LOS ANGELES: A collective of L.A.-based theatre artists have released the Los Angeles Anti-Racist Theatre Standards with the aim of creating lasting change within L.A. theatre institutions. The full set of standards, emailed to 130 local theatre companies on Sept. 8, can be read at LATheatreStandards.com.
Inspired by We See You White American Theater, the list was created to provide L.A. theatre companies a list of concrete changes they can make to help create more equitable theatrical workplaces. The document asks adherents to “commit to reflecting the various communities of Los Angeles in your programming and honor the cultural specificity of the stories you tell,” and to ensure that “the majority of artists, production team, staff, and board will be BIPOC, with attention paid to intersectional identities such as gender, sexual orientation, disability, and those who are formerly incarcerated/systems-impacted.” It also urges an end to unpaid work and high ticket prices, and recommends that each theatre write and implement specific anti-racism policies.
Adherence will be monitored through BLKLST, a newly formed group that will collect data and manage the public accountability process. The mission of BLKLST is to provide safety and equity for L.A. theatre workers who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color by supporting other anti-racist industry related organizations and people. BLKLST will create a list of Los Angeles theatre companies with stats and commentary that will help artists make informed decisions about where they wish to work.
The standards were drafted by a majority BIPOC, majority female, intersectional, intergenerational collective, including representation from the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized populations. Members of the collective include:
- A’raelle Flynn-Bolden (she/her), actress, chaos facilitator, playwright, BLKLST founding member
- Armando Molina (he/him), artistic director, Company of Angels
- Carene Rose Mekertichyan (she/her), artistic associate for social justice at Independent Shakespeare Co., co-founder of Yerazad Coalition
- Celia Mandela Rivera (she/her), actress, director, educator, artistic associate at Skylight Theatre, BKLST founding member
- Daniel Shoenman (he/him), artistic director of the Inkwell Theater
- Desirée Mee Jung (she/her), actor
- Graham Wetterhahn (he/him), founding artistic director of After Hours Theatre Company
- Herb Hall (he/him), actor, director, educator, member of Victory Theatre Center board of directors
- Kendall Johnson (he/him), associate artistic director of Coin & Ghost
- Michaela Bulkley (she/her), executive director of Unnamed Theatre Project
- Nancy Renee (she/her), co-founder and co-producing director of Towne Street Theatre, actor, director, producer, and
- Rachel Berney Needleman (she/her), director, producer
- Sean Cawelti (he/they), artistic director of Rogue Artists Ensemble
- Tiana Randall-Quant (she/her), actor, writer, certified intimacy captain, BLKLST founding member
- Zach Davidson (he/him), artistic director of Coin & Ghost
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