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