The Playwrights Realm Value Statement
As a theater based in New York City, The Playwrights Realm is deeply committed to reflecting the full spectrum of humanity through the artists we support, the stories we tell, the staff and Board of the company, and the audiences we reach. As we advance our mission—to nurture the next generation of extraordinary early-career playwrights—we also lift up the voices and communities that have not been fairly represented in the past. Our open submission policies, hiring practices, ticket pricing, and inclusive programming all strive to make The Playwrights Realm a welcoming space for all because we believe that art is better when more people participate.
We recognize our organization is not immune to systems of exclusion and oppression. Many individuals in our community face practical barriers, oppressive experiences and systemic power imbalances related to race/ethnicity, ability, age, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, immigration status, or other ways of identifying. Since The Playwrights Realm is a reflection of the society in which we live, these issues inevitably exist within our organization as well.
We are committed to fighting oppression and breaking down prejudices and barriers of all kinds, but we believe racial and gender discrimination in America are the biggest barriers to an equitable and inclusive world. We are proud of our record of supporting female artists and have also begun to work further on engaging with trans and genderqueer communities. Therefore most of our current efforts focus on furthering racial equity within the theater landscape.
We will do the hard work to openly and honestly engage with these systemic issues as we work to dismantle the racist and oppressive structures that have created these inequities—in other words, we seek to be an equitable, inclusive, anti-oppressive, and anti-racist organization.
- Articulate measurable goals and steps to achieve them
- Collect data in order to track our progress
- Be transparent about how we are doing
Our overarching goal over the next five years—by the 2022-23 season—is to bring all parts of The Playwrights Realm community into alignment with the diversity of New York City, where we are based.
Steps We're Taking
- Starting in our 2017-18 season, The Realm began collecting optional self-reported data on gender identity, race/ethnicity, age, and disability status from artists in readings and productions (including playwrights, directors, actors, designers, and stage managers). We had already been collecting this data from audience members in public readings and productions (via surveys). This season we will expand this collection to board members and staff.
- We are committed to representing the depth and variety of the world on our stages, both in the stories we tell and the actors who tell them. We try to be mindful of these priorities in all our work but we have made two specific commitments to try to advance them in the assembling of our creative teams:
- We do not believe in “colorblind casting”, instead we proactively work with the playwrights and directors to think broadly about the casting pool—for instance: not assuming that every role that doesn’t specify race should be cast with a white actor. We aim to create an inclusive cast while still honoring the author’s intentions and the vision of the creative team.
- We are committed to not having any all-male or all-white design teams for productions. Furthermore, by encouraging directors to meet and consider designers that they have not worked with before and having women and people of color considered for every design role, we hope to expand our artists’ networks.
- We are committed to tracking the representation of individuals in gatekeeper roles within the organization. Since our paid industry script readers review our open submission processes, they serve as initial gatekeepers for the writers. We make sure script decisions are reviewed thoroughly and try to take cultural perspective into account, but most importantly, we are making it a priority to increase our readers racial and ethnic diversity until this and all the gatekeeping bodies in our organization are representative of our community.
- For every advertised part-time and full-time positions in the office, there will be at least one qualified finalist interviewee who is a person of color. If no such candidate(s) make it into the final round, the search will remain open.
There are several other important areas of equity that we are not explicitly addressing here. We don't believe that we can effectively take on everything at once but we are committed to continuing to think about areas of identity such as disability and genderqueerness and parts of our constituency like our Board and audience in order to develop goals and benchmarks for these in upcoming seasons.
We do not claim to know everything; These are complicated issues and this is an ongoing process. We hope to continue to engage with the community at large about our efforts and what we can do better. This statement will be updated periodically. If you have suggestions, questions, or comments, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracking How We’re Doing
Since the 2013-14 season, we have collected self-reported gender, race/ethnicity disability status, and age data from our production audiences through surveys. As of our 2017-18 season, we expanded that to also include reading audiences. In addition, we have always compiled informal figures on our production and reading artists (based on our knowledge of the field) and as of our 2017-18 season, we have started collecting self-reported data for the artists we employ in readings and productions. We next plan to expand that collection of self-reported data to our staff and Board.
We will be posting these numbers by the end of the year.
This document is updated as of September 2018.