Theatre Artists Launch Initiatives to Promote Industrywide Racial Sensitivity and Accountability

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As the protests against widespread police brutality continue to fuel a larger conversation surrounding race in America, black and non-black theatre artists are stepping forward to create new initiatives and programs to promote greater racial diversity, accountability and sensitivity in the theatre industry.

The social justice group, Broadway Advocacy Coalition, has announced intentions to "create a space and platform that supports and guides us toward the urgency of total liberation." Details on the initiative are forthcoming.

Another of of these is the Theatre Makers of Color Requirements initiative launched by playwrights Keelay Gipson and Stacey Rose. It aims to "generate a list of demands/rules of engagement to hold White spaces accountable for the way they engage Theatre Makers of Color."

A post on their website reads, "Many of us feel a sense of deep betrayal after the lag in response to gross violations to Black bodies around the nation by the illustrious institutions that claim to hold our stories so dear. We are living in revolutionary times. It is time to revolutionize how we create as individuals, and how we engage White spaces should we choose to moving forward. Equity is no longer a request. It's a requirement."

Broadway publicist and producer, Matt Ross, is also joining the effort to eradicate racism in theatrical settings. He is currently mobilizing colleagues to help launch a series of anti-racism workshops in partnership with The People's Institute For Survival and Beyond.

He writes, "It is scary to talk about systemic racism in our field, but it's scarier to consider the possibility of perpetuating it. I put this task on a "To Do" list two years ago and have failed to act on it until now. Anti-racism workshops don't end racist practices, but they can give us the tools and vocabulary we need. I want to be part of a field that is relevant and ethical both as an artistic medium and a workplace. I feel this is owed to people of color and especially right now to Black people in our community and across the country. It will take time and resources and it's scary to commit to in the precarious situation of a shutdown. But if we're going to revive and rebuild, I want to do better."

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