Best Practices for Inclusive Casting | TheatreArtLife

Some hiring tips you may not have considered.

Advancing Arts Forward
Apr 30 · 11 min read
Originally published on TheatreArtLife.

While working in the Diversity & Inclusion office at Actors’ Equity Association, I had the pleasure of hearing from various stakeholders in the process of casting a show. When I say “inclusive casting,” I’m talking about casting actors of color, actors with disabilities, women, trans and gender non-conforming actors, and other members of historically and currently marginalized communities that are not well represented or misrepresented onstage in theatre productions. Here are some tips for inclusive casting from the earliest start of the producing process until after the show ends:

At the start of the process:

In the casting breakdown:

In the search:

In scheduling auditions:

In the audition room:

In the decision making room:

After the process:

These are all tips you may or may not have tried or want to try depending on your power in the casting process. A big problem I’ve been made aware of is that even casting directors do not have the power in some cases to ensure inclusive casting. Often the decision stops where the money starts. When it comes to commercial theatre and even many nonprofit theaters, they are strongly (mis)influenced by what they think longtime donors/funders/ticket buyers would think of casting more people of color, people with disabilities, trans and gender conforming people, women, and beyond. In actuality having more inclusive casting attracts more new patrons. For example, when casting Deaf actors in Deaf roles, you’ll actually attract the Deaf community to attend, perhaps even for the first time!

Further learning resources:

Special thank you to Jordan Thaler from The Public Theater’s Casting Team and Kate Lumpkin Casting. Thank you also to any actors that have ever voiced to me, whether directly or indirectly, their experiences, processes shift suggestions and beyond to improve inclusive casting.

Any other tips for inclusive casting? Email us at

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Originally published at on April 30, 2019.

Advancing Arts Forward

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Advancing Arts Forward, run by Viviana Vargas, is a movement to advance equity, inclusion and justice through the arts.