AWESOME THEATRE’S CODE OF CONDUCT
As part of our EDI commitments, and to create a safe and positive environment for all of our artists and collaborators, we have created an Awesome Theatre Code of Conduct. Effective immediately, all Awesome Theatre team members and everyone who works with us will be asked to sign this document and conduct themselves accordingly. The Code of Conduct is a living document and will change and evolve based on experience and feedback from our artists and team members, but these initial 9 guidelines will serve as a foundation for creating a space where all artists feel welcome. In the near future, you will be hearing more from us on how we will be enforcing these guidelines and adhering to our anti-racism statement.
We at Awesome Theatre believe in creating a supportive, uplifting environment where project members can create, explore, invent, and critique creative work. We know that each individual’s success is a direct result of the cohort and that we are each stronger creators, and better community members when we work together in a positive and respectful environment. We know that creating theatre can be messy, and stressful and that this work can push people in ways that are emotionally uncomfortable. We know that creating a safe environment in which to do this work can be difficult, and is necessary.
Code of Conduct
- We understand that everyone who is working with Awesome Theatre is here voluntarily, and is giving of their time, effort, and creativity openly. We promise to be respectful of each person’s time and energy, and to be as efficient and cognisant as possible when making rehearsal schedules, production decisions, and changes to existing time commitments.
- We believe that as respectful coworkers it is up to each of us to learn the best ways to speak with one another and to honor the individual ways that we each process information. We will raise our concerns in good faith, and discuss paths forward with growth and transparency at the center of our plans and actions.
- We believe in taking care of one another, and that it is vital that each of us feels safe and welcome when they are on an Awesome Theatre project. We are open to feedback and helpful criticism, with the end goal of increasing awareness and physical and emotional safety for everyone working with Awesome Theatre.
- I understand that everyone who is working with Awesome Theatre is here voluntarily, and is giving of their time, effort, and creativity openly. By being part of Awesome Theatre, I acknowledge that I too am here voluntarily, and am ready to work with the group in a professional, honest, and respectful manner.
- I understand that gender pronouns and names are to be decided by the individual person to whom they refer and that I am expected to use each person’s pronouns and name as directed by that individual.
- I understand that health and safety are a priority on every Awesome Theatre project and that concerns about health and safety are to be raised immediately with my director and/or producer.
- I understand that words matter, and that I am expected to speak from a place of humility, kindness, and curiosity whenever I am working with Awesome Theatre. I will ask questions when I don’t understand a task or an action, and I will be open to questions and discussions throughout each Awesome Theatre project.
- I understand that I am coming to Awesome Theatre with my own biases and that those biases may be challenged by the work the company does, the people that I work with, and the organizers that make each project possible. I acknowledge that these biases are part of my own personal journey and that it is up to me, and not up to Awesome Theatre, to work on or through these biases in order to bring my best self to each project.
- I understand that consent is vital, and that I am expected to respect and uphold the emotional and physical boundaries set by my coworkers.
Awesome Theatre is proud to stand with all members of our community to create a more equitable, more diverse environment for local artists to create, to be seen, and to be heard. To that end, we are releasing this document (and more documents to come) in order to be as transparent as possible with our former, current, and future business practices. Transparency is accountability. Within these documents, we hope you will see what changes we have made to further foster equity in our business and in our productions.
- In order to make our shows non cost prohibitive, our ticket prices do not exceed $25, discount codes are regularly distributed, half price tickets are made available and we have a generous group discount. By continuing these practices and by telling stories from multiple backgrounds and experiences, we hope everyone has the opportunity to see themselves on our stage. We pledge to increase our outreach to communities that have been historically excluded from and made to feel unwelcome in theatre spaces.
Hiring and Casting
- In 2021, auditions for our planned stage productions will be conducted virtually. This is to accommodate health concerns due to COVID-19, but also to accommodate actors who may have to spend significant travel time to attend a 5 minute audition.
- We exclusively produce new works written by local artists. This is one of the central tenets of our company’s artistic identity.
- In 2021 We will be commissioning 13 local writers for theatre, film and radio projects. At least 50% of them will be BIPOC writers and at least 50% of the directors will be BIPOC. In addition, at least 50% of writers and directors will be female identifying or non-binary artists.
- In March, we committed to ensuring our production teams and our casts in 2021 will also comprise of at least 50% BIPOC artists and at least 50% female identifying or non-binary artists. This also applies to our remaining 2020 presentations.
- We are a volunteer run organization, however all artists we work with receive an expense stipend comparable to any other artist working on the project. These payouts will increase by 25% until we are able to classify everyone as a regular employee with an hourly wage. In the coming weeks, we will release summaries of our 2020 and 2021 budgets to show exactly how much we spend, where we spend it, and our plans to increase those levels.
- Because all of our plays are commissioned, development periods for each play are needed which involve readings. Awesome Theatre is doing away with the unpaid “Living Room Reading” model and will be conducting all developmental readings virtually and providing a stipend to each artist.
- In addition to our mission statement, and our policy on only hiring local artists, we will add a corporate values statement to our website. This values statement will focus on our business practices. Highlighting our commitments to financial equity, the treatment of everyone we work with, and creating a work environment where everyone feels welcome.
Code of conduct in all artists agreements
- While our artist agreements already provide language stating the expectation that respectful language and behavior must be practiced at all times, in 2021, we will provide an additional code of conduct for everyone to sign and adhere to. This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in our productions/invited into the Awesome Theatre community. This code of conduct will be posted at all rehearsals, filming, meetings, and backstage.
Interim Marketing Director
- We have hired Lorenz Angelo Gonzales to create a formal annual marketing strategy and increase outreach to new audiences.
- In 2022, Awesome Theatre will add a human resources director to the team. This person will handle artist agreements, payouts, and most importantly, workplace conduct. If any person working with Awesome Theatre in an administrative or artistic role, needs to file a complaint, report misconduct or needs to speak in confidence, the human resources director will assist those people. This also takes a responsibility usually given to the Director or Stage Manager (who are often not in a position to give issues the immediate attention they sometimes need) and creates a neutral place where accountability can happen in a safe and meaningful way.
At the beginning of 2021, we will release our next update with new policies. And while we are proud of these changes, the work is never really done. But we hope that these new commitments, in addition to ones we have already introduced will help Awesome Theatre better serve the entire Bay Area Theatre Community.
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,