(Photos by Roger Mastronianni from the 2015 Institute meeting in Cleveland.)
The Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Institute is a key part of TCG's multi-year, six-point Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative to transform the national theatre field into a more equitable, inclusive and diverse community. TCG, in partnership with Carmen Morgan, Director of artEquity, 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 holds smaller training programs and convenings on cultural awareness, managing diversity, and activating change. 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.
The first national cohort, which concludes its three-year process in June 2016, includes: Alliance Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Cara Mia Theatre, Central Square Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House, CROSSROADS, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Jubilee Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Lark Play Development Center, Magic Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Penumbra Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, The Public Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Tectonic Theater Project, The Theater Offensive, and TCG.
Institute participants are developing and fine-tuning action plans for their organizations while providing a structure of support and accountability for each other. Participants are engaging in skills-building opportunities through webinars and in-person sessions on equity, diversity and inclusion-related issues such as best practices for inclusive recruitment. Throughout the three-year cohort period, participants will work together on: creating equity, diversity and inclusion policies and committees; measurement and assessment; and building awareness and education around sensitive and complex areas of identity, privilege, and access.
The Institute was created, and the first cohort co-led, by Carmen Morgan and Dafina McMillan, TCG's former Director of Communications & Conferences, with support from Ty Defoe, TCG's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Fellow, and Gus Schulenburg, TCG's then Associate Director of Communications.
(Photo by Roger Mastroianni. Pictured: June 2015 Institute meeting facilitation team: Ty Defoe, Dafina McMillan, Michael Robertson, Carmen Morgan, and Gus Schulenburg.)
Participating theatres of color play a special role within the Institute: Given these theatres have been instrumental in nurturing a cadre of artists of color over the decades, they can not only help raise awareness of culturally-specific work and acumen nationally, but also help us define and model respectful partnerships between regional theatres and theatres of color.
In 2016, TCG will launch the first of two new additional Institute cohorts with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. If you're a theatre interested in joining the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Institute, please email Elena Chang.