Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan

November 9, 2020

San Diego Repertory Theatre is listening to the voices of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) across the nation. We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. Recognizing that passive solidarity is not enough, we pledge to help eliminate the systemic racism that continues to plague our country by implementing a specific and measurable action plan to which we can be held accountable.

Our mission at San Diego Repertory Theatre is “to produce intimate, provocative, inclusive theatre. We promote an interconnected community through vivid works that nourish progressive political and social values and celebrate the multiple voices of our region.  San Diego Repertory Theatre feeds the curious soul. “Our commitment to nourishing progressive political and social values includes our responsibility to stand up for marginalized communities including Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIA+, women, neurodiverse, and people with disabilities.
San Diego REP has operated within and benefitted from a structure of systemic racism and culture of white supremacy and privilege that impacts our entire society. We vow to actively examine and dismantle the structures of racism and bias within our theatre, within our community, and within the deepest part of our own selves with fresh eyes. We commit to take significant actions in order to make meaningful change towards equity for all. We will transform our company to be a fully inclusive anti-racist multicultural organization by making this the focus of our current strategic action.
The following list explores five areas of focus and related action items addressing issues of equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion within our art, our company, our community, and our national theater network. These action steps will be taken over a series of 3-5 years as they comprise our current strategic plan. The order of these goals and action items are not tied to priority, as many will occur simultaneously to achieve our larger vision.
We seek to:
Widen the Lens of Diversity Across All Artistic Programming to Advance Racial Justice and Multicultural Equity
-Commit to produce diverse programming with 50% (averaged over three years) of our season by Black, Indigenous, and playwrights of color.

-Pledge to produce a season that has 50% (averaged over three years) women-identifying playwrights.

-Commit to achieving 50% (averaged over three years) women-identifying writers and artists within each festival we produce.

-Expand the casting process to offer a wider range of opportunities for Black, Indigenous, actors of color, LGBTQIA+, women, neurodiverse, and actors with disabilities.

-Continue to regularly cast at least 50% of the roles in on our stages with artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, actors of color.

-Advance Hear U.S. Now, San Diego REP’s program which commissions new plays, to regularly support works by Black, Indigenous, playwrights of color, LGBTQIA+, women, neurodiverse, and playwrights with disabilities.

-Partner with theatres around the nation on supporting The Breath Project 2020, which seeks to showcase and archive work from multidisciplinary theatre artists of color who are responding to the current moment.

-Produce a BLACK LIVES MATTER reading series online with post-show discussions.

-Host an annual Juneteenth play reading or other celebratory event.

-Launch a new theatre festival centering on Black, Indigenous, and artists of color.

-Shift our annual Latinx Festival into a hybrid model with live and online offerings to increase the range of artists and reach of theater professionals from across the nation.

-Build a new play development program in The Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival through connections with regional theatres that spotlight Jewish work exploring a wide-range of Jewish experiences. 

Reframe Organizational Structure from an Anti-Racist and Anti-Bias Perspective with Emphasis on Transparency
-Augment our current senior artistic Leadership Team with Black, Indigenous or people of color, women and LGBTQIA+.

-Annually review internal and industry standards to ensure equitable pay for equitable work.

-Convene a Vision Council with future-focused leaders that would continually help shape and monitor the company's 3-5 year Strategic Action Plan.

-Create an ongoing proactive recruitment/hiring processes including continual tracking to achieve 50% representation of Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIA+, women, neurodiverse, and people with disabilities. Groups to focus on and measure are overall staff, marketing/development/finance team, artistic team, production team, fellows, leadership team, and Board of Trustees as well as artistic collaborators.

-Generate an additional Associate Artistic Director position for an exceptional theater artist and practitioner with extensive experience in Black related theatre work.

-Generate a new General Manager position and examine the succession of the Artistic and Managing Directors as opportunities to achieve representation of Black, Indigenous, people of color in senior leadership.

-Generate paid entry level and supervisory House Management positions for young Black, Indigenous, people of color to reflect the diversity of our community, add to the audience experience, and create entry level jobs in the arts.

-Expand our volunteer reader group to an active 25+ people, with emphasis on diversity.

-Display our anti-racism and anti-bias actions/goals and results for greater transparency and accountability on our website.

-Share photos and self-identification of members of board, leadership, staff, and artistic collaborators on our website to offer transparency of our company's diversity.

Establish Best Practices to Eliminate Systemic Racism Throughout Organization and Create Equity Overall
-Engage an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) specialist to analyze current practices and procedures to ensure an anti-racist/anti-bias approach.

-Train full – time staff and members of the Board of Trustees to create a multi-cultural anti-racism/anti-bias work environment led by experienced EDI facilitators.

-Develop experienced EDI specialists on staff to lead the anti-racist actions and conversations.

-Hire culturally specific experts for artistic projects.

-Distribute and discuss an anti-racism and anti-harassment policy statement at the start of employment and at first rehearsal.

-Continually measure the organizational performance toward eliminating systemic racism and unconscious bias.

-Refine production practices towards the goal of eliminating scheduled overtime.

-Offer training for designers and production team on specific needs of Black, Indigenous, artists of color, LGBTQIA+, women, neurodiverse, and artists with disabilities.

-To undo Native invisibility, normalize the use of land acknowledgments of the traditional caretakers of this region: Kumeyaay, Luiseño, Cahuilla, and Cupeño people.

-Train appropriate staff on bystander intervention and de-escalation to create a welcoming place for diversity and a safe space for all.

-Implement an annual employee review process to establish goals and adjust annual compensation.

-Establish more opportunities for Board, Leadership, and staff to get to know each other socially.

Deepen Community Engagement and Patron Experience around a Multicultural Worldview
-Commit to expanding active listening to Black, Indigenous, artists of color through community-centered conversations and use what we learned to inform change.

-Convene conversations with Kuumba Fest Artistic Director Dajahn Blevins to enhance the festival as a mutually beneficial partnership.

-Ask Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIA+, women, neurodiverse, and people with disabilities in our community how the Lyceum theatre and San Diego REP can be more inclusive through our resources and our artistic offerings.

-Share resources with local Black, Indigenous, artists and theatres of color.

-Host one annual nesting residency at the Lyceum for a theatre that centers on Black, Indigenous and people of color.

-Embrace work that explores our world through a multi-lingual and neuro-diverse approach.

-Offer ticket related fundraising opportunities to organizations whose mission is tied to a theme in a given play.

-Establish new ways for staff and Board to make mutually beneficial, long-lasting connections with affinity groups/community groups centering around the community’s needs.

-Partner with local Indigenous artists and community leaders to create more opportunities for illuminating their art and stories.

-Ensure ticket prices are not an obstacle to expanding audience diversity. 

-To undo Native invisibility, dedicate a permanent gallery space for an art installation that represents the traditional caretakers of this region: Kumeyaay, Luiseño, Cahuilla, and Cupeño people.

-Feature Black, Indigenous, artists of color, LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse, and artists with disabilities in our Lyceum galleries.

-Share anti-racism and anti-bias learnings and tools with audiences and participate in forums for discussion.

-Actively expand our audience diversity by welcoming people who are deaf or hard of hearing and offering necessary interpretation tools.

Help Evolve American Theatre by Focusing on Black, Indigenous, and Artists of Color
-Grow WE ARE LISTENING, the bimonthly conversation with Black, Indigenous, artists of color, towards reaching a national audience.

-Participate in conversations with national organizations around how to move American theatre forward into a more equitable and diverse space.

-Build partnerships with Black, Indigenous, theatres of color to collaborate on the development of new work.

-Generate a paid annual Artistic Fellowship for an early-career Black, indigenous or artist of color.

-Provide additional mentorship and networking opportunities for fellows to help them move to the next step of their career.

-Establish partnerships with local colleges/universities to recruit students and faculty who identify as Black, Indigenous, artists of color for collaborator or staff opportunities.