Diversity and Inclusion

The following statement reflects values and intentions held, practiced, and aspired to by PSF.  This year, we choose to declare these values and intentions in writing.  The following is a draft under review by various constituencies.  We would welcome your input.  Please send your thoughts in an email to engagement@pashakespeare.org.  We have a small staff and may not be able to respond to each suggestion, but please understand that each email will be read and that your input is valued.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's mission statement begins with: “to enrich, inspire, engage, and entertain the widest possible audience with first-rate professional productions…”

“The widest possible audience” is intended and interpreted as plain language. We believe that Shakespeare’s insights into human experience are a gift to all humanity, and our mission is to share this gift with the widest possible audience.

PSF will continue to work to change perceptions and realities that may have a limiting effect on the appeal of and access to attendance for particular groups for all our productions.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival envisions a diverse and inclusive audience, board, staff, and company of artists and craftspersons. PSF endeavors to think broadly and openly about diversity and inclusion in casting, practicing color- and gender-conscious casting that asks open questions about casting possibilities and the stories they can tell.  We believe that most productions meet in the hopefully magical space between the time and values in which a play was written, those of the time-setting of the play, those of the present, and those we might imagine for the future.

This vision is also reflected in Vision 2030: A Patron’s Experience, delivered by Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy at the 2009 PSF strategic planning retreat. Diversity and inclusion goals are also reflected in PSF’s long-term strategic goals.

Commitment to diversity and inclusion is needed. Historic progress notwithstanding, PSF operates in a society and a field where dynamics of bias continue to limit opportunities for certain groups, intentionally or unintentionally. PSF acknowledges that it is a part of that society and that field, and the Festival chooses to engage in and promote ongoing introspection, conversation, education, professional development, partnership, and action.

PSF is committed to diversity and inclusion. To this end, our casts are increasingly diverse, and our goal over time is to make them even more richly diverse and inclusive. Generally, and particularly when we have a large cast on stage, our aim is that the audience sees a world on stage that they recognize as reflecting the richness of the world in which we live. We do not treat the plays as documentaries. We do consider all the information available about historical figures – race, ethnicity, culture, etc. – in casting. With that information, we then decide how a given production will seek to embrace diversity and inclusion in that space where past, present, and imagined future converge.

Initiative and action require resources. The Festival will seek, and seek to deploy, the resources needed to enrich, inspire, engage, and entertain the widest possible audience, en route to fulfilling our vision for a welcoming, intersectional experience for current and future audiences to enjoy world-class professional theatre.