Dated March 30, 2021
What does it mean to be an anti-racist theatre? That has been a central topic for NCTC’s staff and board in recent months as we analyze all of our current practices and see how we can improve them to be more inclusive to BIPOC communities. As a Queer arts organization it has always been an essential part of NCTC’s values that we support marginalized communities, but we know we can do better and we want to do better.
In an effort to be transparent and share our action items, these are some of the next steps we are taking at the staff level as organized by the department. Please note that this is an evolving document and will continue to develop as we prepare to reopen our doors in the near future.
- All artistic endeavors at NCTC shall uphold our mission, vision, values, anti-racist and nondiscrimination policies. Through our work we model and celebrate the ethos of NCTC’s inherent culture of fairness, inclusiveness, respect and joyfulness.
- Create an equitable balance of the work written, directed, performed, taught and designed by BIPOC artisans.
- Expand the New Voices/New Work program and prioritize mentorship opportunities for Queer and BIPOC artisans as the next generation of theatre-makers.
- Produce a mainstage season and variety of educational theatre programs that embrace, support, serve and promote a broad spectrum of Queer and BIPOC experiences.
- Prioritize hiring a dramaturg and/or cultural consultants to be in the room for culturally specific projects particularly if the director is not of the culture.
- Build post-production review into every process, giving each artist the chance to provide feedback about their experience, which NCTC will use to improve production processes and community culture.
- Include an Intimacy Director as part of the production team for projects that involve interactions of affection, abuse, and eroticism.
- Support new artistic relationships by reducing homogenous design teams and opening space for different creative processes.
- Casting Department holds itself accountable to NCTC’s anti-racist values through hiring and storytelling.
- Hold conversations with artistic leadership regarding values, diversity, and cultural competency throughout each casting process to unpack biases around, but not limited to, race, gender, body size, and ableism.
- Be vigilant in centering BIPOC narratives by hiring BIPOC artists for roles including considering BIPOC artists for canonical texts and plays that have been historically cast with white actors.
- Foster welcoming, transparent, and efficient auditions by providing a casting process information sheet to everyone involved, as well as sharing NCTC’s Anti-Racist Statement and Values.
- The Casting Coordinator and Casting Associate will be present throughout each casting process in order to uphold NCTC's anti-racist values by being curious, collaborative, and focused on equity.
- Continue to commit to centering Queer and BIPOC storytelling in our YouthAware educational shows through play development and hiring.
- Find new ways to create access and resources for school sites to continue building on the complex ideas and conversations that YouthAware programs present.
- Continue to explore how YouthAware’s programs and performances can be more rooted in models of transformative and restorative justice practices.
- Develop specific safety plans and de-escalation protocols for interacting with youth.
- Practice land acknowledgments on tour in order to educate the touring team and audiences about the history of the land their school is settled on and the people that reside there.
- Reimagine how YouthAware can incorporate disability justice into hiring, performance, and storytelling models.
- Expand efforts to welcome more BIPOC students, families and teaching artists into the Conservatory.
- Find new ways to foster and develop BIPOC teaching artists/directors.
- Explore creating affinity social groups and providing space for them to meet.
- Organize events to bring marginalized students (BIPOC, LGBTQ, differently-abled) to see productions for free.
- Continue to carefully consider and actively talk about representation (ethnicity, gender) in casting youth productions.
- Create a safe, vibrant, and welcoming space for all guests from when they first visit our website to when they are in the lobby.
- Train NCTC’s front of house team on how to handle any necessary interventions.
- Seek out new Queer and BIPOC organizations that we can partner with so that we can uplift other voices.
- Make art easily accessible to all by creating a free discount code for BIPOC organizations.
- Be more conscious of appropriate representation for special events including talkbacks and pre-show performances.
- Provide members of the press with the necessary toolkit to understand the correct terminology to use when writing about our artists.
- Playbills will provide appropriate dramaturgy on productions to provide guests with a deeper understanding of productions.
- Use imagery of BIPOC artists who have only been in recent productions on printed collateral.
- Review marketing copy to assure that it is inclusive and non-discriminatory.
- Create mindful practices of use of language when requesting funds.
- Actively support any donation opportunities for BIPOC orgs.
- Cultivate meaningful Board community engagement outside of financial support.
- Acquire special funding, both individual and institutional, to support organizational EDI projects.
- Expand stewardship efforts that contribute to a community-based environment that welcomes BIPOC into the donor cycle in an authentic manner.
- Ensure that potential funding organizations have equity policies and practices in place.
- Oversee NCTC’s anti-racism work on both staff and Board level.
- Ensure institutional transparency on all EDI issues.
- Actively work to expand representation of the Bay Area’s Queer BIPOC community on the Board.
- Budget for ongoing, annual EDI work for NCTC staff.
- Every NCTC Production and New Hire Process will begin with a mission overview, the outlining of our EDI and anti-racism Commitments, and a review of the company-wide process for reporting problems and the clear response protocol.
- Clarify lines of communication and reporting for issues and complaints for NCTC staff, artists, volunteers, students, and guests.
- Expand Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in recruitment of the Queer and BIPOC communities, and persons with disabilities community to better represent the Bay Area’s vibrant and diverse landscape. Will also publicize salary ranges in job postings.
- Provide paid training and internship opportunities for Queer and BIPOC artisans.
- Cultivate a culture of equity that sets up incoming BIPOC staff for success before hiring.
- Develop intervention and disruption protocols for staff and volunteers.
We will continue to share our updates on this page quarterly. Our next iteration of this will also include the NCTC Board of Directors EDI priorities and strategies which are currently in progress. Thank you for taking the time to read this and please reference our staff page if you have any specific questions.
Dated October 29, 2020
For NCTC, the last five months have been a time of activity and introspection around the issue of racial equity in our theatre community, and in our theatrical home. There’s a lot of work ahead, and we look forward to using the guidance provided by both the We See You White American Theatre and the The Living Document to help improve and increase our efforts. Part of our August commitment to the community included providing an update in October on our progress. Here are some of the action items we have undertaken in the last five months:
● Both Staff and Board are engaged in in-depth discussions and strategic planning for our ongoing work as a social and racial justice-oriented theatre organization
● We have increased BIPOC membership on our Board by 20% and are engaged in active recruitment measures to expand our Board with particular emphasis on broader BIPOC and queer spectrum representation
● We drafted a statement of values. Together with our mission and vision, this statement affirms the values important to us as an anti-racist queer-positive institution committed to effecting personal & societal growth, enlightenment and change. This statement is near completion and will be published on our website when done.
● We have implemented an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Statement with consultation from Indigenous stakeholders. For further information on this, please click here.
● We have improved methods to communicate our no tolerance policy for harassment, prejudice, and discrimination to all employees and volunteers in the organization.
● We will be promoting local BIPOC businesses and organizations in our emails, social media and printed programs.
● We have reviewed job posting policies in order to eliminate language that creates barriers such as salary history, and will now include salary ranges.
● We are continuing to expand our queer positive and BIPOC representation in our online education and performances programs.
When we can once again welcome live productions and live audiences into our space, some of our plans include:
● Expanding our pay-what-you-wish performances past previews to include rush tickets before every production in the theatre.
● Expanding our program of offering complimentary tickets or pay-what-you-wish tickets to BIPOC groups, and BIPOC youth/teens.
● Expanding and diversifying our roster of post-show discussion facilitators
● Expanding our opportunities for audiences to engage with the subject matter of the shows, via strategies such as special pre/post show events, program notes and lobby displays
● Balancing our production curation so that it is representative of a fuller spectrum of the queer and allied community each season.
In addition, we are reviewing all of our production processes from casting through the final curtain in order to ensure our theatre is a place that welcomes, empowers and uplifts all who visit and work here.
We acknowledge that this report is only the beginning of our work; many things are still in development. We hold ourselves accountable for this process, and commit to posting further updates in March of 2021.
Dated August 6, 2020
New Conservatory Theatre Center staff and board acknowledge the courage, pain, and wisdom that went into creating both “We See You White American Theatre” and “The Living Document.” We appreciate the thought that went into these documents and the thorough list of actions we can take to become ever more inclusive and equitable.
NCTC is using this call to action to enhance the ongoing work we are doing at the artistic, staff, and board level to be an anti-racist organization. We are holding ourselves accountable so that we may continue to evolve as not only an arts and education institution, but also a voice of the Queer & Allied community that respects, honors, and welcomes all.
This is ongoing work. We will be sharing our progress with ourcommunity on a regular basis, and commit to sharing our first progress report by October 2020.