Tag Archives: diversity and inclusion

#StaffChat: The Jubilee

#StaffChat posts feature issues, articles, and news that the C1 team discusses as part of our weekly all-staff meeting. We’d love to hear your thoughts too — hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!

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This week our staff is examining The Jubilee — an initiative inviting theatres across the country to commit to producing only plays written by women, people of color, LGBTQA individuals, and writers with disabilities during the 2020–21 season.

Here are a few of the articles we’re talking about this week:

In the first HowlRound post, the committee of The Jubilee lays out their vision for the future of American theatre, along with quotes from some of the artists that are involved in the initiative. Aditi Kapil, the Playwright-In-Residence at Mixed Blood Theatre and a former C1 playwright, thinks about the intention of the project like this:

It’s like we’ve all been hanging out at this party and one guy keeps talking and talking, and now it’s 2020 (8:20 p.m. in this metaphor) and we decide that, just for a minute, everyone else is going to say stuff, respond, talk to each other, change the subject, whatever. And that goes on for a minute. And then it’s 2021. How might the conversation have shifted or evolved? And what happens now that we’re all talking? Because that’s generally when the party gets good, right? That’s what I wonder about. A lot.

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The companies that have already taken the Jubilee pledge are listed on HowlRound, but the invitation is still open to anyone who wants to join. Participants are invited to a weekly conference call to talk about how the project is going, but it’s worth noting that no one will be monitoring the companies that sign on or making sure each season fits the project’s goals — Jamie Gahlon explains this idea further in American Theatre:

“Right now, the role of the Jubilee committee is really to help amplify the fact that that institution has made the pledge,” says Jamie Gahlon, senior creative producer of HowlRound and Jubilee committee member. The 39 theatres who have signed on so far “are joining this huge national block party that we are having, more or less,” says Gahlon. “I think the responsibility for following through on the pledge and figuring out specifically what it means to that theatre or that community really falls on the person who has signed on. I don’t think anyone on this committee wants to be policing any of that, we don’t feel like that is our role.”

This announcement has stirred up quite a bit of conversation online, with lots of questions being raised, as well as a fair amount of negative response from people who feel the initiative is exclusionary. In response to criticism Catherine Castellani posted a follow up on HowlRound:

I’ve read responses to Jubilee that actually state that systemic sexism/racism is OK because no one flat out comes out and says No “You People” Allowed. You’re free to say it; that’s your right. But the rest of America is not going away. You get to choose your response to change. You can attack your fellow artists, or you can do something else—something positive and worthwhile.

You don’t have to be an ally. But don’t be an enemy.

We’re going to spend some time talking about a few of the questions raised in response to Jubilee at the upcoming staff meeting. Here’s a few to get us started in advance:

  • – If C1 were to take the Jubilee pledge, how would our 2020/2021 season look different from our usual seasons?
  • – How would theatre in Boston be different if C1 joined Jubilee?
  • – What artists would you want to see produced in a Jubilee year?
  • – Jubilee specifically focus on the identity of playwrights — how do you think that does or does not change the conversation about equity in theatre?

Link Roundup! – 9/25/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Joy Mead’s great article about unconscious bias for American Theatre is a must-read:

Implicit biases can lead us to interpret plays by female and nonwhite writers through the lens of our stereotypes, which can impair our ability to see them accurately. Scientists who study cognition have found that stereotypes prime us with expectations and assumptions, and then confirmation bias motivates us to focus on anything that confirms our preconceptions and overlook the rest.

There are regular examples of this dynamic in theatre. For example, in a recent Boston Globe review of A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them at Company One Theatre, critic Jeffrey Gantz wished the Filipino-American characters’ “culture [was] on display” and complained “it seems odd they have no racial problems at school.” Gantz assumed the playwright’s identity was the most relevant context for his work and looked so hard for the play he expected that he missed the one actually before him. Playwright Mike Lew calls this phenomenon the “anthropological gaze,” noting that it can be a serious obstacle to production.  “How do you distinguish the singularity of your voice when your voice isn’t really being heard to begin with?” Lew asks.

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Speaking of A. Rey Pamatmat, his recent 2amt post is also another good read about representation on stage:

If you’re telling me the only way to preserve an enduring work of art is by performing it in a way that is racist and outdated, then you’re telling me that white supremacy is so central to the work that it’s not an enduring piece of art. Enduring art can be revisited and reconceived to speak to people of a different time and in a different context than the ones in which it was created — you know, it can endure. Frankly, I don’t believe white supremacy is so central to the works of Gilbert and Sullivan or to The Mikado specifically that it’s reworking would mean nothing of value would be left in the show. It could be produced in a way that speaks to the broader audience of people that make up New York theatregoers. The most important thing to preserve in The Mikado is not the fact that it was conceived from ideas of white supremacy in a time and place of unchallenged white supremacy. The important things to preserve are catchy tunes and some poo jokes.

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C1 SPOTLIGHTED IN WBUR’S ARTS FORWARD SERIES

We at Company One Theatre are so grateful to be included in WBUR’s ARTery spotlight, Arts Forward, a series on local artists who are imagining the future in Boston and beyond. We’d like to extend a big thanks to the many individuals who imagine with us and beside us in the hopes to build a more inclusive and creative Boston, as well as the audiences who support our work!

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Link Roundup! – 8/28/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Caleen Sinnette Jennings, left, and Karen Zacarias are two of the playwrights whose works are being presented during the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. (Kirstin Franko)

Caleen Sinnette Jennings, left, and Karen Zacarias are two of the playwrights whose works are being presented during the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. (Kirstin Franko)

The Washington Post has a feature about the upcoming Women’s Voices Theatre Festival in D.C:

That throat-clearing you hear is the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, an unprecedented wave of world premiere plays by women that has already begun to take over Washington’s stages. It’s a coordinated attack on the nagging gender gap that no city has tried before, with 46 theaters offering 52 full productions of new works by women.

“As far as I know,” says festival co-producer Nan Barnett, “there’s never been anything this intensely focused, in this kind of time period, on full productions.”

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Vu Lee’s post on equitable funding on the Nonprofit with Balls blog has some good insight into the funding process and what makes grant applications accessible to organizations of all levels:

For the past few years, everyone has been talking about Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Competency. This is good. But when these things do not actually come with profound changes in systems and processes, they can actually cause more harm. Equity, in particular, has been a shiny new concept adopted by many funders. A basic tenet of equity in our line of work is that the communities that are most affected by societal problems are leading the efforts to address these challenges. And yet, many foundations’ application process is deeply inequitable, leaving behind the people and communities who are most affected by the injustices we as a sector are trying to address.

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Link Roundup! – 4/24/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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The ARTery has details on a report released last week by the city’s office of Diversity, calling for new strategies to diversify the city’s workforce after uncovering some sobering statistics about how gender and race are represented in Boston:

Overall, the report finds the city’s workforce is predominantly white (58 percent) and does not reflect Boston’s diverse population. Hispanics make up 18 percent of the city’s population, but only 11 percent of the city’s workforce while Asians make up 9 percent of the city’s population, but only 4 percent of the city’s workforce, according to the report. However, blacks make up 23 percent of the city’s population and 26 percent of the city’s workforce, according to the report.

But, when it comes to leadership positions (department heads) all minority groups are very much underrepresented, the report found — 74 percent are white, 18 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 3 percent are Asian.

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In his post on the Butts in Seats blog, Joe Patti looks at the Quartz post breaking down the recent Pew Research study stating that kids from different economic backgrounds use social media differently. There are some interesting takeaways for organizations looking to reach young and economically diverse audiences online:

Income and race also often determine whether someone has access to a desktop or tablet computer. In any case, it seems increasingly important to make sure your website design is mobile friendly (h/t Drew McManus) if you want teens to have positive interactions with it as that is increasingly the platform of choice.

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TCG Conference: To the Mountaintop

At the TCG Conference in San Diego this past June, playwright Kristoffer Diaz (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity) gave remarks at the To the Mountaintop plenary. The session dealt with the future of diversity and inclusion in theatre. Read Diaz’s speech here.