Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s Anti-Racism Commitment:
A Response to We See You White American Theatre
To the BIPOC theatre community and the organizers of “We See You White American Theatre”:
Thank you–thank you for your work, for your passion, for your guidance, for raising your voices. We hear you.
We acknowledge and recognize that Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, as an historically PWI, has been complicit in and has benefited from a culture of white supremacy, which includes the theatre industry and other cultural systems that have erased, excluded, and harmed BIPOC people. We have been called to a reckoning, which is long past due, and called to action, not just by political activists, but by fellow artists, neighbors, friends, collaborators, and leaders, all in the demand for justice and the dismantling of those racist, discriminatory, oppressive, and anti-Black systems. We pledge to do our part and to work for a culture of racial equity and anti-racism across all parts of our organization and our industry.
We know that this is a necessary, complex, and demanding process, and that we will make mistakes along the way, but we are already on the road, even if we have a long way to go. Thirteen months ago we began a strategic planning process with emphasis on restructuring power, improving communication, and building diversity and inclusion. The BIPOC Demands for White American Theatre have added urgency, clarity, and direction.
We are currently and actively challenging ourselves to: listen better and educate ourselves; recognize our own privilege and the ways we have harmed BIPOC theatermakers and colleagues; hear feedback as truth and to apologize for past inaction; and take definitive steps to change. We know we have so much work to do, but we are committed to this vital transformation and to being held accountable.
So here are our next steps–and certainly not our last steps:
- Remy Bumppo commits to challenging and dismantling all practices in our organization that uphold a culture of white supremacy.
- Remy Bumppo will expand our Core Ensemble from 6 to 12 in the next 18 months, in order to include more diverse voices in season planning and artistic processes. In March 2020 we welcomed three new Core Ensemble members who add to our existing artistic cadre a wealth of experience, insight, vision, and talent. Our Core Ensemble will seek to expand the breadth of work seen on our stages, to prioritize BIPOC voices, and actively empower BIPOC artists.
- The artistic leadership of the theatre will work with all season directors to hire diverse casts and design teams as we work towards race and gender parity in hiring across all aspects of production.
- Remy Bumppo will continue to work with directors, design teams, casts and Actors Equity to create humane rehearsal and tech schedules in acknowledgement of the human and temporal cost of the business of art-making.
- Remy Bumppo pledges to publish annual budgets and artist salaries, to provide transparency and accountability in hiring.
- Remy Bumppo will work for wage parity across all production departments and in all production positions, including assistantships.
- Remy Bumppo will hire a BIPOC HR consultant with EDI qualifications to review all hiring practices, review all employee handbooks and codes of conduct, and provide accountability in the future.
- Remy Bumppo is working to eliminate barriers to access for both live and online content, including expanding current accessibility initiatives and reforming our ticket pricing and policies.
- Remy Bumppo commits to providing ongoing, mandatory EDI and Anti-Racist training for board, staff, and artists within a permanent budget line item. These trainings will include: 1) identifying racist practices in theater and developing understanding for all stakeholders of anti-racist principles; and 2) developing intervention protocols to disrupt harmful speech and actions.
- Remy Bumppo will institute an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Committee with representation from board, staff, and artists. This Committee will conduct an annual organizational anti-racism audit holding all systems and stakeholders accountable.
- Remy Bumppo will include a land acknowledgement in curtain speeches, programs, at board meetings, and other company functions. RBTC also pledges to work with Theater Wit and its resident companies to create land acknowledgements in our shared lobby space and to build sustainable relationships with the land and the Indigenous community.
- And Remy Bumppo’s artists, staff, and board will continue their current reading, discussion, research, and self-education on dismantling racism and working to become an anti-racist organization.
Actions speak louder than any words–even for a theatre company that champions “language.” Our work will be on-going, never complete, and often internal. Despite the current pandemic limitations, we pledge to keep our community informed of our actions as they emerge and evolve.
On behalf of the entire Remy Bumppo Community,
Nick Sandys, Artistic Director
Margaret McCloskey, Executive Director
Richard Skolly, Board President
Learn more: https://www.weseeyouwat.
BLACK LIVES MATTER: REMY BUMPPO STANDS IN SOLIDARITY
FREDERICK DOUGLASS: But there is nowhere in America that I am safe.
FREDERICK: They are killing us! This is not a question of rights. This is life or death for the black man.
From The Agitators by Mat Smart
The board, artists and staff of Remy Bumppo Theatre Company stand in solidarity with those seeking justice and change in the wake of the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others. We are sickened by the plague of racism and the violence that is directed at the Black community, which has been systematically oppressed, targeted, and killed.
As theatremakers, we are tasked with engaging with our society, driving difficult conversations and facing uncomfortable truths. We use storytelling to step into someone else’s shoes, to connect across divisions, to challenge ourselves and our assumptions, to aspire to something better and restore faith in our humanity. And now, more than ever, it is time to take action.
Below we have compiled a list of resources and organizations that support those fighting against injustice.
We support the fight for justice and urge you to join us. We all must fight if anything is going to change.
FREDERICK: We are standing here the two of us who love one another – we are looking at the same thing and yet, we see two different realities.
SUSAN B. ANTHONY: I do not want to believe my city is capable of this. I do not want you to leave. I do not want to lose my friend.
FREDERICK: Do you still believe this can be a country for all?
FREDERICK: Then look at what is before you and try to see what I see.
From The Agitators by Mat Smart
3717 N. Ravenswood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613
1229 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60657
Box Office: 773.975.8150