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Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Makes Diversity & Inclusion Statement

Stage Directors and Choreographers Society announced the release of a Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Commitment at Monday's semi-annual membership meeting.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee co-chair Seret Scott (freelance director) introduced the Statement, saying, "SDC is proud to take this important first step towards achieving greater diversity, parity, and equity within our industry. Our Statement is aspirational. It does not indicate where we are, but rather where we would like to be. It represents SDC's public, lasting commitment to increasing access, diversity, and inclusion in the American theatre."

The Statement begins as follows:

SDC believes that the American theatre must reflect the great diversity of our nation and affirms its commitment to equitable hiring practices in order to achieve that goal. As the Union that unites, empowers, and protects professional stage directors and choreographers whose work appears on stages across the country, we believe strongly that these values should manifest in the hiring of artists for projects and positions, as well as the representation of our Membership and our staff.

A complete copy of SDC's Statement and accompanying actions can be found here.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee co-chair Michael John Garce?s (Cornerstone Theatre Company) stated, "We need to always keep in mind that we are a Union and that employment for our Members is at the center of our work. While some of our Members may have influence, many of our Members are underrepresented in the field. We are committed to using that influence as well as increasing opportunities for all our Members."

SDC's Statement includes commitments to actions such as:

- Collecting and analyzing data on hiring practices amongst Members to understand and work with employers to promote increased inclusion and diversity.

- Supporting Member Artistic Directors in determining ways in which the Union can prompt more diversity in hiring.

- Creating structured opportunities for the Board and staff to increase awareness of the issues inherent in this work and keep diversity, parity and equity at the forefront of the Union's consideration with regard to Board and staff composition.

SDC President Susan H. Schulman stated, "SDC is committed to integrating and aligning its business in a way that ensures issues of diversity and inclusion are at the forefront."

In a recent survey, SDC found that nearly 90% of the Membership believe that Diversity is important or very important for SDC to dedicate time and resources to, and 82% of the Membership believe that SDC Members have influence that can and should be used to advance diversity.

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed in response to requests from the Membership for SDC to assume a leadership role in the industry with respect to this critical issue. In addition to its co-chairs Seret Scott and Michael John Garce?s, the Committee is composed of esteemed Members and Board members, including Christopher Ashley (La Jolla Playhouse), Karen Azenberg (Pioneer Theatre Company), Donald Byrd (Spectrum Dance Theater), Wendy Goldberg (Eugene O'Neill Theater Center), Joseph Haj (Guthrie Theatre), Mark Lamos (Westport Country Playhouse), Lisa Portes (DePaul University), Seema Sueko (Pasadena Playhouse), Talvin Wilks (Ensemble Studio Theatre), and Chay Yew (Victory Gardens Theater).

Members attended the meeting in-person in New York, as well as online, with directors and choreographers livestreaming from Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, DC and Moscow, among other locations.

SDC is the theatrical union that represents over 2,900 professional stage Directors and Choreographers throughout the United States. Its mission is to foster a national community of professional stage Directors and Choreographers by protecting the rights, health, and livelihoods of all its Members.

SDC has jurisdiction over the employment of Directors and Choreographers working in the following areas: Broadway and National tours, Off-Broadway, ANTC (Association of Non-Profit Theatre Companies, New York City), Resident Theatre (League of Resident Theatres - LORT), Resident summer stock companies (Council of Resident Stock Theatres - CORST/TSS), Dinner Theatre (Dinner Theatre Agreement- DTA), Regional Musical Theatre (RMT), and Outdoor musical stock (OMS).

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