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. Learn more about our EDI Policy and EDI Committee.
ANW Anti-Racism Action Plan
We look forward to providing our next update by September 30th, 2021.
We Commit to:
- Continuing to practice land acknowledgements while we reach out to leaders of the Gabrielino Tongva People (who some call Kizh) to develop an authentic land acknowledgement practice. Land acknowledgement will be honored permanently in the lobby and aloud at each first rehearsal, board meeting, public performance, and other significant events at ANW.
- Continuing to hold hour-long staff EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) meetings 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 EDI training as well as company-wide EDI training. We will include at each first rehearsal a review of ANW’s anti-racism policy.
- Creating a training video to share with volunteer ushers that underscores our values around EDI and anti-racism to ensure all feel welcome and included in our spaces.
- 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.
- June 2021 Update: We completed an anti-racism training for staff, Resident Artists, and Teaching Artists in Spring 2021.
- June 2021 Update: We devoted company resources to create blogs on our website for Latinx Heritage Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pride Month, and Black History Month. The Black History Month blog post included a collaboration with African American marketing consultants Carol Hall and Connie Bass, a former resident of Pasadena; long-time Pasadena resident Alma Stokes; and the Pasadena Museum of History. With the help of those resources, we did a deep dive into Black history in our local community, which we shared on our blog to both celebrate the achievements of Black Pasadenans and acknowledge the historical anti-Black racism that has taken place within our community.
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 BIPOC-centered productions); in addition to centering BIPOC artists in the telling of BIPOC stories.
- Creating Pipelines/Mentorship Opportunities for BIPOC Artists to support consistent and regular hiring of BIPOC artists.
- Hiring intimacy directors with anti-racism training.
- 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.
- June 2021 Update: 70% of scripts in the 2021-2022 season are written by writers who are BIPOC, women and/or queer
- June 2021 Update: ANW produced its inaugural The Show Must Go On Monologue Festival in May 2021, encouraging students to explore texts from a diverse canon of classic and contemporary plays.
- 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.
- 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).
- Continuing to promote and expand reduced-price ticketing for all productions to ensure socio-economic accessibility.
- March 2021 Update: We used limited data collected from prior seasons to analyze demographic breakdown of casts and creative staff; shared the results with staff and EDI Committee to establish benchmarks and indicators of progress/accountability. We will continue exploring more robust data collection and analysis methods for future seasons.
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.
- June 2021 Update: 80% of directors in the 2021-2022 season identify as BIPOC and 60% identify as women.
- June 2021 Update: In Spring 2021 Noise Now produced one virtual event, and 100% of the actors/director/playwright involved identify as BIPOC.
- Ensuring that EDI language is part of the hiring conversation, including when hiring a recruitment firm, making sure ANW communicates its anti-racist theatre lens. We will also make sure prospective employees understand and are accountable to ANW’s EDI values.
- March 2021 Update: We have incorporated questions about experience with EDI/anti-racism practice/approach into the hiring review process.
- March 2021 Update: We began a policy of ensuring majority of finalist candidates for staff positions are BIPOC; results reported to current staff.
- Creating a staff working group to interrupt bias in job descriptions, recruitment, hiring, performance evaluations, and professional development. We will help staff determine career aspirations and help them create long-term plans, investing in their development. 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 hire BIPOC marketing consultants with an equitable budget and schedule for the season’s plays. 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.
- 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 so that BIPOC are not tokenized in any aspect and update materials yearly and maintain circulation of photos, quotes, stats, etc.
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.
- March 2021 Update: We have established a policy for paying artists for non-artistic work.
- March 2021 Update: We have established a policy for paying interns.
- June 2021 Update: We have established a process 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. We will maintain transparency and accountability to this goal by publishing listings of board member affiliations for external inspection.
- March 2021 Update: We are eliminating references to assets/giving potential in board candidate profiles.
- June 2021 Update: We have added four individuals to our Board of Directors, including the addition of two Board seats reserved for members of our Resident Artist company. These new Board members – Randi Tahara, Susan Toler Carr, Veralyn Jones, and Alan Blumenfeld – each bring with them a unique perspective due to their involvement with the community, diverse cultural backgrounds, and wide array of expertise.
- 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.
You can reference our strategic plan here for additional information and more concrete timelines.
Updated Monday, June 28th, 2021
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.