Last June, after the killing of George Floyd, a call to action came from theatre artists across the United States and in our own community to foster change in our industry in regard to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) – both on our stages and within our creative teams and administrations. We have taken this call to heart. Since that time, leadership has been looking deeply at our practices, our biases and historical mistakes we have made with open hearts and minds to change. As theatre artists and business leaders, we are fully committed to having not only our stages but our entire organization be a reflection of the beautiful and rich diversity in our society.
We understand that now is the time for transparency about the actions we have been taking to learn, train our teams and make meaningful change across our organization. Our focus is on doing the work, not just talk about the work, but recognize that our larger community wants to hear where we stand, and we want to make our actions clear.
To assist us on this journey we enlisted the guidance of a DEI consultant. To date our consultant has facilitated:
- Assessment and goal setting meetings with senior leadership.
- Training session for senior leadership and managers.
- Meeting with managers without senior leadership present to assess current attitudes, goals and barriers to the work at CDT.
Planned next steps:
- Training and assessment with the Board of the company.
- Creation of staff DEI committee who will work collectively on these efforts including input into the creation of our anti-racism statement and commitments.
- Town-hall style listening sessions with our alumni artists and theater makers to get crucial input on their experiences and perspectives as we prepare to make work together again.
- Policy review and updates with teams across the organization including marketing, hiring and casting processes.
- Full staff training and listening session.
We are committed to working towards a more equitable organization, and building back to a complete and healthy business. When we were forced to close our doors in March of 2020, our production of The Music Man had just had its press night, and we must bring The Music Man back to life as soon as we are able. Not only do we have a responsibility to the 33,000 guests who currently hold tickets, but we also have a responsibility to our cast, musicians, crew and creative teams. As positions open up in this show and for our future productions, we will make decisions based on our new resolve to ensure that our casts and creative teams represent the entire community.
As we become a more equitable and anti-racist organization we will be setting measurable goals and action steps. We will share our progress through email updates and on our website. We ask for your support in this vision for our future.
Michael Brindisi, President
Tamara Kangas Erickson, Vice President
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres