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An oasis for those who love classic stories. Los Angeles Times

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at ANW

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that A Noise Within is located on the traditional homelands of the Kizh, Tongva, and Gabrielino people. We also recognize their neighbors in the region: the Tataviam and Chumash people. A Noise Within is committed to developing an authentic relationship with this land and its Indigenous inhabitants.


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 EDIA Policy and EDI Committee

ANW Strategic Plan

ANW Demographics Report 2022

ANW EDIA Incident Reporting Portal


ANW Anti-Racism Action Plan

ANW’s Anti-Racism Action Plan was developed by our staff in Fall 2020 and has been updated quarterly since then; it is not a replacement for our company-wide EDIA Policy, but instead seeks to expand upon our staff’s approach to (and work within) that policy. The Action Plan includes both short- and long-term EDIA commitments, some of our progress to-date, and responses to the invaluable vision provided by both “We See You, White American Theatre” and the LA Anti-Racist Theatre Standards. The primary functions of this living document are transparency and accountability; this is an open line of communication from our staff to our community about the actions we’re taking towards these core company values, our planned next steps, and current areas of focus. We are grateful for your support and feedback, and we look forward to providing our next update by April 21, 2023.

CULTURAL COMPETENCY

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 funds (2% of salaries and benefits, or approx. $30,000 in a typical year) for regular 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.
    • October 2022 update: for 2022-23, these trainings will be conducted through a year-long contract with VISIONS, Inc.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • October 2022 Update: The 10/20/22 performance of August Wilson’s Radio Golf  was designated as a Black Out Night. This was a purposeful creation of an environment in which an all Black-identifying audience could experience our production of this play.

 

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.
    • October 2022 Update: We utilize an annual Demographics and EDIA survey – results linked at the bottom of this section – to measure our organization-wide progress from year to year. Of the 92 artists hired for the 2021-22 Redmond Stage season…
      • 49% (45) identify as BIPOC
        • 25% (23) Hispanic or Latinx/o/a/e
        • 13% (12) Black or African American
        • 5% (5) Asian
        • 0% (0) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
        • 0% (0) Native American or Alaska Native
        • 5% (5) Two or more races
      • 27% (25) identify as white
      • 8% (7) declined to state
      • 16% (15) did not respond
  • Creating Pipelines/Mentorship Opportunities to support the consistent and regular hiring of BIPOC artists.
  • 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.
  • 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 LGBTQ+; this reflects our ongoing exploration of what we consider “a classic” and a conscious effort to expand that definition to better 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 LGBTQ+.
  • Encouraging students to explore texts from a diverse canon of classic and contemporary plays through our annual “The Show Must Go On” Monologue Festival.
  • 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.
  • 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 Cienfuegos
      • 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 more equitable template for job listings; an interview format that focuses on hiring through an EDIA lens; an EDIA onboarding process for all new employees, and more.
    • October 2022 Update: For our Marketing Director search, we’ve hired Tom O’Connor Consulting Group, a recruitment firm with a strong commitment to diverse searches.
    • January 2023 Update: For our Managing Director search, we’ve hired Aspen Leadership Group, whose commitment to EDIA in their work can be found at https://www.aspenleadershipgroup.com/diversity-and-inclusion/.
  • 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.
  • Building up our organizational culture so that BIPOC staff’s voices are valued and suggestions are put into action.
  • Recruiting a Board member with HR experience to help guide and advise the hiring process.
  • Continuing to budget stylists and supplies for the proper care for hair and makeup for BIPOC actors and ensuring that both stylists and actors are aware of these resources.
  • Empowering BIPOC artists with the time and agency to create 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 photo circulation policy to help ensure accountability and avoid tokenization:
    • Marketing photos will be limited to artists who have worked with us within the previous three years (unless there is a specific and warranted reason that is sensitive to the artists being featured).
    • Similarly, we will update quotes, stats, and other relevant materials yearly to maintain accurate representation of our work.
  • September 2021 Update: We have eliminated 10 out of 12-hour technical rehearsals and have shifted to 8 out of 10-hour technical 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 all work, including (and especially) work that falls outside of the scope of the initial contract; establishing ongoing review and accountability systems for compensation.
  • 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.
    • From 2020-2024, ANW will at least double BIPOC representation on its Board. We will continue to acknowledge and challenge systemic barriers to building an equitable Board.
      • January 2023 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 4 artists, two of whom are Resident Artists.
  • 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.
  • 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 January 23, 2023

Contact Us


Tuesday, September 15, 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.