STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY
Live Arts stands in solidarity with those who denounce the use of suppression, violence, and systemic racism to silence the voices of Black and Brown people in our community and our nation.
As a predominantly white theater, we acknowledge that we have benefited from systems that have reinforced institutional inequities to the detriment of many Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
We are committed to dismantling the systems, policies, and practices that have perpetuated patterns of injustice. We understand that this requires a collective, sustained effort at every level of Live Arts. We are up to the task.
DEI STRATEGY TEAM
In fall 2020, Live Arts formed a 13-member DEI Strategy Team to inform, challenge, and advise us on how to become a more welcoming, inclusive theater. The hard work of the following individuals is at the core of our ongoing DEI programs and initiatives:
Recommitted to centering under-represented works by women and people of color, an initiative that began in 2018.
Revised our Strategic Plan in early 2021 to explicitly highlight DEI priorities and strategies.
Recruited five new Board members of color in July 2021, bringing our BIPOC representation on the Board to 43%.
Added a standing DEI Committee to our Board in fall 2021. It works on policy and structural changes and ensures that equity informs every Board discussion and decision.
Launched “Project Access” in fall 2021 to reduce barriers to volunteering at Live Arts.
Partnered with The Breath Project, a national network of BIPOC artists and theaters committed to building a more equitable theater community and actively dismantling structural racism in the American Theater. Our first Breath Project collaboration, SILAS, THE UNINVITED by Cincinnati playwright Derek J. Snow, will debut in the 2023 WaterWorks Festival.
Revamped our Employee Handbook in fall 2021 to reflect more equitable hiring and retention practices.
Introduced a Volunteer Bill of Rights to set expectations and protect volunteers from harm. It’s part of a soon to be unveiled Volunteer Handbook.
Reviewed our governance and operating policies through an equity lens as part of a year-long Nonprofit Clinic run by UVA School of Law that wrapped up in May 2021.
Met weekly as a staff, beginning in June 2021, to participate in anti-racist training and discuss DEI articles, books, and podcasts.
Launched an external Equity Audit in fall 2021 in partnership with an outside DEI consultant.
Offered Pay-What-You-Can tickets to most performances throughout the pandemic. This program, launched 25 years ago by Live Arts, is sustained by community partners committed to keeping live theater affordable and accessible.
Institutionalized land acknowledgements to the Monacan Nation and began learning about the people behind those acknowledgements through books, conversations, and field trips.