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Stage Left Theatre is proud of its long history of multi-racial leadership, artists, and content. At the same time Stage Left Theatre embraces the challenge to use the performing arts to motivate anti-racist change in our culture through our business practices and in the content we present to the public.  


Anti-Racism Statement
and Commitments

Most recent update to statement made July 5, 2021

As a theatre company devoted to raising the level of debate on difficult social and political issues, we see anti-racism as one that needs further engagement, both within the theater company and with our audiences. We are committed to reimagining our theatrical community, and doing the work to make ourselves and our community active anti-racists fighting for justice.

Stage Left in this time of reckoning with white supremacy realizes there is still more work to be done. Thriving in the theatrical world is difficult enough without the constant oppression of racism; we pledge to do better as an organization to thoughtfully engage and examine the ways we can foster the work of BIPOC artists at all levels within the company. 

Though we don’t have the resources of the larger theater companies, we are committed to the work of making our community a space where all artists can thrive. We are committed to maintaining and increasing people of color to our board and within our decision-making structure; we are committed to adding more perspectives to the stories we tell on stage. 

One of the values of being an engaged artist is to continually question our place in the world and the society and culture that is around us; Stage Left commits to the ongoing education, learning and growth that will incorporate diversity and inclusivity in our ways of doing business and art. 

In response to the vitally important demands made by “We  See You White American Theatre Demands,” Stage Left Theatre commits itself to the following action items in pursuit of our anti-racist strategy:

  • Add Land Acknowledgements to our website, lobby, programs, first rehearsal and first day of tech, and other measures to amplify and honor Indigenous people.

  • During the contracting and orientation of new personnel for any production or position, Stage Left Management will review the anti-racist expectations of work done with, for, and by all personnel. 

  • Eliminate 10 out of 12s and provide space during rehearsals for artists who are parents and may need to attend to nursing breaks or child care responsibilities. .

  • Eliminate 6-day rehearsal week.

  • Pay artists for performing at benefits and fundraising events.

  • Pay playwrights for work during rehearsals, workshops, and readings.

  • Stage Left will be transparent with all hired artists about production budgets, revealing how their payment relates to other artists and priorities within the company's budget.  

  • Invest in BIPOC leaders and their training.

  • Produce and amplify more voices from Black artists and artists of color in our mainstage programming.

  • Increase representation in governance; to hire more Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and other underrepresented communities in staff and artistic positions.

  • Further invest in our community service and arts education in under-resourced schools and neighborhoods.

  • Deepen our public discussions and forums, providing pathways and opportunities for change.

  • Provide space and care for our Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and other underrepresented artists and patrons.

  • We will increase representation of BIPOC and historically marginalized artists among our Ensemble and Artistic Associates.

  • We will apply a rigorous anti-racist lens to new work development and our play selection process.

  • We will have equitable representation of BIPOC and historically marginalized persons on our casting team and in the room at auditions.

  • Casting calls will offer a safe, inclusive and anti-racist environment for BIPOC and historically marginalized artists, and our breakdowns will be written and edited with an eye and ear toward upholding anti-racism, equity, and inclusion, and avoiding thoughtless triggers.

  • Actors and creative team will receive the compiled list of confirmed artists involved in the production at the time they are offered a role/job.

  • We will prioritize hiring dramaturgs/cultural consultants for culturally specific shows, especially if the director is not of the culture and also hire trained intimacy designers when intimacy is required for a performance. 

  • We will envision and apply an approach to all communications and visuals that is inclusive and culturally sensitive and avoids resorting to a White, Eurocentric voice.

  • We will examine our approach to the audience in order to ensure, over time, that the rooms we play to more accurately reflect the City of Chicago, and that all persons entering those rooms feel welcome and included.

  • We will diversify our dealings with the press in order to decentralize the distribution of our marketing communications and invite a wider array of communities in.

  • We will apply an anti-racist voice and culturally competent lens to all communications and visuals in connection with all fundraising activities.

  • We will identify funding to support anti-racism activities and ask ensemble members to commit annually to anti-racist activtites.

  • We will maintain a zero-tolerance policy for accepting donation dollars from individuals or companies which knowingly uphold racism or racist practices.

  • Undergo an annual, organizational audit in which these policies are reviewed and revisions made in accordance with new insights, feedback, and discoveries on how the organization can better serve the work of anti-racism.

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