In 2017, as part of our Strategic Planning process we identified eight core values for Antaeus. One of these pillars is Inclusivity:
We are committed to creating a welcoming environment and deeper inclusion within our company. Antaeus strives for diversity through Company membership, Board membership, staff, inclusive casting, choice of artistic material, and through our community engagement. We are a space where all voices are heard.
In 2020, we developed an EDI (Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion) Road Map for our Fiscal Year 2020/21 that was based on this statement. This Road Map was shared internally with the Board, Staff, and Company Members of Antaeus for Accountability and Transparency. Below are highlights of our progress from 2020/21, as well as some next steps for our EDI work at Antaeus.
FY 2020/21 HIGHLIGHTS:
- We hosted a series of facilitated EDI conversations for our Company members. We invited BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) members and guest artists to share feedback about their experiences working with Antaeus with an outside trained facilitator in an affinity space. This feedback was then shared anonymously with Antaeus Leadership and the Executive Committee of the Board, and incorporated into the EDI Road Map for FY 2020/21.
- We implemented specific criteria for admitting new members to the Company: Any actor who has been in TWO shows OR ONE show and TWO Antaeus-produced readings moving forward will automatically be offered membership. This past year, we have used our productions and internal readings to work with new artists, especially BIPOC artists.
- We started an internal reading series, Second Wednesdays Conversations, spearheaded by our Membership Committee. Through this program, Company members lead monthly readings of plays, shared with an internal audience, as part of our shared artistic leadership process for considering works for production in our future seasons. Readings were followed by in-depth discussions examining how these narratives speak to contemporary issues and audiences, how to achieve inclusive casting, developing a shared vocabulary on this topic, and ensuring that our EDI values are always reflected on our stage. We hosted an internal two-part series with a facilitator to look at various casting methodologies as a way to further ingrain this shared vocabulary for our Board, Staff, Lab, and Company members.
- To ensure that Antaeus is inclusive for our staff members, we conducted an annual assessment to serve as a benchmark for our work at the staff level. For new positions this past year, we expanded our recruiting to seek out candidates and ensure that our final candidate pools were diverse. We also have expanded professional development opportunities for all staff members, and are requiring that all staff participate in annual anti-racism training.
- We conducted an anonymous survey of the Board of Directors to serve as a benchmark around our EDI work for our Board members. The data from this survey was shared in aggregate form with the entire Board and an EDI Task Force was created. The Task Force created recommendations for the Board to address moving forward including: provide EDI and Anti-Racism training to the Board; eliminate the Board “Give” requirement; developing a Board Orientation process; and adding a specific line item for EDI work to the annual operating budget moving forward.
- We selected two playwrights for our inaugural NEXT Commissions, a new play development initiative for BIPOC playwrights. NEXT Commissions were created to amplify historically underrepresented voices and to broaden the scope of the classical theater canon. Through this program, writers will develop original, full-length works inspired by, or in response to, classic plays, historical events and figures of their choosing. Commissioned writers will receive financial, dramaturgical, and logistical support with the goal of producing these plays in upcoming Antaeus seasons.
- We will be developing an EDI Road Map for FY 2021/22. We have already identified some of our new goals including:
- Our Library serves as the heart and soul of Antaeus. We are planning to launch a major effort to expand and diversify our collection by bringing in more work from writers who are underrepresented by incorporating works from other cultures, as well as works from playwrights who are BIPOC, women, and/or part of the LGBTQA+ community. The first step in this process is a major cataloguing project for which we are currently seeking funding. We are partnering with the City of Glendale Central Library for this project in order to eventually make our collection accessible to our local community.
- Our Board of Directors will be participating in facilitated training in FY 2021/22 with an outside EDI consultant. As part of this training, we will be developing EDI goals and next steps for our Board of Directors.
- Once we are producing plays, we plan to hold an Annual Open Call to serve as a pipeline for our casting of readings and productions. We recognize that our current casting process is a barrier to finding new members and we hope that by opening up our casting process we will be able to meet many wonderful artists we don’t currently know.
- We have developed a Code of Conduct that will be distributed internally, and will also be included in all artist offers moving forward. This Code will include information about how to report any issues so they can be handled in a timely and appropriate manner.