Land Acknowledgement | PlayMakers’ Anti-Asian American Violence Statement
Re: Nikole Hannah-Jones | Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Resources

At the heart of  PlayMakers  Repertory Company’s mission is the belief that theater  has the power to  transform individuals and entire communities.  There is no more aspirational or urgent a use of that power  than working to dismantle the  systems of oppression, white supremacy, and racism that pervade  American life and consume the American Theatre. PlayMakers continues to assess and evaluate our own practices in order to embed  equitable, antiracist  policies into strategic planning, our mission, and our operations.

PlayMakers  Repertory Company, and those of us who work here, commit to the following:

  • To  work intentionally to create  an antiracist  culture in our  company.
  • To continually educate  ourselves on  the ways in which  we can combat  racism  locally and nationally  as  we  move  to create  an inclusive, diverse, and equitable sense of belonging for every one of our constituents.
  • To demonstrate  our  values through action in our policies, practices, and procedures.

We are grateful  to  Black, Indigenous and People of Color  artists and administrators  within our local community as well as the larger theatrical community across the country for the resources  they’ve  expended, both in time and emotional labor. Their work lays an important foundation  for us  by articulating  some of the harmful practices that must change immediately as  well as  identifying  pathways  for  the  long-term  evolution  that must follow.  In that light, this document is the beginning of a response to the demands for change made by the anti-racist organization #WeSeeYouWhiteAmericanTheater.

As a professional theatre company  embedded in,  and  inextricably linked to  the Department of Dramatic Art  (DDA)  at  the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill,  the path forward  will be  complex and singular.  We will therefore be updating our action items and commitments continuously as  our work  evolves.

We at  PlayMakers  understand our  responsibility not only  to  the artists,  staff,  and audiences  with which  we  engage, but  significantly,  to  the many students  training here for a career in the theater.

We  begin with the  following:

We  commit to engaging all members of our company in this work:

  • In partnership with the  DDA, we began  antiracist  training  with the  Equity Paradigm  in 2020.  We  have  committed  to two years  of training, knowing that at the end of those two years, we will have to  determine  the next steps and not  believe  we are done with the work.
  • We  will  include reflections on antiracist practices as well as access, equity, diversity, and inclusion practices into internal annual  reviews of every company member at  PlayMakers  Repertory Company.
  • We will provide our company access to appropriate facilitators or counselors for those projects that ask Black, Indigenous and People of Color  in our community to dramatize and embody retraumatizing or triggering events.  We will expand this  practice with our 2021/2022 season.
  • We have expanded our Access, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (AEDI) committee substantially to include more representatives from both PlayMakers and the Department of Dramatic Art. The committee has been and will continue to meet on a regular basis to determine how it can best be responsive to the needs of the entire Center for Dramatic Art.
  • We will charge our AEDI committee to actively  investigate how affinity spaces and groups could best  be created and  resourced  for our company, and then support the  changes to our culture needed in order  to make them  possible.
  • In conjunction with the Department of Dramatic Art,  we will continue to  actively curate a widely varied  antiracism and AEDI  resource  page  on our websites available to all staff, faculty, students, and audiences.

We commit to centering this work in our season planning process:

  • We commit  to  50%  or more  of the playwrights represented on our stages  being  Black, Indigenous, People of Color and other diverse or underrepresented populations.
  • We commit  to diversity across the season in the directors and creative teams that we assemble.
  • In order to be more inclusive in the  program  selection process,  and  more responsive to  specific  needs  and/or concerns  that may come up,  we will actively be seeking  and soliciting  feedback from all members of our company on  any  titles being  considered  for our 2021/2022 season  (and onward).

We commit to  applying  this work  to  our relationship with our audiences:

  • We will establish  a land acknowledgment practice that best shares with our audiences the truth of the land on which we exist, at the expense of Indigenous members of our community, past, living, and future. We will have  this  in place  when we return for the  2021/2022 season.
  • We  will  provide  our front of house staff  as well as any other public facing  employees  or  volunteers  with bystander intervention training. We will also  develop disruption protocol for harmful moments.  This practice will begin when we return  for  our 2021/2022 season.
  • We will continue our practice of providing access to appropriate facilitators or counselors for our audiences for those projects that ask Black, Indigenous and People of Color  in our community to witness retraumatizing or triggering events.

We commit to  reexamining  long-held  industry standards of  production processes  by:

  • Adjusting rehearsal and tech hours based on what each project needs, and no longer  assuming that six-day  rehearsal weeks or ten out of twelve rehearsals best serve every project or group of collaborators.
  • Including guest artists in  an internal review  practice for all  productions  and  committing to include reflections on our antiracist and access, equity, diversity, and inclusion practices, without retribution for the feedback offered by  staff, actors, or guest artists.

These are not our first steps, and by no means our last. They are not perfect.  And they are not enough.  But they are steps forward.  We invite you to come back to our website  and our theater  often and monitor our progress. We take our responsibility to this effort seriously and we welcome your involvement and assessment.

Forward into the future,

PlayMakers  Repertory Company
January, 2021

Land Acknowledgement | PlayMakers’ Anti-Asian American Violence Statement
Re: Nikole Hannah-Jones | Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Resources