Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at ANW
We acknowledge the traditional caretakers of the land—we are on the traditional lands of the Gabrielino-Tongva people, who some identify as Kizh. We also want to recognize their neighbors in the region, the Tataviam and Chumash people, who are also important cultural leaders in the region with the Gabrielino-Tongva people.
We are living through confusing and heartbreaking times. As a theatre company, we have seen first-hand the power that stories have to encourage empathy, increase understanding, and help us recognize everyone’s humanity. Our stage should be a platform for classic stories from all backgrounds, cultures, and voices.
We are committed to doing the work necessary to move toward a more inclusive and just future.
ANW Anti-Racism Action Plan
We look forward to providing our next update by October 14, 2022.
We Commit to:
- Continuing to practice land acknowledgements while we reach out to leaders of the Kizh, Tongva, and Gabrielino people to develop an authentic land acknowledgement practice. Land acknowledgement is honored permanently in the lobby and aloud at each first rehearsal, Board meeting, public performance, and other significant events at ANW. As a part of this practice, we now offer complimentary tickets to Native Americans and Indigenous Community Members.
- April 2022 Update: our EDIA (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism) Committee has formed a working group to ensure that our Land Acknowledgment practice continues to evolve as we receive feedback from our community.
- Continuing to hold hour-long staff EDIA meetings bi-weekly. We will dedicate more funds (2% of salaries and benefits, or approx. $30,000 in a typical year) for quarterly anti-racism/decolonization training for staff, Resident Artists, Board, Front of House, teaching artists, guest artists, and crews. The Board has and will continue to take part in Board-specific EDIA training as well as company-wide EDIA training.
- For 2021-22, these trainings were conducted through a year-long contract with VISIONS, Inc. July 2022 update: we are currently in-process to solidify our VISIONS contract (including curriculum) for the 2022-23 Season.
- Providing all cast and creative teams access to the organization’s EDIA commitments, policies, and an anonymous reporting process at the first rehearsal of each production.
- Maintaining our EDIA Incident Reporting Portal for use by audience members, donors, staff members, Teaching Artists, Board, cast, creative team, and volunteers to anonymously report any related incidents that they experience or witness.
- Providing video trainings that educate all volunteer ushers on the importance of identifying implicit bias, avoiding gendered language, and creating a space where all patrons feel welcome.
- Prioritizing press access for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) critics and journalists, including invitations to all opening nights and priority/premium seating at all performances.
- Prioritizing ad buys in and company access for BIPOC-led and majority BIPOC-featured press outlets.
- Hiring BIPOC marketing consultants and PR agents to create targeted marketing plans as we seek to engage more communities. We will be authentic and mindful when building ad campaigns that feature BIPOC artists and patrons so as not to give a false impression of our demographics until our organizational makeup accurately reflects the local community.
- June 2021 Update: We hired C. Raul Espinoza, Theatrical Marketing Consultant, as a community liaison for Latinx/Hispanic outreach throughout our 2021-2022 season. April 2022 Update: For Anna in the Tropics, based on Mr. Espinoza’s recommendations, our marketing plan included local ads/features in both English and Spanish; community-representative audience engagement events; a Spanish-language version of our production teaser video (which was broadcast on Spanish-speaking radio and TV stations); and more.
- September 2021 Update: We hired Jeanine Taylor & Jocelyn Coleman, JCEC Public Relations, as Marketing Communications Consultants for Seven Guitars.
- July 2022 Update: We hired Carol Hall as our Marketing Communications Consultant for Radio Golf.
- Devoting company resources to social media, blog posts, and events that honor a variety of cultural and historical celebrations, including (but not limited to) Latinx Heritage Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pride Month, Indigenous Peoples’ Month, and Black History Month.
- September 2021 Update: ANW hosted its first Tardeada Casa Abierta in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month and the Latinx contributions throughout ANW’s history and the Pasadena area.
- April 2022 Update: We launched our Community Engagement Event series with a Blues Brunch, hosted by KJLH’s Adai Lamar, during the run of Seven Guitars. This was followed later in the season by our Cigarros, Sones, y Vino event for Anna in the Tropics.
ARTISTIC & CURATORIAL PRACTICES
We Commit to:
- Honoring the cultural specificity of BIPOC stories and yielding power in the rehearsal room to those who share a cultural context with the work; this includes the hiring of credible cultural consultants for culturally-specific projects.
- Establishing accountability to cast and hire at least 50% BIPOC artists for the Redmond Stage season and the reading series (not just for culturally specific productions); in addition to centering BIPOC artists in the telling of BIPOC stories.
- Creating Pipelines/Mentorship Opportunities to support the consistent and regular hiring of BIPOC artists.
- Hiring intimacy directors with anti-racism training, as well as hiring trained facilitators to moderate post-show talkbacks for culturally specific productions.
- Working to produce seasons of plays that consistently feature at least 50% of scripts written by writers who are BIPOC, women and/or queer; this includes redefining how we define a “classic” and expanding our definition to include contemporary and underrepresented voices.
- April 2022 Update: 50% of scripts in the 2022-2023 Redmond Stage Season are written by writers who are BIPOC, women and/or queer.
- Encouraging students to explore texts from a diverse canon of classic and contemporary plays through our annual “The Show Must Go On” Monologue Festival.
- Employing a part time dramaturg/literary manager by 2023. Director of Cultural Programming (Noise Now) will collaborate with the Artistic Directors to identify BIPOC plays for the season. We are also opening channels for Resident Artists and staff to recommend BIPOC plays for season selection.
- Strengthening our relationship with the community we serve by sharing resources, centering community partners in collaborations, and encouraging the ANW Board to attend other theatres and arts organizations across Los Angeles.
- July 2022 Update: The 10/20/22 performance of August Wilson’s Radio Golf has been designated as a Black Out Night. This is a purposeful creation of an environment in which an all Black-identifying audience can experience our production of this play. A post-show discussion and reception will follow the performance, providing an opportunity for the audience to discuss their experience and socialize.
- Reexamining casting and designer recruitment methods, developing a paid internship for BIPOC designers, and creating more opportunities for assistant directors – in addition to featuring more BIPOC director/playwright/artist work on the ANW stage.
- Engaging a consultant to conduct an accessibility audit of the ANW facility (including but not limited to ADA requirements).
- Analyzing our operations and programming for ongoing opportunities to improve accessibility, as guided by our Accessibility staff working group and internal action plan.
- Accessibility staff working group actions to-date include: adding signage for dedicated accessible parking; improving systems like back entrance patron flow and communications regarding navigation; upgrading accessibility signage throughout the campus; purchasing a new wheelchair; improving distribution of hearing access headphones; auditing our website for appropriate/sensitive language; and more.
- Continuing to promote and expand reduced-price ticketing for all productions to ensure socio-economic accessibility.
- Exploring and improving data collection and analysis methods for our demographic survey to better track benchmarks of (and progress towards) equitable recruitment of staff, Board, and artists. The results of that survey can be found HERE.
WORKING CONDITIONS & HIRING PRACTICES
We Commit to:
- Building broader, deeper, sustained relationships with BIPOC artists, communities, and networks to hire and support the career development of BIPOC artists, teaching artists, ushers, administrative and production staff, and leadership.
July 2022 Update: A Noise Within’s directors for the 2022-23 Redmond Stage Season are as follows:
- Animal Farm – Julia Rodriguez-Elliott*
- Radio Golf – Gregg T. Daniel
- A Christmas Carol – Julia Rodriguez Elliott* & Geoff Elliott*
- Much Ado About Nothing – Guillermo Cinfuegos
- Kiss of the Spider Woman – Michael Michetti
- The Book of Will – Julia Rodriguez-Elliott* & Geoff Elliott*
* denotes Producing Artistic Director
- July 2022 Update: Noise Now continues to present programming which consists of majority-BIPOC casts and creative teams
- Incorporating EDIA language throughout the hiring and onboarding conversation (including when hiring a recruitment firm), ensuring a shared foundation of ANW’s EDIA values and expectations.
- This work is guided by our Hiring/Onboarding staff working group and includes: a new, equitable template for job listings; an interview format that focuses on hiring through an EDIA lens; an EDIA-centered onboarding process for all new employees, and more.
- Ensuring the majority of finalist candidates for staff positions are BIPOC; results reported to current staff.
- Investing in staff development by helping them determine career aspirations and create long-term plans. We will build up our organizational culture so that BIPOC staff’s voices are valued and suggestions are put into action.
- Working towards recruiting a Board member with HR experience.
- Continuing to budget stylists and supplies for the proper care for hair and makeup for BIPOC actors and engage both stylists and actors in anti-racist conversations.
- Empowering BIPOC artists with the time and agency to produce their work in a humane and nurturing environment by creating production guidelines with the input of BIPOC artists.
- Analyzing our community partnerships to ensure that local artistic partners’ work is amplified and celebrated at ANW, not as a sideline project but as an equitable partnership.
- March 2021 Update: We established a policy to limit photos to artists that have worked with us within the previous 3 years, unless there is a specific and warranted reason that is sensitive to the artists being featured. We will maintain accountability to help ensure that BIPOC are not tokenized in any aspect and update materials yearly and maintain circulation of photos, quotes, stats, etc.
- September 2021 Update: We have eliminated 10 out of 12-hour technical rehearsals and have shifted to 8 out of 10-hour rehearsals.
TRANSPARENCY, COMPENSATION, ACCOUNTABILITY, & BOARDS
We Commit to:
- Continuing to monitor and analyze our salary parity. Currently, no executive staff member makes more than 4x the yearly salary of the lowest-paid, full-time staff member.
- Increasing transparency around salaries, compensation, and the process of conducting evaluations and determining raises.
- Continuing to publish salary ranges as a commitment to equity in the hiring process.
- Ensuring fair compensation for BIPOC and all artists at donor events and any other appearances or work that falls outside of their position as detailed in their contracts.
- Establishing working groups to investigate our staff and artist recruitment, orientation, and career experiences to identify areas where un- or under compensated work is being sought; we will prioritize compensating such work fairly.
- Paying artists for all – including non-artistic – work.
- Ensuring all interns receive equitable pay or college credit.
- Creating space for staff, especially non-senior staff, to attend and make comments at Board meetings.
- Prioritizing the recruitment of BIPOC Board members so that our organization may be led by members of the communities we wish to serve. Through 2024 ANW will at least double BIPOC representation on its Board. We will continue to interrogate white supremacist barriers to building an equitable Board. We will continue our practice of not requiring financial minimum contributions, and we will continue to evaluate Board guidance and input independent of monetary contributions.
- Prioritizing cultural competency, relationship building, lived experiences, and desire to develop an anti-racist organization in considering a prospective Board member’s potential contributions.
- Eliminating references to assets/giving potential in Board candidate profiles.
- September 2021 Update: Since June 2021, we have added 6 individuals to our Board of Directors, including 5 BIPOC Board members. These new Board seats also reflect the addition of 3 artists, one of whom is a Resident Artist.
- Ensuring that BIPOC artists/companies receive direct and equitable financial benefit if we receive funding related to the work of those artists/companies.
- Building equitable relationships with all our BIPOC collaborators – both individual artists and company partners. Our collaborations with BIPOC theatres will always involve profit sharing or equitable payment to our partner companies as well as sharing of patron records (to the extent permitted by privacy laws) so that our partners may expand their own base of supporters.
- Upholding the Los Angeles Anti-Racist Theatre Standards https://latheatrestandards.com/
Updated July 19th, 2022
Tuesday, September 15th, 2020
A Noise Within is committed to the ongoing work of building an anti-racist organization and is incredibly grateful for the support and feedback of our community.
In particular, we would like to express our appreciation for the time and care that went into “We See You, White American Theatre,“ a wide-ranging vision for a more equitable industry, imagined by a collective of multi-generational, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) theatremakers. The foundation they laid forth has sparked a national conversation and motivated deep changes throughout the industry, and we are beyond grateful for their leadership. We take their demands seriously – recognizing our own history as a predominantly white institution – and are actively exploring the actions we can take to create a more equitable and safe space for BIPOC communities. Among other things, we are revisiting our strategic plan to center our organizational progress more squarely around anti-racism; our staff, board, and artists are meeting regularly to discuss the “We See You, White American Theatre” documents and the changes we’d like to see implemented throughout every level of our theatre; and our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Task Force has been formalized as a permanent EDI Committee, to help us better identify, prioritize, and address these issues at ANW (including representation, access, and education). This is an opportunity for us to build a theatre that better represents our entire community, and we thank you for holding us accountable as we strive to make A Noise Within the best it can be.
In the spirit of transparency, we would like to share with you some of the steps we’re taking towards our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion goals; as our plans evolve, we will continue to update this page with more progress. Our intention is to have a full anti-racism action plan in place by the end of 2020 (official announcement set to be released by mid-January as we finalize the plan).
On behalf of the Board, Artists, and Staff of A Noise Within – thank you. We see you, we appreciate you, and we look forward to working with you to create a more inclusive and just society.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Policy
The Policy establishes a framework to identify the roles, responsibilities, and goals of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Program. While the entire organization shares responsibility for the collaborative pursuit of these goals, several areas of the organization have specific responsibilities that support the ongoing implementation, monitoring, review, and reporting of the EDI Policy. Read our policy here.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
ANW’s Board of Directors recognized the need for expanding discussion and action around equity, diversity, and inclusion. The EDI Committee was established and assumed the responsibilities for EDI oversight from the Executive Committee. Learn more about the EDI Committee.