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BIPOC movement..Backstage IATSE local 1? Musicians 802? Stage managers? etc

massofmen
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I don't see anything about the backstage issue with diversity on there. I've not been to a lot of backstages on broadway but i do (did) hang out at stage doors and never once saw a BIPOC there coming out after the show. Seemed to only be older white men (and from what I hear, their cousins, and son's)..also VERY few if any women on backstage crews. Are there a lot of women as heads of carpenters, electricians, Props, Fly etc? Or do people not care about women in a predominantly man industry? There is so much talk about BIPOC on the creative side but I didn't hear/see  a word about any other part of the theatrical process. 

Did anyone see anything about the LOCAL 1 BACKSTAGE in  the BIPOC manifesto? 

Or how about the musicians union 802? Or the stage managers, or wardrobe etc....Are there a lot of BIPOC stage managers on Broadway? 


Why does the movement  ONLY seem to be concerned with the creatives or the people they can see on stage? Unless of course I didn't see those other parts of the industry in the manifesto. 
 

Updated On: 8/9/20 at 08:49 AM
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Tag
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I found THIS episode of Stars in the House interesting and relevant to your post.  Worth watching!

But yes, the diversity issue in theater is off-stage, not onstage.

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massofmen said: "I don't see anything about the backstage issue with diversity on there.I've not been to a lot of backstages on broadway but i do (did) hang out at stage doors and never once saw a BIPOC there coming out after the show. Seemed to only be older white men (and from what I hear, their cousins, and son's)..also VERY few if any women on backstage crews. Are there a lot of women as heads of carpenters, electricians, Props, Fly etc? Or do people not care about women in a predominantly man industry? There is so much talk about BIPOC on the creative side but I didn't hear/see a word about any other part of the theatrical process.

Did anyone see anything about the LOCAL 1 BACKSTAGE in the BIPOC manifesto?

Or how about the musicians union 802? Or the stage managers, or wardrobe etc....Are there a lot of BIPOC stage managers on Broadway?


Why does the movementONLY seem to be concerned with the creatives or the people they can see on stage? Unless of course I didn't see those other parts of the industryin the manifesto.

"

My guess is that you haven't read the WeSeeYoyWAT manifesto. It addresses this, specifically to "divest" from IATSE.

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HeyMrMusic
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Diversity is a problem among musicians and music departments as well. Even just looking at Broadway MDs and conductors, how diverse is the field? The answer is not very. Pits are very white and male. Music supervisors and orchestrators are mostly white and male. List goes on. Same people get the same jobs.
thedrybandit
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itsjustmejonhotmailcom said: "My guess is that you haven't read the WeSeeYoyWAT manifesto. It addresses this, specifically to "divest" from IATSE."

So what exactly does that entail according to the referenced article?

thedrybandit
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HogansHero said: "thedrybandit said: "So what exactly does that entail according to the referenced article?"

Is there some reason you need someone to tell you what an article says that you could just as easily read for yourself. If English is not your native tongue, Google Translate does a nice job.
"

Is there some reason you need to be condescending, Hogan? Do you need me to tell you what this article says?

I've read it, and I asked my question poorly, but there's no need to be condescending.

I'll expand on clarify my question. How exactly does the manifesto see their demands for IATSE going? For example, they want to divest from IATSE unless IATSE builds their BIPOC membership to at least 50% of total membership within five years, but that could be impossible without screwing over current apprentices and people currently on the organizational lists (A good amount of whom are BIPOC). If they want to demand that IATSE publish a plan to build toward that goal, that's totally fair, but how can it be complete within five years? The apprentice programs (2-3 years) and time needed to work your way into the unions (3 years minimum), particularly Local 1 since that's what's being called out in the post, are all ways to make sure that those with union membership are competent and good at their jobs. Those can't be skipped or rushed when crew members are responsible for building everything safely.

 

Hiring practices can and should be addressed, including giving proper anti-racist training and the anti-nepotism practices they request, as well as implementing and enforcing anti-racist policies throughout IATSE jurisdiction. I'm not against their goals, I just want to know how they expect it to be done in the time-frame given.

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HogansHero
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I took your post to mean that you wanted someone to read it and prepare a precis for you. I think we both now realize that that was not what you meant and, hopefully, that I was not unreasonable in reading it as I did. Unfortunately, around here, there are routinely posters who ask for others to do their work for them. I'm sorry I mistook you for one of the lazy ones. I am happy to apologize for judging too quickly. In that context, I hope you can see that I was not being condescending (which evokes superiority or patronization) but just annoyed. Anyway, hopefully water under the bridge. 

On the merits, I think you makes good points. The issue is not whether to do something but on what timetable. Being mindful of the need to bring pressure to bear on the powers that be to get this done asap (and to keep the pressure there), five years may be more appropriate to show concrete action moving toward the goal rather than fully achieving the ultimate goal. There are, presumably, areas that require less time to reach the goal than others, and aspects of the processes that can show marked and material change well within the five year time frame. Obviously neither one of us speaks for those articulating the demands and what would be nice would be to hear what we might have missed. 

thedrybandit
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Fair enough, I always like seeing your name on something, and the tone just caught me off-guard coming from you. Cheers.

 

And I don't have much to add past what you said in your second paragraph, I'm in full agreement. Thanks for articulating that, hopefully someone involved with making these demands happens upon this and can add on to it, or have a discussion. Change is great, I just want to know that those who are publishing their demands understand what they're asking others to undertake. It's a huge undertaking, and hopefully they can help move it along and contribute.

Theater3232
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We should always strive to have a diverse mix of people hired.

But how would a job description read? Would it mention race in the job description?  Would someone not hired due to race file a federal lawsuit and win?  In training we just took at work, a few white people said they were the victims of discrimination and were told they were not given a promotion since they were white. From the EEOC website: "Race discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race." 

Our goal should be a diverse workforce without discrimination.

broadwayguy2
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This is a very, very rabbit hole and the We See You WAT document is INCREDIBLY dense and, frankly, I don't feel comfortable commenting on it on this message board for a whole host of reasons as a white man working in theatre.

I will comment on the question in that yes, there is a LOT of movement and talk and a a massive amount of resources on the subjects. It doesn't get much play here because Stage Managers, Stagehands, and Musicians, union membership* aside aren't the recognized FACES that posters on this board gravitate toward and are curious about. THAT is a bit problematic too.

I can definitely tell you that there are working groups of stage managers examining this issue within the SM community. We are ABSOLUTELY blessed with some brilliant stage managers of color to look to, but how many people here know their names? Lisa Dawn Cave, Beverly Jenkins, Cody Renard Richard, Narda Alcorn? Can you tell me much about them? Likely not. To quote a play, "attention must be paid". 

In that, discussing Stage Managers, Musicians, and Crew are wildly different conversations, each worth having and necessary to have, but wildly different in addressing the subject of HOW employment comes about - the paths to employment, the numbers of people employed, and the fact that sometimes musicians have to be cast like actors because they appear on stage and occasionally, some stage managers have to understudy.

 

FINAL NOTE: I think the phrasing of the initial post is problematic and off putting to me because you are conflating crew members and musicians with their union status while not doing that with stage managers. It feels unintentionally dismissive.

Updated On: 8/10/20 at 02:42 PM
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uncageg
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Tag said: "I found THIS episode of Stars in the House interesting and relevant to your post. Worth watching!

But yes, the diversity issue in theater is off-stage, not onstage.
"

Thank you for posting this. I missed this one and it is an excellent discussion. Watching it now.

Just give the world Love.
broadwayguy2
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uncageg said: "Tag said: "I found THIS episode of Stars in the House interesting and relevant to your post. Worth watching!

But yes, the diversity issue in theater is off-stage, not onstage.
"

Thank you for posting this. I missed this one and it is an excellent discussion. Watching it now.
"

For those following the thread, I would like to note that the linked episode of Stars in the House includes one of the BIPOC Stage Manages I mentioned above - Beverly Jenkins, Production Stage Manager of Hadestown.

KKeller6
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Divesting from IATSE would be ridiculously stupid. In the 35 years I've been involved, women and POC have come a long way and many hold positions of power. In turn, more opportunities have opened up for those same people and they have even more access to good salaries, good healthcare, and a good retirement plan. Taking that away seems completely short sighted. The producers would be thrilled. 

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KKeller6 said: "Divesting from IATSE would be ridiculously stupid. In the 35 years I've been involved, women and POC have come a long way and many holdpositions of power. In turn, more opportunities have opened up for those same people and they have even more access to good salaries, good healthcare, and a good retirement plan. Taking that away seems completely short sighted. The producers would be thrilled."

I agree that divesting from IATSE isn't feasible for a number of reasons. But saying that many women and POC hold positions of power there is laughable. The national leadership team has one person of color out of 25. Local 1 doesn't post photos or even names other the local leadership on their website, but I have a hunch it's not much better.

https://www.iatse.net/about-ia/leadership

broadwayguy2
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itsjustmejonhotmailcom said: "KKeller6 said: "Divesting from IATSE would be ridiculously stupid. In the 35 years I've been involved, women and POC have come a long way and many holdpositions of power. In turn, more opportunities have opened up for those same people and they have even more access to good salaries, good healthcare, and a good retirement plan. Taking that away seems completely short sighted. The producers would be thrilled."

I agree that divesting from IATSE isn't feasible for a number of reasons. But saying that many women and POC hold positions of power there is laughable. The national leadership team has one person of colorout of 25. Local 1 doesn't post photos or even names other the local leadership on their website, but I have a hunch it's not much better.

https://www.iatse.net/about-ia/leadership
"

Yeah... Not to be crass or base, but let's be VERY honest.

Talking about the Hair / Make Up and Wardrobe Department is ONE story.  

Talking about Carpentry, Electrics, Sound, Flymen, Props, etc... You are in a WHOLE different realm.. A WHOE different realm.

You can REALLY tell who is there because they love the craft of live theatre and who is there because is it just a job with a livable wage and often the family trade and they can sometimes look sideways at the actors and hair and wardrobe teams and you swear you have walked into a Trump Rally.

To be fair, I have worked with many wonderful folk in ALL departments, BUT.. yes. You will really notice that women, LGBTQ+ ,and BIPOC tend to gravitate toward one another among the crew because there tends to be relief that you've found someone else who isn't a cis straight white man (who just might love Trump).

KKeller6
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Saying it's laughable means you don't realize how many department heads in Local 1 are now women and people of color. And since 35 years ago, the answer was probably "very few, if any" we've come a long way. And it's continually getting better. In addition to women and POC in other positions as well. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Like I explained, these opportunities lead to more jobs and better opportunities for others. Let's keep going in the right direction. There is nothing more important in this entire conversation than good paying jobs for all people. Local 1 is doing a pretty good job on that area, and continues to move forward.

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KKeller6 said: "Saying it's laughable means you don't realize how many department heads in Local 1 are now women and people of color. And since 35 years ago, the answer was probably "very few, if any" we've come a long way. And it's continually getting better. In addition to women and POC in other positions as well. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Like I explained, these opportunities lead to more jobs and better opportunities for others. Let's keep going in the right direction. There is nothing more important in this entire conversation than good paying jobs for all people. Local 1 is doing a pretty good job on that area, and continues to move forward."

How many department heads in local one are female or people of color? And how many department heads are there in total? I think it's unacceptable that only 1/25th of their national leadership is BIPOC. What is the ratio for local leadership?

Sampatches
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Off of top of my head from the 12 theatres I’ve worked at only two have had women (and one was a WOC)  in full time Local 1 house positions. The Helen Hayes and The Golden.

A few shows I’ve done have had women on the crew under production contracts where the show itself hires them but they’re not the department heads (other than Local 764 - Wardrobe and Local 798 - HMU who don’t have permanent house positions like Local 1)

Updated On: 8/13/20 at 08:20 AM
KKeller6
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The Booth. Longacre, Golden, Imperial. Circle, Kerr, Ambassador, Winter Garden,  Belasco,  and Lyceum all have women and/or POC as heads. And 3 women recently retired from the Schoenfeld and Broadhurst and Imperial. Some of these theatres have more than one.  I'm sure I'm missing a few.  And just a note, I didn't say it was perfect, just moving in the right direction. Local 1 has many other venues outside of Broadway that I'm just not familiar enough with to know. 

Updated On: 8/13/20 at 09:33 AM
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It is beyond silly to suggest that there is meaningful racial diversity in Local 1, at any level. 

KKeller6
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the list I posted seems pretty meaningful. It seems to suggest a willingness to change. I think that in itself is extremely meaningful.
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Unless they took over for Stewart after he retired as head electrician Circle in the Square does not have any women or BIPOC in house positions.

Updated On: 8/14/20 at 11:50 AM
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KKeller6 said: "the list I posted seems pretty meaningful. It seems to suggest a willingness to change. I think that in itself is extremely meaningful."

Your list is (at least) almost entirely about women, which is great, but the subject at hand is BIPOC. I think if you can tell us how many black lives matter to Local 1 we will have this subject illuminated in a way you seem bent on obscuring. To quote myself, "[i]t is beyond silly to suggest that there is meaningful racial diversity in Local 1, at any level."

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KKeller6 said: "the list I posted seems pretty meaningful. It seems to suggest a willingness to change. I think that in itself is extremely meaningful."

Your list isn't meaningful unless you also tell us how many women are in Local 1. Are there 7 women out of 50? Or 7 women out of 600? 

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They don’t have their numbers listed but my guess would be at least 2500-3000 members, as it encompasses lights, sound, video, scenery rigging and special effects.

I’m basing this higher number off of my own union, 764 having 1400 members and just being one department.

It’s not a good ratio.

Each theatre is going to have at least a house props, electrics and carpenter that is a full time staff member and works on every show. So that right there is around 123 positions out of the 41 Broadway theatres. And then depending on the size and needs of the show more will be hired on production contract.

 

I know farther out in the Bronx at venues like Lehman College there is a majority BIPOC house crew

Updated On: 8/13/20 at 01:36 PM