In June 2020, a Call to Action was released to American Theatre Companies. The “We See You W.A.T.” movement demanded necessary change and vision implementation from performing arts institutions across the country. IMPRINT is currently a predominately white institution, and we have made a commitment to pursue meaningful change, to listen to wide and varied perspectives, and provide more inclusive spaces, not just now, but into the future as well. The IMPRINT Management Team has spent the past year dedicated to studying, evaluating, and making plans for lasting change within our institution. Below is a summary of those efforts and our commitment.
Initial Response, Posted June 2020: “As artists, we are in a unique position to incite change and understand our responsibility to step up and stop this cycle of marginalization and violence within our communities. IMPRINT remains committed to being a safe space for artists to work together to create, with intention toward inclusivity and collaboration. We promise to not allow hate to define this critical moment. Be Safe. Be Strong. We Love You. We Fight with You. #BlackLivesMatter”
Summary: Through a one-year period (June 2020-June 2021), IMPRINT dedicated regular meetings, planning sessions, and necessary conversations toward how to provide better spaces for our artists of the Global Majority. It is important to acknowledge this work is not complete, this is only the beginning, and IMPRINT has begun laying a foundation that will be strengthened over the next four years. This preliminary work included:
- Completion of Anti-Racist Theatre Training for the full management team from Nicole Brewer;
- Creation of an Anti-Racist Ethos Statement, Support and Practice plans (see below);
- Creation of a four-year plan of action, inclusive of benchmarks and measures of success;
- Commitment to maintaining and prioritizing a Score-Card for monthly review by the management team and board.
IMPRINT Theatreworks: Anti-Racism Ethos:
To acknowledge and be mindful that racism permeates all industries, including theatre throughout its history, and prioritize IMPRINT’s responsibility to counter those influences through active anti-racist practices focused on inclusivity, accessibility, and representation in our actions, processes, and everything we do. [Approved May 30, 2021]
IMPRINT Theatreworks: Anti-Racism Support and Practice Methods:
In order to provide a holistic and measurable plan, IMPRINT determined the following priorities for support:
- Amplifying voices of the underrepresented through programming and during the creative process;
- Providing a safe and welcoming space for all artists to do the work;
- Holding ourselves accountable through defined protocols;
- Prioritizing inclusion and accessibility – both onstage and off.
IMPRINT intends to maintain a consistent focus on this supporting initiative through the following practices:
Amplifying voices of the underrepresented.
- Ensure conscious programming that is inclusive of non-white, LGBTQIA+, women, and other underproduced voices, especially those of the Global Majority.
- Benchmark: at least 50% inclusive programming for every season.
- Responsible assignment of roles within the creative team.
- Goal: at least 50% of all hired individuals representative of underrepresented communities by the close of the 2024 season
- Responsible casting for all shows.
- Meaning true and honest representation of the role being played as determined by the playwright’s requirements as well as providing opportunities for non-traditional casting that highlights Global Majority members in a conscious, non-tokenizing way.
Providing a safe and welcoming space to do the work.
- Expand representation in all available and necessary resources in order to include all participants.
- Being cognizant of accessibility needs as it pertains to supporting the work. Examples include:
- costumes, hair, and makeup design and application;
- inclusive shades of mics and mic tape;
- inclusive shades of bandaid/bandages in first aid kits;
- lighting design.
- Accessibility of venues and spaces.
- Commitment to producing at ADA compliant spaces;
- Public Transportation Accessibility for hired artists
- Addition of an annual budget item for transportation contingency for those who have limited access to transport.
- Free parking at all venues;
- Filtered Water provided for employees in all spaces;
- Consistent confirmation of Safe and Sanitary Spaces;
- Additional IMPRINT management team and board presence at each performance and during rehearsal process.
- Affordable pricing.
- Increased options for pay-what-you-can performances;
- Implementation of a Scholarship program for educational programming in 2022;
- Designated Comp Pool for those in need.
- Engaging with intimacy/fight coordinators for safety of all;
- Adherence to CDC Guidelines in all spaces;
- CPR and First Aid Certifications (required for the entire team by Jan 2022);
- Anti-Harassment and De-escalation training renewed annually for the IMPRINT Team and Board;
- Supplemental training for SMs and Directors (in all contracts).
- HR Representative voted to Board by January 2022;
- Formalize safety plans for all spaces (alternative exits, outdoor escorts, active shooter response, tornado, power outage, etc).
Holding ourselves accountable through defined protocols.
- Communicating reporting structure with constant reminder in rehearsal process of reporting options
- Informational Transparency between Creative Production Team and IMPRINT Team
- Access to Information
- Annual requirement of further education
- Anti-Racism Training annually
- Anti-Harassment and De-escalation Training
- CPR and First Aid
- TABC Certification required for full management team
- COVID Compliance Training
- Creating and sending anonymous surveys measuring accessibility for performers, production team, and audience after the close of each production
Prioritizing inclusion and accessibility – both onstage and off.
- Audience inclusion/outreach/diversification initiative to be developed by October of 2021, for implementation in January 2022;
- Expansion of Board and Management Team with a goal of 50% Global Majority presence on both teams by January 2024;
- Collaboration with artists of all disciplines;
- Always seek opportunities for Global Majority casting and hiring;
- Active outreach to underutilized/underserved communities;
- Seeking engagement with other companies, organizations, and foundations who can broaden our perspectives.
This list is not all inclusive and is a living document that will be updated continuously as the work continues.
[Last updated: June 25, 2021.]