Lookingglass Theatre Company has always harbored magnificent dreams — chief among them, to enfranchise and empower its artists. We are a company created by an Ensemble of these artists and are governed by that Ensemble and our Board of Directors. But the insularity that developed from building this organization together and making art from within such a tight-knit group, combined with our determination to find consensus, has often delayed change and growth. That insularity has been both our strength and our weakness. It can no longer be an excuse. For it has resulted in us perpetuating institutionalized racism, and benefiting from a system that is profoundly unjust to historically marginalized communities including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
While we have been slow to adopt the kind of change which is demanded of us, we have also been available to it, and in our best moments have progressed toward it. For we believe that our work and our lives are infinitely more complex, rewarding, illuminating, and nearer to truth when we have a wider variety of human experiences in our room, at our table, and on our stage. Therefore, with the conviction that today is always the best day for change, and with the hope that, in so doing, we begin living out our dreams with fuller authenticity, we commit ourselves to the following Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion guidelines, which have been developed by a task force of representatives from our Board, Associates Board, Staff and Ensemble…
- We will increase representation of BIPOC and historically marginalized artists among our Ensemble and Artistic Associates.
- We will apply a rigorous anti-racist lens to new work development and our play selection process.
- We will have equitable representation of BIPOC and historically marginalized persons on our casting team and in the room at auditions.
- Casting calls will offer a safe, inclusive and anti-racist environment for BIPOC and historically marginalized artists, and our breakdowns will be written and edited with an eye and ear toward upholding anti-racism, equity, and inclusion, and avoiding thoughtless triggers.
- We will significantly and intentionally increase casting of BIPOC and historically marginalized actors until an equitable balance is achieved.
- We will conduct a rigorous review of casting for every role in our season, keeping cultural specificity and other appropriate considerations in mind.
- We will actively identify and recruit BIPOC and historically marginalized designers and artists and create more opportunities for them to join Lookingglass production teams, aiming ultimately for genuine equity of representation.
- Actors and creative team will receive the compiled list of confirmed artists involved in the production at the time they are offered a role/job.
- Creative teams will undergo anti-racist training at the beginning of their process with signed accountability statements.
- We will prioritize hiring dramaturgs/cultural consultants for culturally specific shows, especially if the director is not of the culture.
- Representative(s) from the Ensemble will serve on a company accountability task force to ensure that Lookingglass’ Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Policy is upheld and maintained
II. Board of Directors
- We will prioritize anti-racism practices in our governance of the institution.
- We will work with staff leadership to identify and budget resources to support the initiatives detailed here.
- We will increase representation of BIPOC and historically marginalized persons on the Board and Associates Board, and diversify our donor base.
- We will apply an anti-racist voice and culturally competent lens to all communications and visuals in connection with donor base expansion and Board Member and Associate Board Member recruitment.
- Representative(s) from the Board will serve on a company accountability task force to ensure that Lookingglass’ Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Policy is upheld and maintained.
- We will evaluate our current hiring practices through an anti-racist lens and develop new organizational standards accordingly.
- We will diversify the makeup of our company’s workforce until an equitable balance is achieved.
- We will provide supportive onboarding and dedicated resources for being safe, successful, and happy at work, especially for BIPOC and historically marginalized staff, and we will establish and widely promote a clear confidential process of reporting problems with formal response protocol companywide.
- We will establish more equitable hiring practices including the publication of salary ranges on job postings.
- We will provide Anti-Racism training for employees of Lookingglass Theatre Company.
- Representative(s) of staff will serve on a company accountability task force to ensure that Lookingglass’ Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Policy is upheld and maintained.
- We will incorporate Land Acknowledgement and Anti-Racism statements into first rehearsal, and first day of tech orientation.
- We will partner with an organization that can provide mental health support during rehearsal and production run for cast/crew/creatives working on stories dealing with trauma.
- We will rewrite production job descriptions to remove mandatory education requirements and use language that is free of bias.
- We will provide Costume Shop Manager and Wardrobe Supervisor with training in styling and consultation of Black hair and makeup.
- We will eliminate 9 of 11s during our tech process.
- We will prioritize BIPOC and historically marginalized vendors and work with vendors who prioritize an Anti-Racist policy.
V. Curiosity (Education/Community Engagement)
- We will establish guidelines and hiring practices for teaching artists to better reflect the demographics of Chicago Public Schools and to ensure appropriate anti-racism and cultural competency training.
- We will evaluate all curricula with an anti-racist and culturally competent lens and standardize said curricula based on results.
- We will grow our partnerships in communities to expand the diversity of the population served by our Curiosity programs.
- We will envision and apply an approach to all communications and visuals that is inclusive and culturally sensitive and avoids resorting to a White, Eurocentric voice.
- We will examine our approach to the audience in order to ensure, over time, that the rooms we play to more accurately reflect the City of Chicago, and that all persons entering those rooms feel welcome and included.
- We will research radically inclusive pricing models, and remove other potential barriers to entry.
- We will diversify our dealings with the press in order to decentralize the distribution of our marketing communications and invite a wider array of communities in.
- We will provide anti-racist, implicit bias, and bystander training for all front of house personnel, and develop proper intervention protocol for racist conflicts with audience members.
- We will apply an anti-racist voice and culturally competent lens to all communications and visuals in connection with all fundraising activities.
- We will identify funding to support anti-racism activities.
- We will maintain a zero-tolerance policy for accepting donation dollars from individuals or companies which knowingly uphold racism or racist practices.
- We will work to establish an intervention protocol for racist conflicts with donors.
In all the above, we place faith for our future and the future of storytelling. We also know change is inevitable, and improvement paramount to growth. So, we acknowledge this statement as a living document. It will change as we change. It will grow as we grow. As we come to understand more, that understanding will be reflected here. And as we begin to live up to these commitments, we are certain that more of us – more of humanity – will be reflected with finer fidelity here in the Lookingglass.
From Our Hearts to Our Actions,
Lookingglass Theatre Company
This statement is in service of and in reference to Lookingglass Theatre Company’s full Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Policy which continues to be under refinement and will be made accessible here soon.