NEW YORK CITY: The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the professional union for directors and choreographers, has released a “Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Commitment.” In it, the SDC commits to promoting more equitable hiring practices and creating a diversity and inclusion committee.
“SDC is committed to integrating and aligning its business in a way that ensures issues of diversity and inclusion are at the forefront,” said SDC President Susan H. Schulman said in a statement.
Part of the SDC diversity statement reads, “While SDC acknowledges the American theatre’s longstanding dedication to diversity and inclusion, there remain inequities in hiring. We believe that, despite good intentions, there are biases in place that sometimes inhibit the hiring of qualified directors and choreographers from underrepresented groups. SDC further believes that this lack of opportunity contributes to the inability of these artists to create a sustainable career in the theatre.”
To combat these inequities, the SDC will take a number of action steps, including collecting, analyzing, and sharing data regarding hiring practices in the field for directors and choreographers; creating workshop and training opportunities on inclusion and diversity for SDC membership; making sure diversity, parity, and equity are considerations when nominating candidates for the board and when hiring SDC staff members; and creating a diversity and inclusion committee to oversee SDC’s efforts.
“We need to always keep in mind that we are a union and that employment for our members is at the center of our work,” said diversity and inclusion committee cochair Michael John Garcés, of Cornerstone Theater Company, in a statement. “While some of our members may have influence, many of our members are underrepresented in the field. We are committed to using that influence as well as increasing opportunities for all our members.”
The SDC’s diversity and inclusion committee is cochaired by freelance director Seret Scott and Garcés, and includes 10 SDC members and board members.
The complete statement can be found here.
As a union, the SDC represents more than 2,900 professional American stage directors and choreographers. The announcement comes after a recent survey, where SDC found that nearly 90 percent of it members believed that diversity is important and that the union should dedicate time and resource to promoting it. And 82 percent believed that SDC members should be used as advocates.