Theatre Bay Area acknowledges the social unrest and racial reckoning occurring throughout the country and the national arts field. We have heard the demands put forth by We See You White American Theatre and the BIPOC Living Doc Equity Action Plan. TBA recognizes the enormous labor taken to develop these tools, and we want to inform our members and our community-at-large that we have reviewed and continue to review these demands and are in the process of becoming an actively anti-racist organization that furthers equity and justice in the Bay Area theatre scene.
Since its founding in 1976, TBA has been, and continues to be, a white-led organization. We know TBA has been and continues to be complicit in harming and excluding BIPOC theatremakers in the Bay Area. As an organization, TBA has upheld oppressive practices and supported racist systems that have been deeply ingrained in American theatre.
At this crucial moment in history, TBA chooses to side with BIPOC theatremakers and audience members and other marginalized populations and calls on our community to join us in making amends and pursuing equitable and just ways to create theatre.
Uploaded on April 1, 2021:
DEVELOPING AN ACTION PLAN
What we have done:
- The TBA staff is primarily composed of self-identified BIPOC theatremakers, although TBA staff leadership remains white and male. TBA’s board is one-third BIPOC with current board president and vice president self-identifying as BIPOC.
- TBA staff has participated in and will continue to do internal EDI education and training.
- We have discussed these demands with our board and gained their participation in creating and implementing an action plan.
- We have adopted a radically inclusive pricing structure for all TBA events, programs, and membership fees to make sure we are accessible to more folx in our community.
- We made our General and Regional Auditions more economically accessible by shifting to digital headshots/resumes.
- We revised the membership intake and profile forms by removing the “playable ethnicities” field and adding fields for “gender identity,” “pronouns,” and “disability identities.”
- TBA has prioritized and continues to prioritize applications from marginalized populations to our grant programs.
- In the past two years, TBA has intentionally loosened eligibility barriers and increased access to the General Auditions lottery.
What we are doing:
- TBA is working to provide opportunities for equity diversity and inclusion training and continuing education for our staff and board members.
- We are continuing to work with a Black anti-racism consultant to help TBA dismantle oppressive policies and operations, build more equitable programming, and create a more equitable organization.
- We are in active discussions with BIPOC candidates for our board, Board members will work with staff on reviewing these demands and developing an action plan for making TBA an actively anti-racist, anti-bias organization.
- We are continuing to make our General and Regional Auditions more accessible by digitizing the entire submission process and creating an online bank of auditions.
- We have begun building a reporting and accountability structure for internal use.We are requiring grantees to uphold TBA’s stated values as part of their funding agreement.
- Our Theatre Services Committee is creating community agreements for the theatre representatives sitting on the committee, including a focus on diversifying the theatres on the committee.
- It is our intention that these internal practices will grow into a structure that TBA staff, individual artists, and the larger theatre community can use to air grievances and that it can be a model for our company members to adopt.
What we will be doing:
- Reevaluate all our operations, programming, and services for unjust and inequitable policies and develop and implement an action plan.
- The TBA Awards program is in urgent need of examination – from the adjudication process to the live celebration – to make the program more equitable.
- Provide anti-racist and anti-bias resources and support for individuals and companies.
- We will be reviewing our board bylaws and requirements for service to make them more accessible.
- We are intentionally recruiting more BIPOC individuals to serve on our board.