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ABOUT US

OUR COMMITMENTS

As of June 14th, 2022

At National Queer Theater, our vision is that we can help cultivate a more just, joyous, and empowered queer community that is celebrated in all corners of society. That through our art and community programs we can create and organize together, working towards a more equitable vision of the world bursting with pride. 

 

But since the earliest days of queer theater in the United States, this work has not only been defined by its celebration of difference and fearlessness in the face of stigma, but also its exclusion and erasure of artists of color and their stories. Transgender, nonbinary, disabled, HIV-positive, and immigrant artists of color have been doubly persecuted in queer theater through institutional and interpersonal oppression and marginalization. 

 

The commitments below were drafted primarily by Founding Artistic Director Adam Odsess-Rubin, have been contributed to by Business Manager yoshi kuroi, were reviewed by the Artistic Collective, and ratified by the Board of Directors. These commitments are intended as a starting point for further discussion and action so we are open to improving them.

 

In order to create a more equitable and anti-racist theater for our staff, artists, volunteers, and audience, we humbly commit to:

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Cultural Competency

  • Acknowledging the ancestral indigenous lands upon which we work and the exclusion, exploitation, and misrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color in our theater industry and communities. We will collaborate with Indigenous-led organizations to create a personal land acknowledgement.

  • Instituting mandatory anti-racism and EDI training annually for staff, board, and core artists, with the goal of making these trainings quarterly by 2025 or sooner.

  • Properly acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of BIPOC artists and arts workers.

  • Creating safe and anti-racist environments for BIPOC audiences, without policing audience responses, and with front of house staff and ushers who have resources and training in anti-racist practices.

  • Building and fostering deep, rich, and sustainable professional relationships with BIPOC artists and arts workers at all levels.

  • Hiring BIPOC Costume Designers with culturally competent practices, or Costume Designers with cultural competency training in their craft, especially when working on predominantly BIPOC shows.

  • Prioritizing the cultural care and feeding of BIPOC artists without paternalism or tokenization.

  • We have hired and intend to continue on a year-round retainer anti-racism and EDI Consultant Dr. Durell Cooper

 

Safe Working Conditions and Equitable Hiring Practices

  • Producing shows with integrity and transparency, with care to nurturing BIPOC artists and arts workers. This includes taking necessary extra time in the rehearsal process to take care of the artists creating the work, and abolishing the industry values and mindset that produces ‘10 out of 12’ workdays.

  • Hiring staff and artists through equitable and transparent processes with a focus on cultivating diverse leadership.

  • Hiring majority BIPOC candidates for executive staff positions and new board seats so that our ‘office’ best reflects the communities we serve.

  • Planning seasons and evaluating scripts and submissions with a majority BIPOC and multicultural, multidisciplinary Artistic Committee made up of playwrights, directors, designers, and actors of different backgrounds.

  • Investing in BIPOC Casting Directors and investing in resources towards authentic casting and casting processes that are empowering for BIPOC actors.

  • Prioritizing BIPOC audience development and access through affordable ticket pricing, community partnerships, and engaging programming.

 

Diverse Artistic and Curatorial Practices

  • Commissioning, hiring, and centering a majority BIPOC playwrights, directors, and designers to reflect the New York City community, including the hiring of cultural consultants and intimacy directors when appropriate, with equitable treatment and compensation.

Transparency, Accountability, and Board Diversity

  • Providing transparency from (and about) our staff and board around policies, procedures, compensation, and relationships, including making our artistic, staff, and board handbook materials publicly available on our website.

  • Publishing summary reports of our annual incomes and expenses on our website showing how dollars are allocated.

  • Providing additional compensation to artists for duties outside of their primary artistic role including: appearances at fundraisers, talkbacks, and marketing support.

  • Recruiting BIPOC candidates for a majority of new board positions until, and beyond, the board is majority BIPOC.

  • Instituting an EDI committee which includes compensated BIPOC artist-members, staff, and board members.

  • Not engaging with police-affiliated security or NYPD given histories of state-sanctioned violence against Black, queer, and trans communities.

  • Investing in climate-friendly vendors and practices. We will recycle scenery and limit paper printing.

  • Supporting BIPOC-led theater companies and organizations through reciprocal, equitable, and sustained partnerships.

  • Upholding accountability and tracking progress on these commitments on a quarterly basis with a full progress report published on our website annually.

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Supporting BIPOC Critics, Teachers, and Students

  • Building meaningful and impactful relationships with BIPOC critics, especially surrounding the criticism of work from BIPOC artists

  • Center BIPOC Teaching Artists and students in all education and community programs, focusing on recruitment/engagement, and accessibility, cultural relevance, and anti-racism as core values.