Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative
Photo by Roger Mastronianni. Pictured: Members of the TCG's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative leading a session at the 2015 TCG National Conference: Game Change.
One of TCG's long-standing Core Values is Diversity: The diversity of the theatre community—combined with its interdependence—makes it strong, healthy and robust. TCG is committed to supporting the plurality of aesthetic, perspective, race, class, gender, age, mission, as well as organizational size and structure.
TCG's strategic plan includes a multi-year, six-point Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative (EDII) to transform the national theatre field into a more equitable, inclusive and diverse community. While these efforts are currently focused on racial and cultural diversity, TCG takes an intersectional approach to identity and equity that infuses all of our programming. The Initiative's six points are divided into the following two areas of focus, Establishing a Baseline and Action-Oriented Programming. All three points of Establishing a Baseline are funded through support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Establishing a Baseline:
• REPRESENT – REPRESENT is a demographic survey platform where theatre people self-identify across the intersections of difference. Through an evolving survey platform, REPRESENT will: measure the current diversity of theatre staff, board and artists; provide robust, real-time snapshots of diversity based on parameters provided by the user; and empower shared language and goal-setting for advancing diversity and inclusion field-wide. REPRESENT will initially focus on eight specific areas of identity: ability/disability, age, class/educational background, gender, place of origin, race/ethnicity, religion/spirituality and sexual orientation. Creating a baseline for the theatre field will help TCG measure future efforts of inclusion and more accurately benchmark progress.
• The Well– TCG will curate a Literature Review of critical thinking about diversity and inclusion, including historic resources on race, ethnicity, gender and other areas of identity. The Well will include reference materials and guides to assist theatres in launching diversity and inclusion initiatives within their organizations, providing a comprehensive study of historic and current resources, articles and thought-leadership pieces to provide year-round opportunities for support and learning. The Well will be available online and will include: past American Theatre articles, archives, video from conferences, other published articles, the Diversity & Inclusion blog salon, and the Legacy Project, detailed below.
• Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project – Through a series of video interviews, the Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project will chronicle the stories of theatre leaders of color who created the work, founded the organizations and led the vanguards of the resident theatre movement. These leaders were inspired by the need to create opportunities lacking for artists of color; to challenge appropriation and misrepresentation through staging the full richness and complexity of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural identities; to gain political power and creative autonomy; and to contribute their unique aesthetic and social perspectives to the American theatre and wider culture. The Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project will not only honor the elders, but serve as a road map for future leaders.
- • Leading the Charge: Diversity & Inclusion Institute –TCG launched a national cohort of over 20 TCG Member Theatres, including TCG, to create and execute action plans around diversity and inclusion, kicking-off as a Pre-Conference at the 2013 National Conference. The Institute will continue to hold smaller training programs and convenings on cultural awareness, managing diversity and activating change, with additional cohorts to launch in the near future. This intensive approach not only creates a climate within each individual theatre whereby institutional change is more likely to take hold, but it also adds significantly to the collective impact and national momentum of diversity and inclusion efforts already taking place.
• SPARK Leadership Program – Building on the Young Leaders of Color program, SPARK will create a more diverse theatre landscape by supporting the professional development of exceptional leaders of color who aim to take on executive leadership positions at U.S. not-for-profit theatres. Through a partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), SPARK will provide 10 rising leaders who identify as leaders of color with the opportunity to participate in a year-long curriculum of professional development. The SPARK Leadership program is supported by American Express and the Joyce Foundation.
• Nurture Theatres of Color – TCG will develop programming to address capacity-building amongst culturally-specific theatres, and raise the awareness of the importance of these theatres around the country. TCG has convened leaders of theatres of color at TCG’s National Conference and Fall Forum on Governance to identify their unique needs and challenges.
The Initiative began with the 2012 TCG Fall Forum on Governance: Leading the Charge, and continued through the Diversity & Inclusion arc at 2013 TCG National Conference: Learn Do Teach. At that Conference, TCG also launched the Leading the Charge Diversity & Inclusion Institute and, with salon curator and Young Leader of Color Jacqueline E. Lawton, started the Diversity & Inclusion blog salon on the TCG Circle. This work continued at the 2013 TCG Fall Forum on Governance: Investing in Vitality, and was a central aspect of the 2014 and 2015 TCG National Conferences.
To submit essays to the Diversity & Inclusion blog salon, and to join the Leading the Charge: Advancing Diversity & Inclusion Group on Conference 2.0, TCG's online community platform, email Gus Schulenburg. To learn more about TCG's Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, contact Dafina McMillan.