We have read the recently released BIPOC Equity Action Plan, and want to thank everyone involved with its creation. To take hundreds of painful and unjust experiences and to use them to create a blueprint for how we can create equity in the art world is a gift. While several demands have been addressed in our prior statement (see original statement below), far more have not. We are committed to meeting them head-on and to the best of our abilities. The entire company and our Board of Directors support these demands 100%. To that end, and as promised, Awesome Theatre will be releasing a comprehensive Accountability Report in September that explicitly states our goals, the work we’ve already done to meet these goals, and the work we intend to do moving forward. This will include several new policies focused on accessibility, financial transparency, and outreach. As time goes on and we increase in size, we will be able to grow to meet more of the financial demands outlined in the BIPOC Equity Action Plan.
While we are a small, volunteer-run nonprofit arts org (for now), we are not immune to the needs of the moment and of our community. We aim to be an example for other micro-theatre companies, both locally and nation-wide to show what role we can play.
To our BIPOC friends, collaborators, and allies: Thank you, we see you, we hear you, and we will fight against oppression and systemic white supremacy in our community and in all that we do.
ORIGINAL POST 6/10/2020
In light of the unrest and growing strife in our country, Awesome Theatre put out the following statement last week:
“Awesome Theatre was created to make the things we thought should exist, to create art that was the change we wanted to see. We cannot stand silently by in the face of social revolt. Silence is complicity. This is the time to recognize injustice, to recognize the strife of our fellow humans, and to recognize the privilege we’ve so often either taken for granted, or flat out denied. To produce theatre is a privilege. To tell stories is a privilege. To tell the truth is an imperative.
We at Awesome Theatre can’t push on the lever of justice and bend the world. But we can tell stories. Your stories. We will use this privilege, this platform, to empower black voices, proactively create opportunities for artists in marginalized communities, to showcase the truth no matter how difficult it is to hear, and continue to be the change we want to see in the world, not just through our art, but in how we do business.
Black Lives Matter. Justice for all.”
After discussing as a company what our next steps would be to keep these promises, we believed a more in depth statement was necessary, so here it is:
From the beginning, Awesome theatre made a commitment to encompassing diverse voices and telling diverse stories. But we’ve failed in many ways. We have been complicit in the systemic prevalence of white supremacy in this country, and we will no longer be party to ignorance, fear, and hate, whether wittingly or unwittingly.
We could trot out pathetic excuses for why our actors, technical staff, and board members lack the full diversity we so genuinely want to represent. We could place the blame for our inaction at the feet of others. But the fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves. We can do better. And we will do better.
Today we’re making a promise. A promise to improve our culture, improve our hiring practices, and a promise to represent voices of color in all that we do. Here are our goals for the upcoming year, and all the years moving forward.
We have hired Nikki Meñez, an incredible artist and creative voice in Bay Area theatre, as our casting director. With their help, we will be working to bring diversity to our productions and will work to create a more equitable and safe place where all artists feel welcome. They will help us develop as a company, and will help us commit to the following policies:
- All shows must feature a cast that is at least 50% Women, Trans, or non-binary.
- All shows must feature a cast that is at least 50% POC.
- All shows must feature a design team that is at least 60% Women, Trans, or non-binary, and 50% POC.
- Our Artist in residency program will be exclusively offered to women/trans/non-binary and/or POC.
- We will seek to diversify our board, and will include at least one black voice if not more.
- We will compile a public accountability report every year to be as transparent as possible as to how we’re living up to these promises.
We recognize that this is only a start, and a late start at that. We will strive with all the love, understanding, and compassion we can muster to stand with and listen to the black and other disenfranchised voices in our community. We will be here. Listening. Learning. And Growing.
With love and sincerity,