Allyship in Action: Fall Recap
The relationship between a theater and its community is a true measurement of that theater’s success. The more inclusive and expansive we can make our theater in terms of its programming and access, the better we can ensure our longevity for years to come, especially in a city as rich in culture and diversity as ours. It is the reason why we have placed such an additional emphasis on inclusive practices this year. Not to say that we were in a terrible place before, luckily through our work as a collective we have a strong reputation, but as the thinking goes, an organization with the national reputation as ours, should never rest on its laurels and can always do more.
Below are some of our accomplishments in the area of diversity, inclusion, and engagement that we can take pride in and know that we are progressing forward to set a standard for our theater that others will measure themselves by:
- Post-Election Open Dialogue - The upcoming election next week has created an immense amount of tension and discord in our community for months now, if not longer. As a theater that wants to welcome audiences, staff, and Board members from all political sides, because that is the foundation of true inclusion, on November 4th from 2pm – 4pm we will hold an open space via Zoom where our staff can come together as a family and talk, share, or simply listen. Our first open dialogue happened after the 2016 election and we found it to be healthy and helpful space. So, under the spirit of expanding hearts and minds, we look forward to sharing this space together again.
- Allyship/Antibias Training – Designed and led by Maya Lawrence, our allyship training, that has become a mandatory standard for our full and part time staff, cast and crews, and Board members alike, has garnered us citywide attention regarding how important we see this work and sends the message to our community that before we can answer their call for additional action, we must take our first steps internally as an institution. It is our goal that by us doing this work, other theaters on a national scale make it a priority also.
- Hand’s Up: Community Conversations – As so much of our mission and values is connected to building a bridge with our community, this series of conversations that were had over the last 3 weeks, which saw our largest audience at the culminating event last night, have been instrumental in showcasing how art, activism and social change can coincide. While being held over Zoom, every Thursday night in October, we received RSVPs totaling over 600 (!!) people as the conversations tackled various themes from our upcoming production of HANDS UP which will be co-directed by Alexis Woodard and Keith Arthur Bolden. Please take a look at our AJC article on the conversations if you have not already: https://www.ajc.com/life/alliance-theatre-sparks-conversations-about-race-activism/VMPWCUW3FNC2VPMRY4QATNE2E4/
- Compensation of Education program interns – In the area of equitable access, there has been a growing call of compensation for internships. A study in The National Association of Colleges and Employers suggests that not only is the paid internship more beneficial to the organization itself but also the intern’s preparedness for the workforce. This will be a major undertaking for us as a theater but will certainly set us apart on a national scale and will be a major equitable benefit for the theater by providing access to a more diverse pool of candidates for internships due to reduced economic barriers.
- Land Acknowledgements – To connect with our community is not only to connect with our present but is also to connect with our history. As we work to build new engagement partnerships and opportunities, we think it is important from an aspect of inclusion to acknowledge the land that our theater occupies. Moving forward, in the post credits of our streaming productions, and in our rehearsal hall spaces, we will have acknowledgements of the Muscogee Creek Tribe in honor of those who came before and on whose historic land we have the privilege to perform. https://native-land.ca/
For continuous updates on Allyship in Action, visit: alliancetheatre.org/allyship