April 28, 2022
Our last update in March 2021 was written about one year after we closed our theatre doors due to COVID. During this time we deeply reflected both individually and as a team how we can better show up as an anti-racist theatre. In the last seven months we have been able to activate many of our commitments and are sharing them with our community below as part of our promise to be transparent. We know that the work does not stop here and there is much more in the plans to be a more inclusive organization going forward.
Artistic & Production
- All artistic endeavors at NCTC continue to uphold our mission, vision, values, anti-racist and nondiscrimination policies. NCTC adheres to the Declaration of Universal Human Rights recognizing that inherent dignity, equality and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world along with the international Yogyakarta Principles that specifies “Human beings of all sexual orientations and gender identities are entitled to full enjoyment of human rights.”
- Continued progress has been made towards achieving a more equitable balance of diversity among NCTC artisans. The 21-22 Season hosts four playwrights of color and three caucasian playwrights. Fourteen of the available roles in these plays went to BIPOC actors, one role cast with a Trans actor, one role cast with a nonbinary actor with the balance of twelve roles played by queer indentitiying and caucasian actors. Season directing assignments were shared by four BIPOC, one multiracial, and one caucasian director. Things are continuing in the right direction but there is certainly always room for improvement.
- The position of Artistic Associate is planned for 2023. Mentorship opportunities continue at NCTC. 35% percent of the staff are early career, 35% mid-career, and 30% balance advanced career.
- The New Voices/New Work Program is currently host to seven commissions. Six for adult audiences and one for young audiences. One completed this season with one diverted to next season as a result of health and safety management due to COVID. Two of the works will be completed and premiere in 2022-2023 and the remaining three are planned between 2023-2025. Four BIPOC writers and three Non BIPOC.
- Prioritized hiring dramaturg and/or cultural consultants to be in the room for culturally specific projects particularly if the director is not of the culture.
- Every NCTC Production begins with a mission overview, the outlining of our EDI and Anti-Racism Commitments, and a review of the company-wide process for reporting problems and the clear response protocol.
- Built post-production review into every process, giving each artist the chance to provide feedback about their experience, which NCTC will use to improve production processes and community culture.
- Supporting new artistic relationships by reducing homogenous design teams and opening space for different creative processes.
- Continue the long-held NCTC tradition of using the transformative power of arts education and live theatre to lead, reflect and inspire. Through our work we model and celebrate the ethos of NCTC’s inherent culture of fairness, inclusiveness, respect and joyfulness.
- Holding conversations with each Director/Musical Director/Choreographer regarding values, diversity, and cultural competency prior to and throughout each casting process.
- Trans and gender non-conforming identifying artists are enthusiastically invited to audition for any role they connect with with sincere consideration.
- NCTC’s Anti-Racist Statement and Values will be readily available to view before the audition date as well as at auditions.
- Set a standard of transparency regarding production team members engaged for all NCTC projects, even if the hiring is still in process by the time of auditions. Known production staff will be listed at the audition table, along with open positions.
- NCTC fosters welcoming, transparent, and efficient auditions by providing a casting process information sheet to everyone involved.
- Consistently share our values and expectation of safety for all with new students and theatre artists.
- Help build connections between students, families and artists in our space to promote inclusion and a sense of belonging.
- Seeking new methods of finding marginalized families in need of scholarships to bridge the equity gap
- Seeking new methods of finding marginalized theatre artists in need of opportunities.
- Carefully consider and actively talk about representation (ethnicity, gender) in casting, both in class work and in productions.
- Continue to explore how YouthAware programs and performances can be rooted in models of transformative and restorative justice practices.
- Reimagine how NCTC Education can incorporate disability justice into our hiring, performance, and storytelling models.
- Continue centering (Q)BIPOC storytelling in our educational shows through play development and representation.
- Commit to hiring and mentoring a diverse teaching staff and develop leadership opportunities for BIPOC artists.
- Offer on-the-job training and opportunities to get less experienced or marginalized artists involved with NCTC.
- Continue developing and sharing transparent hiring practices with clear expectations and language about our policies, including inclusion and anti-racism, and a reporting process.
- Provide anti-racism, anti-bias, and de-escalation resources for NCTC Education artists.
- Model a non-hierarchical culture of feedback as a part of the growth and training of the emerging artists hired by NCTC Education.
- Consistently use confidential feedback forms from students, families, school/community partners and theatre artists to gauge how we’re doing and what we can improve upon.
- We are responsible for creating a safe, vibrant, and welcoming space for guests from when they first visit our website to when they are in the lobby. New signage added to the lobby entry to welcome guests and share our values. NCTC values added to our website and shared opening in e-marketing, social media and show programs.
- Special training at the start of our 21-22 Season for front of house team to understand how to handle any necessary interventions in our lobby and have a set protocol for how these situations are handled.
- We consistenty seek out new organizations that we can partner with so that we can share our mutual work with each other’s organization and especially seek to uplift Queer BIPOC voices. NCTC had eight partnerships total in the 21-22 Season.
- Regularly highlight Queer BIPOC organizations on social media and email.
- Added land acknowledgement to all show programs and strategic plan.
- Created a press toolkit for reviewers to understand the correct terminology to use when writing about our artists.
- When possible, our programs have provided dramaturgy on productions so that all guests can gain a deeper understanding of the productions in our space.
- We will only use imagery of artists on printed collateral that have been on our stage in the past two seasons.
- We will only use images of students on printed collateral from the past four years.
- Our marketing language should not reflect discrimination towards any gender or race.
- Implemented mindful practice of use of language when requesting funds.
- Exploring funding opportunities to create paid internships.
- Provided administrative support for any donation opportunities for BIPOC orgs.
- Cultivate meaningful Board engagement outside of financial support.
- Vigorously pursued special funding, both individual and institutional, to support EDI projects across the organization.
- Recognize that the centralization of wealth & power is overwhelmingly in white persons hands, and that is therefore the main demographic that fundraisers interact with. Examine & dismantle the implications therein, and research issues of racism in fundraising so that audience diversification efforts can be followed up by stewardship efforts that contribute to a community-based environment that welcomes BIPOC into the donor cycle in an authentic manner.
- Background research on funding orgs to ensure they have equity policies and practices.
Management & HR
- Artistic and Executive Directors have met with each ensemble at first rehearsal to review Mission/Vision/Values and Community Commitments.
- Formal and informal protocols for reporting issues have been clarified and shared with incoming staff and artists.
- Salary ranges are now included in job postings. Recruitment postings to job and networking sites have increased by 45% since 2019.
- Staff has been connected with both anti-racism and anti-harassment training. Board training is scheduled for June 2022.
- BIPOC representation on core staff has increased by 10% and on the Board by 15%.
- Intervention training has been focused on Front of House to give them tools to manage potential audience issues.
March 30, 2021
What does it mean to be an anti-racist theatre? That has been a central topic for NCTC’s staff and board in recent months as we analyze all of our current practices and see how we can improve them to be more inclusive to BIPOC communities. As a Queer arts organization it has always been an essential part of NCTC’s values that we support marginalized communities, but we know we can do better and we want to do better.
In an effort to be transparent and share our action items, these are some of the next steps we are taking at the staff level as organized by the department. Please note that this is an evolving document and will continue to develop as we prepare to reopen our doors in the near future.
Artistic & Production
- All artistic endeavors at NCTC shall uphold our mission, vision, values, anti-racist and nondiscrimination policies. Through our work we model and celebrate the ethos of NCTC’s inherent culture of fairness, inclusiveness, respect and joyfulness.
- Create an equitable balance of the work written, directed, performed, taught and designed by BIPOC artisans.
- Expand the New Voices/New Work program and prioritize mentorship opportunities for Queer and BIPOC artisans as the next generation of theatre-makers.
- Produce a mainstage season and variety of educational theatre programs that embrace, support, serve and promote a broad spectrum of Queer and BIPOC experiences.
- Prioritize hiring a dramaturg and/or cultural consultants to be in the room for culturally specific projects particularly if the director is not of the culture.
- Build post-production review into every process, giving each artist the chance to provide feedback about their experience, which NCTC will use to improve production processes and community culture.
- Include an Intimacy Director as part of the production team for projects that involve interactions of affection, abuse, and eroticism.
- Support new artistic relationships by reducing homogenous design teams and opening space for different creative processes.
- Casting Department holds itself accountable to NCTC’s anti-racist values through hiring and storytelling.
- Hold conversations with artistic leadership regarding values, diversity, and cultural competency throughout each casting process to unpack biases around, but not limited to, race, gender, body size, and ableism.
- Be vigilant in centering BIPOC narratives by hiring BIPOC artists for roles including considering BIPOC artists for canonical texts and plays that have been historically cast with white actors.
- Foster welcoming, transparent, and efficient auditions by providing a casting process information sheet to everyone involved, as well as sharing NCTC’s Anti-Racist Statement and Values.
- The Casting Coordinator and Casting Associate will be present throughout each casting process in order to uphold NCTC’s anti-racist values by being curious, collaborative, and focused on equity.
- Continue to commit to centering Queer and BIPOC storytelling in our YouthAware educational shows through play development and hiring.
- Find new ways to create access and resources for school sites to continue building on the complex ideas and conversations that YouthAware programs present.
- Continue to explore how YouthAware’s programs and performances can be more rooted in models of transformative and restorative justice practices.
- Develop specific safety plans and de-escalation protocols for interacting with youth.
- Practice land acknowledgments on tour in order to educate the touring team and audiences about the history of the land their school is settled on and the people that reside there.
- Reimagine how YouthAware can incorporate disability justice into hiring, performance, and storytelling models.
- Expand efforts to welcome more BIPOC students, families and teaching artists into the Conservatory.
- Find new ways to foster and develop BIPOC teaching artists/directors.
- Explore creating affinity social groups and providing space for them to meet.
- Organize events to bring marginalized students (BIPOC, LGBTQ, differently-abled) to see productions for free.
- Continue to carefully consider and actively talk about representation (ethnicity, gender) in casting youth productions.
- Create a safe, vibrant, and welcoming space for all guests from when they first visit our website to when they are in the lobby.
- Train NCTC’s front of house team on how to handle any necessary interventions.
- Seek out new Queer and BIPOC organizations that we can partner with so that we can uplift other voices.
- Make art easily accessible to all by creating a free discount code for BIPOC organizations.
- Be more conscious of appropriate representation for special events including talkbacks and pre-show performances.
- Provide members of the press with the necessary toolkit to understand the correct terminology to use when writing about our artists.
- Playbills will provide appropriate dramaturgy on productions to provide guests with a deeper understanding of productions.
- Use imagery of BIPOC artists who have only been in recent productions on printed collateral.
- Review marketing copy to assure that it is inclusive and non-discriminatory.
- Create mindful practices of use of language when requesting funds.
- Actively support any donation opportunities for BIPOC orgs.
- Cultivate meaningful Board community engagement outside of financial support.
- Acquire special funding, both individual and institutional, to support organizational EDI projects.
- Expand stewardship efforts that contribute to a community-based environment that welcomes BIPOC into the donor cycle in an authentic manner.
- Ensure that potential funding organizations have equity policies and practices in place.
Management & HR
- Oversee NCTC’s anti-racism work on both staff and Board level.
- Ensure institutional transparency on all EDI issues.
- Actively work to expand representation of the Bay Area’s Queer BIPOC community on the Board.
- Budget for ongoing, annual EDI work for NCTC staff.
- Every NCTC Production and New Hire Process will begin with a mission overview, the outlining of our EDI and anti-racism Commitments, and a review of the company-wide process for reporting problems and the clear response protocol.
- Clarify lines of communication and reporting for issues and complaints for NCTC staff, artists, volunteers, students, and guests.
- Expand Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in recruitment of the Queer and BIPOC communities, and persons with disabilities community to better represent the Bay Area’s vibrant and diverse landscape. Will also publicize salary ranges in job postings.
- Provide paid training and internship opportunities for Queer and BIPOC artisans.
- Cultivate a culture of equity that sets up incoming BIPOC staff for success before hiring.
- Develop intervention and disruption protocols for staff and volunteers.
We will continue to share our updates on this page quarterly. Our next iteration of this will also include the NCTC Board of Directors EDI priorities and strategies which are currently in progress. Thank you for taking the time to read this and please reference our staff page if you have any specific questions.
October 29, 2020
For NCTC, the last five months have been a time of activity and introspection around the issue of racial equity in our theatre community, and in our theatrical home. There’s a lot of work ahead, and we look forward to using the guidance provided by both the We See You White American Theatre and the The Living Document to help improve and increase our efforts. Part of our August commitment to the community included providing an update in October on our progress. Here are some of the action items we have undertaken in the last five months:
- Both Staff and Board are engaged in in-depth discussions and strategic planning for our ongoing work as a social and racial justice-oriented theatre organization
- We have increased BIPOC membership on our Board by 20% and are engaged in active recruitment measures to expand our Board with particular emphasis on broader BIPOC and queer spectrum representation
- We drafted a statement of values. Together with our mission and vision, this statement affirms the values important to us as an anti-racist queer-positive institution committed to effecting personal & societal growth, enlightenment and change. This statement is near completion and will be published on our website when done.
- We have implemented an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Statement with consultation from Indigenous stakeholders. For further information on this, please click here.
- We have improved methods to communicate our no tolerance policy for harassment, prejudice, and discrimination to all employees and volunteers in the organization.
- We will be promoting local BIPOC businesses and organizations in our emails, social media and printed programs.
- We have reviewed job posting policies in order to eliminate language that creates barriers such as salary history, and will now include salary ranges.
- We are continuing to expand our queer positive and BIPOC representation in our online education and performances programs.
When we can once again welcome live productions and live audiences into our space, some of our plans include:
- Expanding our pay-what-you-wish performances past previews to include rush tickets before every production in the theatre.
- Expanding our program of offering complimentary tickets or pay-what-you-wish tickets to BIPOC groups, and BIPOC youth/teens.
- Expanding and diversifying our roster of post-show discussion facilitators
- Expanding our opportunities for audiences to engage with the subject matter of the shows, via strategies such as special pre/post show events, program notes and lobby displays
- Balancing our production curation so that it is representative of a fuller spectrum of the queer and allied community each season.
In addition, we are reviewing all of our production processes from casting through the final curtain in order to ensure our theatre is a place that welcomes, empowers and uplifts all who visit and work here.
We acknowledge that this report is only the beginning of our work; many things are still in development. We hold ourselves accountable for this process, and commit to posting further updates in March of 2021.
August 6, 2020
New Conservatory Theatre Center staff and board acknowledge the courage, pain, and wisdom that went into creating both “We See You White American Theatre” and “The Living Document.” We appreciate the thought that went into these documents and the thorough list of actions we can take to become ever more inclusive and equitable.
NCTC is using this call to action to enhance the ongoing work we are doing at the artistic, staff, and board level to be an anti-racist organization. We are holding ourselves accountable so that we may continue to evolve as not only an arts and education institution, but also a voice of the Queer & Allied community that respects, honors, and welcomes all.
This is ongoing work. We will be sharing our progress with our community on a regular basis, and commit to sharing our first progress report by October 2020.