We stand together with BIPOC artists

Statement of solidarity, commitments, and actions (updated August 6, 2020)

Premiere Stages at Kean University stands in solidarity with the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) theatre community and commits to actions that will help to combat racism in America and address the injustices that have too long affected and compromised the advancements and contributions of BIPOC artists.

 

Premiere Stages acknowledges the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Elijah McClain, Maurice Gordon and many others as part of a long and shameful history of racist violence in this country.

 

We recognize that we must listen more and impose less to help bring about significant change. We must shed our complacency, reflect on and strengthen our mission, and explore how we may learn and grow in order to achieve racial parity and dismantle systematic racism. We have initiated conversations with artists and organizations who share our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, and their insights continue to be extremely helpful and informative in guiding us toward increased engagement with BIPOC artists and communities.

 

We commit to the following actions

To add a section to our strategic plan that is dedicated to anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. This document will contain specific actions with benchmarks that will be reviewed at weekly staff meetings and quarterly DEIA sessions. These efforts will tie into all of the work we do as we actively address the mechanisms for achieving the prescribed actions and report on their effective implementation.

 

To acknowledge the Unami (Lenape) Delaware lands. We commit to including this acknowledgement of the Delaware tribes in all of our programs, as an announcement at the beginning of our rehearsals, and as a permanent display in our lobby.

 

To acknowledge the enslaved Africans in New Jersey history. We commit to including this acknowledgment of enslaved peoples in New Jersey, the last 16 of whom were freed by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, in all of our programs, as an announcement at the beginning of our rehearsals, and with more information on permanent display in our lobby.

 

To more equitably produce works by writers of color. A core element of our mission is to present professional productions of new plays and New Jersey premieres that are topical, socially relevant and address the issues of equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility, providing contemporary perspectives to New Jersey patrons and artists of all backgrounds. We commit to increasing the percentage of works written by BIPOC artists to be more representative of our surrounding community.

 

To extend equitable hiring to directors, creative teams, teaching artists and production crews of the BIPOC communities. We recognize that collaborators of color are valuable, regardless of whether the play they are contracted for is topically about racial issues.

 

To provide quarterly EDI Training for staff, advisory board members, student interns, and teaching artists, as well as weekly anti-racism meetings for core staff to track our progress on these issues.

 

To engage BIPOC community-based organizations as partners in the development and promotion of issued-oriented and topical works. BIPOC community members will be invited to participate as panelists in post-show Q&A’s, serve as advisors in the creation of dramaturgical lobby displays, and consult on ways on which we can increase awareness of the important themes and messages explored in our plays.

 

To develop culturally sensitive and inclusive curriculums for residences in collaboration with BIPOC teaching artists, and to provide compensation that is appropriate for these contributions. Curricula will encourage the native or preferred language of the participating students.

 

This is a living document. As we continue to engage and collaborate with BIPOC artists and communities, our commitments on this page will expand and evolve.