Equity, Diversity, and

Inclusion Commitment

 

Black Lives Matter. At Orlando Repertory Theatre, we acknowledge the history of racism and oppression that has existed in our field. In 2020, we took the critical steps to engage in a journey of anti-racism/anti-oppression education and action in order to move toward a more inclusive world. Spending time with staff and stakeholders to imagine a more just and inclusive industry is not something that happens in one meeting. Along with other arts organizations, and leaders in the field of theatre with and for youth, we found the following resources, training, and individuals to be our guides and accountability partners. As our community, we ask that you too join us in holding our work and people accountable to a safe and brave space for children to experience anti-racism in everything that we do. We continue to grow and hope that by sharing our journey, we can support the growth of others in the process as well.

EDI Commitment  |  Introduction to Our Journey  |  Leadership Reflections
Our Journey  |  Resources

 

 

Our Anti-racism/Oppression Journey

Why share our journey? We are not experts in this space. We’ve found it incredibly useful to learn from the experts and the other allies doing the work and showing up to tough conversations.

This document was created to navigate the fine line between sharing out what we’re doing in order to state our commitment and lead by example, and at the same time, not perform allyship or pretend a singular statement means our jobs are done.

Thank you for joining. We look forward to learning from you and with you.

Leadership Reflections

Timeline

2020

June/July

  • Staff Book Club – Over the course of the summer, staff met to discuss texts unpacking anti-racism in a virtual book club. We started with How to be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi.
  • Banner – We created a large banner for our billboard, which is located on Mills Ave. It is the busiest street that our theatre sits on. As anticipated, we received supportive and antagonistic responses
  • Community Connections – Boys 2 Men Partnership – In partnership with a previous co-worker, we created space for a local mentorship program called Boys 2 Men, which specifically supports young black men in the community. With COVID safety guidelines in place, we provided space for their regular meetings. This partnership has continued. Find more information here
  • Community Connections – Invited artists to BIPOC TYA/USA Affinity Group. 
  • Staff EDI Training – Orlando REP attended the  Activating Black Artists & Allies for Racial Justice Seminar
  • Staff EDI Training Select staff attended a Black Advocacy Coalition (Broadway-centered) 3 part seminar.  
  • Staff EDI Training – Orlando REP staff attended the Centering Black Leadership Town Hall
  • Donation Orlando REP made a donation to the Next Wave Initiative (Black Theatre Artists). 

August

  • Staff Book Club Continued
  • Staff EDI Training – In August, we attended a 3 Day Seminar held by Central Florida Entertainment Advocacy (CFEA). To learn more about CFEA, visit their website or read their “About” description here: Central Florida Entertainment Advocacy is rooted in our area’s Theatre, Arts and Entertainment Industry. We strive to build an anti-racist and more equitable artistic community in Central Florida. CFEA is intended for ALL who work in theatre, entertainment and the arts. We seek to foster a cohesive community dedicated to the work of making the industry in our region more just. We aim to work together to outline clear expectations for growth and advancement, as well as establish definitive measures for action and accountability.”
  • Community Connections – Met with local activists and artists making work and waves in BIPOC theatre and social justice including: Joy Jackson, learn more about her Initiative and Assessment here and Black Theatre Girl Magic. 
  • Presented “A Kid’s Play About Racism” – In collaboration with 41 other theatres around the country, we shared the play digitally and free to our patrons.

September

  • Staff EDI Training – We attended Florida Professional Theatre Association’s EDI training. 
  • Staff EDI Training – TYA USA Listen, Lead, Learn Series, which included Laying the Groundwork: Talking about Race and Racism in Our Field & Our Communities (Part I) and Laying the Groundwork: Talking about Race and Racism in Our Field & Our Communities (Part II). These resources are still available and for free. 

October

  • Amended Bylaws – Working with our Board of Directors, Orlando REP examined our Bylaws to ensure they are ant-racist and even more accessible in the future. With full Board Approval, we eliminated the Give/Get Financial Obligation to serve on Orlando Repertory Theatre’s Board of Directors, and replaced this commitment with language that is more accessible: “Directors shall be responsible for making, or otherwise obtaining an annual donation to the Orlando Repertory Theatre in an amount meaningful to them.” 
  • Curriculum Development and Inventory – Built new programming that better reflects our BIPOC audiences, which includes 20 new lessons with BIPOC representation from both authors and characters. View lessons
  • Staff EDI Training – Continued the TYA USA Listen, Lead, Learn Series, which included Embedding Antiracism In Theatre Organizations Fieldwide, Building an EDIJ Action Plan for Theatre Organizations, Racism and the Need for Diversity in the Canon of Stories for Children, and Antiracist Casting Practices.

November

  • Board and Leadership EDI Training – Began a four part series with TYA/USA in partnership with Aiko Bethea (RARE Coaching and Consulting), which focused on moving organizations toward a more equitable, diverse and antiracist future.  
  • Staff EDI Training – Continued the TYA USA Listen, Lead, Learn Series, which included Racism as a Public Health Emergency and The Activist Teaching Artist.

December

  • Orange County History Center Ocoee Massacre Exhibit – Staff attended the exhibit and held a reflection session after on voter suppression and systemic racism. Find out more about “Yesterday, This Was Home” here.
  • Staff EDI Training – Continued the TYA USA Listen, Lead, Learn Series, which included Honoring Native Stories and Acknowledging Indigenous Identities in TYA, Decentering Whiteness in Touring & Presenting TYA (Presented in association with IPAY), and Next Steps: Reflection, Action, and Accountability.

2021

 

January

  • Board and Leadership EDI Training – Continued four part series with TYA/USA in partnership with Aiko Bethea (RARE Coaching and Consulting), which focused on moving organizations toward a more equitable, diverse and antiracist future.  
  • Signed the Orlando Economic Development Anti-Racism Pledge
  • Education Content Creation – Responded immediately to the events of January 6, 2021 with resources for teachers and students. Find the guide for talking to young people here.
  • Marketing/Access – Amended and created even more opportunities for access by reimagining our financial aid for Youth Academy Programs.

February

  • Board and Leadership EDI Training – Continued four part series with TYA/USA in partnership with Aiko Bethea (RARE Coaching and Consulting), which focused on moving organizations toward a more equitable, diverse and antiracist future.  
  • Staff EDI Training – Attended Kennedy Center’s Annual Meeting which focused on anti-racism and oppression. Experienced Dr. Bettina Love’s Key Note and Workshop. For more information on Dr. Bettina’s work visit their website here.
  • Signed Signed the TYA/USA Anti-Racism Pledge
  • Staff EDI Meetings – Over the course of 6 meetings (12 hours), Orlando REP Staff examined and discussed the “We See You White American Theatre Document.”
  • Black History Month Social Media Content Creation 
    • During the month of February, Orlando REP collaborated and paid Black artists to author Black History posts for social media with content completely curated by the artists.
    • Orlando REP shared new resources on our blog for story drama with an emphasis on BIPOC narratives.

February Continued

  • Staff EDI Training – Attended Early Childhood Black Lives Matter at School Symposium. Find more information here
  • Research and Development – Attended 29th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair to seek out books by back authors. 
  • Staff EDI Training – Uprooting Racism: An Evolution of Hip Hop and Hip Hop Nation Story. Find more information here.

March

  • Board and Leadership EDI Training – Continued four part series with TYA/USA in partnership with Aiko Bethea (RARE Coaching and Consulting), which focused on moving organizations toward a more equitable, diverse and antiracist future.  
  • Community Connections – Orlando REP met with MAC Boys Entertainment about an incubator program. Orlando REP seeks to develop a new program that supports Black artists in the development of their own non-profit organizations and programming that specifically highlights Black theatre. 
  • Staff EDI Training – Staff had the opportunity to study Black Acting Methods through Anti-Racist Action Bootcamp. 
  • Staff EDI Training – Orlando REP staff worked through the Bystander Intervention Guide from Hollaback! Find the guide and more resources here

April

  • Staff EDI Meetings – Over the course of 3 meetings (6 hours), Orlando REP Staff and UCF TYA graduate students and faculty examined and discussed TYA/USA’s Anti-Racism Guide. Find the free guide here

May

  • Teaching Artist Training – Orlando REP developed new modules related to inclusion and culturally responsive instruction. These modules and training were required for teaching in our 2021 summer season. 
  • Staff EDI Training – Orlando REP staff attended the Mini Summit: Building an Inclusive Community  in which Dr. Tammy Hodo, President of All Things Diverse, guided a conversation and strategic planning session to answer the following questions: What does it mean to build an inclusive community? Where have we been? Where are we going (and how)? Why do we need to be there?