BTCcolortransparent.png

Letter to the Field

The American Theatre is experiencing an unprecedented shift in executive leadership. This shift creates an opportunity for our national community to dismantle exclusionary hiring practices, at some of our most prominent institutions. Executive leadership in our industry should be more culturally reflective of the world we live in today.  

Black Theatre Commons created a Letter to the Field sent to all theatres with open Artistic and Executive Management positions in October 2017. 

 

Dear Reader;                                                                                        

The American Theatre is at a crossroads of opportunity as over 15 theatre organizations across the country are actively engaged in an executive search for an Artistic Director. We are writing to you as a collective of theatre practitioners made up of individual artists, administrators and theaters from across the nation. Together we represent a vast network of culturally diverse and dedicated professionals whose work helps to sustain the American theatre in many ways. We have been brought together as leaders for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and have committed to dismantling institutionalized racism, sexism, ableism, and all forms of structural barriers in our theaters and across the field.

One of the most effective ways to address these issues is to confront the history of exclusion and the barriers that have prevented many organizations from diversifying their programming, their staffs, their executive leadership, and their boards of trustees. Our goal is to raise awareness.  For far too long, the executive leadership of many theatre organizations has remained predominantly white and male.   There is a large pool of diverse, talented, capable leaders that should be considered as candidates for available leadership roles at your organization. Executive leadership in our industry should be more culturally reflective of the world we live in today.

Pertinent to your current search for a new Artistic Director, we strongly encourage your search committee and/or executive search consultant to assemble a diverse and qualified slate of candidates to be considered for this important role in your organization. Our hope for the field is that executive leadership candidates who are people of color and/or women will be included in the pool of people you consider for in-person interviews. We want to ensure that these qualified candidates are seen by the Boards of Directors and given an equitable process of consideration for positions that will impact your theatre, your audiences, and the field at large.

As practitioners and supporters of the American theatre we are advocating for change, to safeguard the vitality and relevance of culturally diverse theatre in our country.  As a collective, we have access to a vast set of resources and networks to help your organization conduct a targeted search and if needed, assist with strengthening and implementing consistent Equity, Diversity and Inclusion practices.  We are eager to see the outcome of this important transition period for your organization, and wish you the best of luck in your search.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

The Black Theatre Commons

 

BTC Steering Committee

David D. Mitchell
JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell
Gary Anderson
Daniel Bryant
Hana Sharif
Harold Steward
Meredith Suttles

 

BTC Advisory Committee

Akiba Akaba
Ekundayo Bandele
Dr. Shondrika Moss-Bolden
Mica Cole
Kelvin Dinkins Jr.
Nataki Garrett
Al Heartley
Sharifa Johka
Jonathan McCrory
Dafina McMillan
Carmen Morgan
Phaedra Scott
David Stewart
Yolanda Williams

Organizational Supporters

League of Residential Theatres (LORT)

The Black Theatre Network

Arena Stage

The National Cultural Navigation Theatre Project

The Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists

Arena Players, Inc.

Ma-Yi Theater Company

651 ARTS

The Black Theatre Association (BTA),  a Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)

The Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust

Golden Thread Productions

Crowded Fire Theater Company

The Network of Ensemble Theaters

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 

The Lark

Guthrie Theater

The Apollo Theater

ArtEquity
 

Individual Supporters

Katori Hall
Dominique Morrisseau
Joseph Haj
Jiehae Park
Mina Morita
Claudia Alick
Hansol Jung
Shay Wafer
Jacqueline E. Lawton
Donald R. Owens
Mike Lew
Ralph B. Peña
Naveen Bahar Choudhury
D. Wambui Richardson
Mari Andrea Travis,
Dr. Monica White Ndounou
Dr. Donatella Galella
Joi Gresham
Kaja Dunn
Aviva Helena Neff
Dr. Kristin Moriah
Dr. Kellen Hoxworth
Anthem Salgado
Khalid Y. Long
Obehi Janice
Patricia Herrera
Lauren E. Turner
Tara Moses
Dr. Faedra Chatard Carpenter
Rosiland Cauthen
Anna Kull
John Clinton Eisner
Seta Bairamian
Lloyd Suh
Sharrell Luckett
Andrea Hiebler
Alys Holden
Jonathan Shandell
Olivia George
Christopher Reyes
Nijeul X. Porter
Daniel Kaufman
Brian James Polak
Lauren Miller
Molly Ballerstein