To the Board of Directors in Theatre
How are you overseeing and stewarding the evolution of your organization that will effectively transform with the community?
You are ultimately responsible for everything that goes on - so what are your plans to ensure artists, employees and contractors are being treated with the values of your organization and up to the standards of your mission and mandate?
Do you have procedures and measures that ensure the equitable employment of every person under your payroll, every patron entering your space?
When’s the last time you asked your AD or ED or GM about their most recent challenge? Most recent promotion?
Do you have HR policies around cultural violence within your on boarding documents? Is it readily available and known by all of your employees?
When is the last time someone that’s not directly under you in the org chart came and talked to you about anything work related? Do they feel comfortable coming to you? Would you feel comfortable with them coming to you?
If a contracted actor reported an incident in the rehearsal process in your org would you know what to do?
How do you disseminate power away from an oligarchy like structure to ensure everyone else not in a management position feels like they have agency and power?
What are the timelines for your procedures to ensure that you’re working in a way that truly ensures the dignity of all the people you’re responsible?
How do you ensure that your AD’s - your employees are behaving in a manner that is embodying the values of your organization?
When you hired your AD did you ask them about their cognitive bias’s? If your AD is a white dude this line of questioning around ethical power structures and approaches to engagement should be extensive. If you are the white dude - hold yourself accountable.
Did you ask them what their professional development practices were to ensure that they were staying up today with best practices in the industry?
If you hired your AD more than 5 years ago what has been your follow up to ensure that your AD is transforming to be reflective of today’s values and not holding your organization back?
Racism, sexism, ageist and oppression is saturated in theatre and these are the organizations you are in charge of: if you are not addressing these you are complicit in maintaining the racist, sexist and white supremacist status quo and putting the labour on the backs of marginalized artists.
Don’t position racialized artists as “trouble”, “challenging” and or “shit disturbers” because we’re advocating for equity and respect, something AD’s are positioned to receive all the time and are those not your values as well?!
I have work to do, a lot of it. I don’t need to be chasing down your employees to uphold your values just to keep our dignity.
With Kamloopa we hung our values on the wall - that’s how much they meant to us. What about yours?
p.s don't make excuses for the work not getting done or the lack of resources, or capacity. I'm not talking about a microwave that doesn't work in the kitchen office - I'm talking about the safety of your employees. This issue is not a hashtag it's work.
I'm also not asking you to recreate the wheel, in the Banff Cultural Leadership course I took I was fortunate enough to meet Tim Cynova the Chief Operating Officer of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit technology company in New York. Here is there anti-oppression policy, here is their anti-racism policy, here is literally their resources for white people.
They have some of the most comprehensive policies and procedures I've ever seen and I've worked for non-proftics, for-profits and government. As a WOC I've had to engage with a lot of policies and procedures these are top notch .
Go on den.