“Our theatre field and broader culture owe an enormous debt to the artistry and activism of these extraordinary leaders. We hope these videos and screening events not only honor these nine leaders, but raise awareness more broadly of the essential role played by theatres of color in our field. As more and more theatres make equity, diversity, and inclusion central to their work, we must remember the theatres that have been working with artists and communities of color for generations.” -Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG.
The filming process of the Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project (LLCVP) was produced by former TCG director of communications & conferences Dafina McMillan over a two-year period in collaboration with producer and director Anna Sang Park of Moped Productions; and with the support of TCG staff, including associate producers Ty Defoe, former equity, diversity & inclusion fellow, and Emilya Cachapero, director of artistic & international programs.
The LLCVP was envisioned as one of the key elements of TCG's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative’s “Establishing a Baseline” programming, which also includes REPRESENT, a demographic survey that thinks outside the checkbox, and The Well, a hub of EDI-related resources. “Establishing a Baseline” was initially supported by a National Projects grant from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and this next phase has received subsequent National Projects funding.
TCG committed to the LLCVP knowing the essential role theatres of color play in our field, as well as the unique challenges they have faced because of systemic racism. We share our EDI Institute's Theatres of Color Statement of Values to provide further context on this approach.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Institute’s
Theatres of Color Statement of Values
"The Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Institute (EDI) values racial equity and is committed to working in solidarity with theatres of color (TOCs) to end systemic racism in the theatre field and our broader culture. The Institute will continue to develop and support programs for and by TOCs to achieve these goals, as well as integrate an anti-racist analysis into all aspects of our institutional programming and decision-making.
Inspired by the words of W.E.B. Du Bois on the founding of The Krigwa Players, the EDI Institute defines TOCs as organizations that create work “about, by, for, and near” communities of color as a central part of their mission. TOCs are also defined by a commitment to having and supporting leadership of color. We believe that these theatres have unique strengths through which they make essential contributions to our field and culture. We also believe these theatres face unique challenges caused by historic injustice and continuing inquities; and that as beneficiaries of that systemic racism, predominantly white organizations, like TCG and other predominantly white theatres and foundations, have a special responsibility to end it.
Central to that work is the leadership of TOCs within the EDI Institute. This peer-learning community of multiple cohorts of theatres is committed to the anti-racist goals and values outlined above, and through TOC-centered collective action, works to end systemic racism in the theatre field. This work is integrated into both internal practices and external-facing programs.
*This Values Statement is supported by artEquity, program partner for the EDI Institute."
Photo of Douglas Turner Ward and his son, Douglas Ward, Jr.. Photo credit: Dafina McMillan.