate in things like Act II, TalkBacks, Panels, and other ways to learn and grow perspectives within the theater and the community.

Continuous Learning:

  • Commit to a sustained investment of resources for continuous learning regarding ED&I. Be thoughtful, collaborative, and persistent on our approach while recognizing that we are all at different places in our journeys when it comes to ED&I.

ED&I Case for Change

The time for change is now. Embracing our ED&I journey is the first step in acknowledging our opportunities to become an even stronger partner with our members, artists and our community - fueling our commitment to being part of the solution to end inequity. Now, as in the past, we stand with Black people and all communities of color and join with others locally and nationally to eliminate racist practices.

Racism is not an accident and is supported by systems developed over hundreds of years which have impacted every aspect of life in our country, including our non-profit regional theaters We recognize our 60-year institution was rooted in a history of white supremacy and privilege. We are not immune from this moment in history necessitating that we reexamine our practices through an additional lens of ED&I. While we have committed to this important ED&I work, we understand there is still much more room for growth.

As a leading arts institution, our role to inspire and provoke change is not new. Our audiences are beautiful representations of the world and they include Black, Indigenous and People of Color, as well as all genders and gender identities in our community, the region, and the country. We have an opportunity to strengthen and create new authentic relationships with diverse communities. It is through our shared humanity and our work in tandem with others that will move us towards racial justice. This is who we are, unyielding in our commitment and transparent in advancing our efforts to make sustained change. This change calls for us to embrace all communities and cultures, and we are ready to continue this journey now and into the future.


Definitions

Acknowledging that some terms used within this document have varying connotations, we offer the below definitions to help clarify our intent:

EQUITY
Fairness and justice in policy, practice and opportunity consciously designed to address the distinct challenges of non-dominant social groups, with an eye to equitable outcomes.

IMPLICIT BIAS
Also known as unconscious or hidden biases, implicit biases are unconsciously held negative associations about any given social group. Implicit biases undercut conscious commitments to inclusion and fairness, particularly in organizations where they may be collectivized and institutionalized in hiring practices and as barriers to advancement.

INTERSECTIONALITY
First named by legal theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw (although many credit Sojourner Truth)
• Inequities are never the result of single, distinct factors. Rather, they are the outcome of intersections of different social location, power relations and experiences (positionality).

As the number of non-dominant identities co-exist, a compounding effect of oppression occurs that further hinders the social mobility of the individual.

RACISM
Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices.

Racism = race prejudice + social and institutional power
Racism = a system of advantage based on race
Racism = a system of oppression based on race
Racism = a white supremacy system

WHITE SUPREMACY
The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and "undeserving." Drawing from critical race theory, the term "white supremacy" also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

Source: Ten Chimneys