An Open Letter to Theatre Companies: How To Hold Yourselves Accountable and Put Solidarity Into Practice

  • In what ways are you as a theatre company actively supporting and seeking to include diverse voices?
  • Are there BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) working in all facets of your company, from the board of directors to the leadership team, to tech crew, to stage?
  • Are the BIPOC at your company in positions of power? Do they have a say in decision making?
  • Do you include works by playwrights of color in every performance season?
  • Do you gravitate toward socio-political plays, or do you shy away from them for the comfort of your audiences and/or benefactors?
  • When casting classical works, are you using a colorblind casting model, or a color-conscious one? Are you aware of the difference?
  • In contemporary works, if the playwright has not specified the ethnicity of a character, are you automatically inclined to fill the role with a white actor?
  • Do you hesitate to cast two actors of the same race (other than white), for fear that the audience will mix them up?
  • Are your audiences predominantly white? White and wealthy? If so, are you actively seeking to broaden your demographic? How?
  • How does your company engage with its surrounding community? Can you think of ways to engage with communities of color, specifically?
  • Do you offer a course in sensitivity training/bias awareness training to your staff?
  • Would you consider hiring a diversity consultant?
  • Are you willing and able to have conversations about race, should they arise in rehearsal? Do you have a member of staff equipped to mediate a conversation, if need be?
  • Do you ask your company members for feedback at the end of your performance season?
  • Are you cultivating a safe space for employees of color to truthfully share their insights and opinions?
  • If you have cast a fair amount of BIPOC in your season, and/or have included a play written by a playwright of color, do you pat yourself on the back and think “Ahh, my work here is done.” ?

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She/Her — Opinionated Filipino-American Actor — www.zoelaiz.com

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Zoë Laiz

Zoë Laiz

She/Her — Opinionated Filipino-American Actor — www.zoelaiz.com

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