October 23rd, 2020, San Diego, CA
– Diversionary Theatre announces their Anti-Racism Action
plan as a response to the We See You White American Theatre and the Black Lives Matter movements.
Regarding their new plan, Executive Artistic Director, Matt M. Morrow says, “I think the action plan speaks for itself. We are incredibly grateful to WSYWAT and the clarity of its authors around what needs to happen to cure racism and eradicate injustice in our industry. Working on this has been invigorating for all of Diversionary as an institution and we look forward to integrating this work into our everyday life at our company.”
About Diversionary’s response to the We See You White American Theatre and Black Lives Matter movements, Managing Director, Jenny Case, says “This is a pivotal and important time in our society. It is time to acknowledge how far we have not come in uplifting the voices of the BIPOC community, as a society and as individuals. Theatre has the power to make a difference in people’s lives. That is the truth that Diversionary Theatre was founded on. We believe it is time that the theatre community acknowledge our power by acknowledging our past complacencies. Our action plan is a place to start. It will be a living document as we continue to learn and grow.”
Diversionary Theatre’s Anti-Racist Action Plan
As the third oldest LGBTQ theatre in the nation, Diversionary Theatre has long been a safe space for the queer community and our allies. As a theatre that serves a minority group, intersectionality has been a priority in our work on stage and off. However, since the re-ignition of the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd, Diversionary is re-doubling its efforts to combat the persistent systemic racism evident in our theatre community, community at large, and to rectify our own shortcomings in addressing racism within our own institution.
Diversionary Theatre vows to:
In Management & Administration:
- Raise awareness that Diversionary resides on the traditional and ancestral home to the Kumeyaay Nation by developing and publishing a statement with Indigenous people of this nation. This statement will be:
- Read at the first rehearsal of every production;
- Published in programs for shows and other public gatherings;
- Published in a lobby display on site at Diversionary Theatre;
- Published in the email signature of staff emails, and
- Published on the theatre’s website.
- Board and staff of Diversionary theatre will receive third party anti-racist training on an annual basis.
- Training will include bystander intervention, de-escalation, and conflict resolution training to provide the necessary tools to address racism and harm when it happens.
- All staff and board will sign a commitment statement to fostering an anti-racist space and process. This statement will be developed in conjunction with the third party Anti-Racist training.
- Hold space for anti-racism dialogue as a point of discussion at each and every staff meeting. The protocol of this will be developed in conjunction with the third party Anti-Racist training.
- Anti-racist resources will be distributed to creative and production staff as part of their contract process.
- We will actively prioritize hiring contract workers who have gone through EDI, Anti-Racism, and BIPOC Training as evidenced in their submission and application materials and interview process.
- We will provide front of house theatre personnel and volunteers with Anti-Racist, Implicit Bias, Anti-Oppression and Bystander resources.
- Volunteer Ushers will be appraised of Diversionary’s Anti-Racism Action plan and will receive on site training during their shift.
- We are committed to investing in creating pathways and opportunities for LGBT BIPOC theatre leaders.
- To this end, we are immediately launching a new Artistic Fellow program which will serve to elevate and train a future LGBT-BIPOC artistic producer. In this role they will also collaborate with leadership on programming and production as a peer, working eye to eye with theatre leadership.
- We will develop a succinct and powerful anti-racist statement demonstrating Diversionary’s core value of creating an anti-racist environment.
- This statement will be read at the first rehearsal of every production, at our annual Board Meeting, and quarterly at our weekly staff meetings where it shall be discussed and revised as necessary.
- We commit to having at least two LGBT BIPOC playwrights represented on our roster of four to five Mainstage productions per season.
- We commit to launching a commissioning program for LGBT BIPOC playwrights by the end of our 2022 Season, if not sooner.
- We reaffirm our commitment to hiring BIPOC and LGBT BIPOC artists for each and every project, and not just when the project is centered on the BIPOC experience.
- We reaffirm our commitment to having BIPOC and LGBT BIPOC representation in every cast and creative team we employ for our Mainstage production of shows.
- We will examine and tailor each creative process to the needs of that particular show with an emphasis on sensitivity around LGBT BIPOC stories, characters, and creative team members. This includes the engagement of anti-racist trainers and therapists for culturally sensitive material.
- We reaffirm our commitment to engaging BIPOC and LGBT BIPOC Teaching Artists for our Arts Education Outreach programs.
- We reaffirm our commitment to programming LGBT BIPOC plays and musicals for our Arts Education and outreach work.
- We remain committed to and are redoubling our efforts to build relationships with LGBT BIPOC artists from the San Diego region. This includes cultivating relationships through outreach and one on one meetings.
- We are committed to beginning to develop a succession plan for Diversionary Theatre leadership with an emphasis on creating opportunities for LGBT BIPOC artists and arts administrators.
We acknowledge this is a living document and will continue to evolve with the input of our BIPOC community and community at large.
This action plan works in tandem with our commitment to support, uphold, and elevate the entire spectrum of voices with the vastly diverse lesbian, gay, trans, bi, gender non-conforming, and queer communities we have been serving for 35 years. We will also work to open even more opportunities to our differently-abled, intersex, asexual communities, and honor and support the growing diversity within our communities locally and nationally.
Diversionary’s Anti-Racist Statement
Diversionary believes Black Lives Matter. Diversionary is a radically anti-racist space that is safe for all of our artists, arts administrators, theatre practitioners, and patrons. We recognize that systemic racism has prevented BIPOC people in America from enjoying an equitable, healthy, prosperous life.
This means that racist behavior and/or remarks will not be tolerated. If you have witnessed or experienced racist behavior, please report it immediately to theatre leadership directly (Jenny Case, Managing Director or Matt Morrow, Executive Artistic Director). If you are uncomfortable doing so, please report it anonymously via email or a professional confidant. Reports to leadership can be made anonymously via this dedicated email address and/or google form.
Any individual, contractor, employee, or patron, who demonstrates racist behavior or remarks will be removed from the premises.
Diversionary was founded to give voice to the largely unseen and unheard LGBTQIA+ community 35 years ago in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Our theatre is a safe space for all who are maligned, marginalized, and discriminated against by the systemic racism intentionally designed to oppress and terrorize. We see you. We hear you. And we welcome you in our home to find strength, community, and revitalization to continue the fight for justice and equality.
Diversionary also stands to shine a light on and protest the systems of racism and white supremacy that are embedded in our institutions, our media, our government, in our everyday lives, that are at times invisible, and as such, insidious and perpetual.
We at Diversionary recognize the deficiency in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in our city and region. We are committed to leading the cause with boldness and love. We are committed to giving voice to the voiceless. We are committed to listening. We are committed to evolving and growing in tandem with absolving the issues of systemic racism and oppression.
Diversionary stands to say, today and every day:
BLACK LIVES MATTER
There is no asterisk to this statement. There is no disclaimer. This is who we are at Diversionary. We are here and we stand for justice for our Black community and communities of color.