March 26, Update:
We offer this update in support of accountability and transparency. Below you will find the commitments we made back in June 2020, followed by some resources. Since then, our actions have included:
- multi-faceted anti-racism trainings for our staff,
- the formation of both an internal and extended EDI & AR Committee, the latter of which meets weekly towards the development and implementation of an Anti-racism Plan,
- resolutions by our Board, Executive Committee, and Strategic Planning Committees that PSF has no greater strategic priority than EDI & AR,
- the formation and activation of our new Programming Committee that seeks to center EDI-AR considerations in season selection,
- and the selection of a more multi-cultural season this summer, even in a distilled season of offerings, that will feature new voices, new stories, new artists.
With renewed focus and action, our previous efforts to diversify our Board are now gaining greater momentum, and each Board meeting includes discussion, updates, or presentations in support of this work and our growth as an organization. The same is true for our weekly staff meetings. In this stage of our deepening development, these actions are a beginning.
A sampling of near-term anticipated actions includes:
- training for summer seasonal staff and volunteers,
- continued Board and staff diversification,
- inclusion of a land acknowledgement in our curtain speeches and other communications,
- careful selection of, and interrogation of, the texts/scripts we produce (screening for harmful content),
- surveying previous seasonal staff members for their experiences and observations in their time at PSF,
- employing energy and systems to create inclusion and ensuring appropriate working conditions going forward.
Please feel free to check back periodically on our progress, which will also hopefully be evident in your interactions with PSF.
From its founding, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, its leaders, artists, and staff, have held that our purpose as a theatre includes promoting an experience of shared humanity. 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.
Our commitments to action in support of equity, diversity, and inclusion include:
Learn, listen, grow, evolve, share;
Proactively combat racism, conduct ongoing anti-racism training for our staff and other constituencies, and advance anti-racist principles throughout our operations;
Investigate solutions to financial barriers that help keep inequitable systems in place in the not-for-profit sector;
Deepen our commitment to diversifying our staff, Board, artists, and artisans, and support our Black, Brown, Indigenous and other PSF family members who are People of Color;
Deepen the diversity of the voices and stories reflected on our stages, so that our work will better reflect the cultural breadth of our region and our nation.
To these commitments we are accountable, and our actions are on-going.
If every theatre company, arts organization, business, school, agency, etc., in the country commits to creating change, safety, and a sense of shared humanity, imagine the possibilities.
Questions? Observations? We would welcome your input. Please send your thoughts in an email to email@example.com. We have a small staff, even smaller of late, and yet we will endeavor to respond. Each email will be read. Your input is valued.
These lists reflect this moment in the Festival’s learning and evolution. These resources will expand as we continue to put our commitments into action.