A year ago, Kansas City Actors Theatre released a statement standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, as well as our commitment to a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive theatre in our community.
We made a promise that we would be transparent throughout this process, and in full transparency we would like to share with you the necessary steps that we have taken toward upholding our commitment. Our work towards equitability on all fronts will be enduring, and we continue to have work to do now and for the life of this organization.
- Since last summer, we have added diverse members of our community to three of our four operational committees, as well as four of our ad hoc committees, and we are actively pursuing inclusive representation across the entire organization. The primary operational work of KCAT is strategized and executed at these committee levels, and KCAT leadership rises from these committee participants.
- KCAT has added diverse members to its Board of Directors. The Board provides final approval on key committee actions and decisions.
- In addition to adding diverse members to our individual committees, as of this summer KCAT has created a new committee whose focus will be to review past, present, and future developments through the lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion. This includes, but is not limited to safe workspaces, a safe community, as well as developing strategies to give underrepresented artists pathways to leadership in our community by lifting their voices.
- KCAT has reviewed and updated our mission statement and values to align with our goal to be a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive theatre in our community.
- This January, KCAT launched its first ever Amplify: Young Writers Contest in conjunction with our first season of Kansas City Actors Radio Theatre. Amplify was created to establish a program for young underrepresented writers in Kansas City to tell their original stories and support the brilliant talent that Kansas City produces. We intend to continue this program.
- Since the start of our brand-new Kansas City Actors Radio Theatre, we have employed the talents of countless directors, writers, and actors from our diverse community. As we return to our stages this year, we are committed to diversity of storytelling and employing diverse artists who can tell those stories in a way that goes beyond optics and into thoughtful intentionality.
We are not done yet. As we continue moving forward out of our COVID year, under the guidance of our new equity, diversity, and inclusion committee, Kansas City Actors Theatre is committed to:
- Adding more diverse members to each of our committees, as well as our Board of Directors.
- Employing artists of all different racial identities, ethnicities, disabilities/abilities, ages, and people of diverse sexual orientation, gender expressions and identities. The human experience is diverse and complex, and voices from all backgrounds will be heard on our stage.
- Programming current and future seasons that reflect the infinitely diverse and ever changing stories of the world.
- Developing early-career BIPOC theatre artists and operational theatre professionals, including the creation of internships, mentorships, and paid production contracts beginning this season and permanently, designed to invest in BIPOC artists and foster relationships across communities to ensure that KCAT is an environment that embraces everyone.
- Pursuing direct funding to underwrite ticket expenses and cultivate more diverse audiences in our current and future seasons.
- Making conscious efforts to evaluate our vendors for anti-racism and anti-oppression policies and practices.
Do not mistake the actions we’ve taken as an excuse for the misguided decisions we’ve made in the past. We have made mistakes. We’re learning. And we still have plenty of work to do. Kansas City Actors Theatre will continue to do all of this with transparency. We appreciate the patience of the local artistic community, are thankful for its support, and welcome being held accountable.
Since our birth, Kansas City Actors Theatre has always been Artist Led & Artist Driven, formed and guided by members of the greater Kansas City artistic community. Kansas City Actors Theatre cannot fulfill this core philosophy without the voices that reflect Kansas City’s rich, multicultural, and diverse community.
Kansas City Actors Theatre is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse, multicultural work environment. We welcome members of all different racial identities, ethnicities, disabilities/abilities, ages, sexual orientation, gender expressions and identities.