Equity Diversity Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility

DEIA Committee: Diversity Equity Inclusion Accessibility  Mission: To identify both successes and opportunities for growth regarding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility at Shakespeare Theatre Company.   What we do:  The committee works to better their departments by making recommendations to its leadership regarding the implementation of strategies and policies at all levels of the Company. These recommendations are made through various pathways including, but not limited to, the Director of Equity and Belonging and task forces that are tailored to the need at hand. Through monthly open forum discussions, educational opportunities, social connection, conversations with other change makers in theatre, and support within the committee, this significant portion of STC’s staff gathers to identify, analyze, and address obstacles to creating a safe, inclusive theatre for all staff, artists, audience members, patrons, and community members.  DEIA Committee guest speakers 2022-current:  Accessibility: Actors with Disabilities  Emily Kranking: neurodiverse actress, writer, and disability advocate with cerebral palsy.   Cultural Competency  Christina Tobias-Nahi, MAIR, EdM, director of Public Affairs, Research & Advocacy, Islamic Relief USA  Here There Are Blueberries, Culture, and Religion within the Play  Matt Joslyn, executive director Tectonic Theater Project BIPOC Deaf Actors and Accessibility  Michelle Banks, artistic director Visionaries of the Creative Arts 
Shakespeare Theatre Company is committed to building an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the community we serve. STC launched its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee after STC members participated in Theatre Communications Group’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Institute in February 2016. The EDI committee is comprised of more than 40 staff members from across all levels representing administrative, production, and artistic areas with a mission to identify both successes and opportunities for growth regarding EDI issues at STC. The committee works to make recommendations to its leadership regarding intersectional inclusiveness and implementation strategies at all levels of the Company. Through monthly open forum discussions and educational opportunities, this significant portion of STC’s staff gathers to identify, analyze, and address obstacles to creating a safe, inclusive theatre for all staff, artists, audience members, patrons, and community members. STC’s EDI initiative is not something to be established and checked off a list; rather, it is a non-linear process that requires continuous movement and assessment as an organization. With a commitment to listen, learn, and be accountable, STC welcomes you to learn more by reviewing our initiatives and plans below.

An Anti-Racism Update

At Shakespeare Theatre Company we want our stages to reflect the world we live in. We want to actively support our communities and nurture and protect all who work with us. We acknowledge we have work to do in creating an equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment. We continue to evaluate our company and its practices through the lens of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). We are embarking on a path to develop and intensify these efforts. We have new internally-shared EDI and anti-racist policies, created through open dialogue with our staff, EDI Committee, and leadership. Future public announcements will include the creation of new initiatives within the community to support BIPOC artists and organizations.

The Shift

STC seeks to broaden and enrich our community by connecting with diverse organizations to create initiatives and opportunities that aid in shifting the future of theatre. Some of our partnerships include: 2022-2023  Dramaturgical Program Students from Howard University gathered in weekly sessions with dramaturges and scholars including STC’s Associate Director Dr. Drew Lichtenberg, STC’s Associate Director of Literary Dr. Soyica Colbert and Scholar/renowned author Dr. Mary Helen Washington.  Annual Audition Workshop with local HBCU’s Casting directors, education and artistic staff from Florida Repertory Theatre, Studio Theatre, and Shakespeare Theatre Company conducted an audition workshop for local Historical Black Colleges and Universities.  Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall Staged reading in collaboration with Georgetown University featuring students and alum from Howard University. Directed by STC’s Director of Equity and Belonging, LeeAnet Noble.  Shakespeare Everywhere Festival: The Bard & The Beat Directed by LeeAnet Noble and Travis Xavier The Negro Classical Cultural Carnival (P.A.R.T. Productions) and Shakespeare Theatre Company join forces to celebrate the beat that connects us all in an evening of music, dance, and theater featuring Shuchi Buch, Voices Unbarred, Jae Anthonee, VOCA (Visionaries of the Creative Arts), Summer Hill Seven, Zora Allison, Brie Turner, Keanu Powell, Nathaniel Sizemore, nick tha 1da, and more voices shining a light on underrepresented voices in classical theatre. This performance is part of the Shakespeare Everywhere Festival .  2021-2022  Greater Washington Urban League STC created a new arts education program for student scholars at The Greater Washington Urban League. Students were selected based on their completion of the league's Leadership and Employment Readiness Initiative. Over four weeks, participants met twice a week and were given a theatre-based project receiving input and feedback from professional theatremakers at STC. The annual program culminated with a virtual presentation. All participants received scholarships to attend courses at STC. Learn more about The Greater Washington Urban League by clicking here. The Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University STC has connected with Howard University’s Department of Theatre Arts for a series of events, showcases, and experiences. As a way of deepening the connections between Howard University’s Department of Theatre Arts and engaging with new talent that will shape the future of theatre, we collaboratively created a new annually available course. Within this two-semester course, students explore a classic play and find ways to expand the term “classic” while learning how a major classical theatre operates. Sessions include master classes with renowned directors, playwrights, authors, and theatre administrators at STC, performance opportunities, and more. Students receive course credit and perform a final presentation at the Klein Theatre for the public, casting directors, invited guests, and members of the artistic community in D.C. and beyond. The inaugural presentation featured a staged reading of Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka. For more information on The Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts please visit Howard University Department of Theatre Arts.

Anti-Racist Action Plan

Shakespeare Theatre Company is committed to adopting the following Anti-Racist Actions centered on cultural competency, working conditions and hiring practices, and artistic and curatorial strategies: this document will be updated on a rolling basis. Cultural Competency STC will provide mandatory Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Anti-Racism Training annually to all members of its staff (full-time and part-time). This includes training on Bystander Intervention, De-Escalation Techniques, Microaggressions, Implicit Bias, Anti-Oppression, and Anti-Racism to provide the necessary tools to address racism and harm when it happens. Separate EDI and Anti-Racism leadership training for senior staff will be included based on individual roles. Board members will be invited and encouraged to attend all training sessions. STC will incorporate a land acknowledgment into first rehearsals and in all of our spaces to honor tribal sovereignty. A timeline of our efforts will be listed on the website and updated quarterly. Working Conditions and Hiring Practices STC will provide a dedicated EDI presence alongside existing human resource procedures to promote a safe and anti-racist environment.
  • The Director of Equity and Enrichment will work with the Director of Human Resources to provide transparent procedures and policies handling discriminatory actions and practices as well as incorporating and developing new hiring procedures to ensure a diverse pool of candidates for all available positions, including volunteer roles.
  • The Director of Equity and Enrichment will work with the Director of Human Resources to ensure all policies, documents, communications, and procedures are available and accessible for all employees and volunteers.
  • Visiting directors will meet with the Director of Equity and Enrichment to discuss STC’s EDI and anti-racist policies, offer resources and guidance as requested, and act as a mediating force.
  • All hired actors and designers will be given thorough documentation of STC’s policies, practices, and resources.
  • Company management, union deputies, and the Director of Equity and Engagement will collaborate to foster the cultural care of BIPOC artists. This includes setting anti-racist expectations at first rehearsal as well as ongoing check-ins throughout the production process.
  • STC has discontinued the practice of “10 out of 12” rehearsals.
With an EDI lens, STC will review and revise drafted hiring practices and job descriptions for all levels of employment in the company to counter bias and codify improved and equitable employment. Artistic and Curatorial Practices STC will establish consistent, meaningful, long-term relationships with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists. This includes exploration of gap training and/or directing fellowship opportunities for future leaders of color. STC will implement equitable season curation and programming with added BIPOC voices in the season planning process. STC will measurably expand the diversity of BIPOC artists’ voices in its programming with the writers and directors represented on our stages. STC will work with individual directors to ensure diverse design teams. STC will ensure that all directors have casting and dramaturgical resources available to them to protect and support the cultural specificity required of the work. STC will review and then adjust accordingly the process and scheduling of production rehearsals when full seasons and capacity returns (post-COVID-19 pandemic). STC will provide equitable access for BIPOC audiences through STC’s marketing and education programs, including:
  • Seeking opportunities to provide resources for students and their families to attend shows
  • Connecting with community groups and organizations (churches, shelters, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc.)
  • Finding BIPOC marketing consultants or new hires to support efforts in expanding STC’s reach and creating inclusive content
Accountability As we make progress with the efforts listed in this document, STC seeks to create a work environment and community that is transparent and inclusive. To achieve this, accountability is essential. In addition to maintaining an open door policy within our company, we will be conducting annual assessments addressing our diversity goals, which will include:
  • Data analysis of demographics (audiences, staff, students, volunteers)
  • Pay scale evaluations
  • Production assessments
  • Staff surveys
  • Audience surveys
We aspire to create a theatre and staff as diverse as our community. That means enacting new policies, developing new programming, and welcoming new perspectives. Some systemic changes are already occurring at the theatre; others will take more time. Small steps and large leaps will lead to meaningful, sustained change. To that end, we wish to be held accountable by our artists, staff, patrons, and community.

Code of Ethics

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Code of Ethics articulates our core values, shares our ethical standards to provide guidance for the application of these principles to all work on and off our stages, and provides the standards to which the general public can hold STC as an institution accountable. This Code of Ethics establishes the standards and principles for ethical conduct that apply to STC collectively as an institution, and to all members of the Board of Trustees, staff, artists, fellows, interns, and others who are employed by or volunteering at STC. We expect that these standards will be met by all STC members and will be enforced by policies as outlined in our Employee Handbook. As the nation’s premier classical theatre company, Shakespeare Theatre Company has become synonymous with artistic excellence and making classical theatre more accessible to audiences in and around the nation’s capital. STC’s mission is to create innovative productions that inspire dialogue and connect classic works to the modern human experience. STC is dedicated to treating our board, staff, artists, partners, audiences, and communities with dignity and respect. We are expanding our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) efforts and writing Anti-Racism policies into all of our existing Human Resource materials. We are working to increase the representation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), women, non-binary/gender non-conforming individuals, members of the LGTBQIA+ community, and people with disabilities in our applicant pool, on our staff, in our senior leadership and Board positions, and as participants in all programming. STC is committed to building an inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist organization that better reflects the community where we reside and work. STC recognizes the significant room for growth in its company culture, staff composition, artistic programming, and education and engagement programming. In addition to prioritizing racial diversity on and off our stages, STC will also take measures to ensure the support for and safety of women, BIPOC, non-binary/gender non-conforming individuals, members of the LGTBQIA+ community, and people with disabilities. Company Culture STC’s EDI Committee is instrumental in bringing staff together to discuss and address EDI issues. EDI Committee efforts have led to important policy changes including more equitable hiring and recruitment policies and the practice of including gender pronouns in email signatures and during staff meetings. We are committed to supporting the work of the EDI Committee. 
We are also pledging to continue to revise our company’s policies and enhance our practices to ensure the safety, security, and success of all members of our staff. 
All staff members are required to participate in mandatory DEIA training 
2021: Full staff training with LeeAnet Noble, director of Equity & Belonging 
2022: Full staff microaggression training with Stage a Change  2023: Full Staff training A.B.I.D.E. MASTERCLASS ACCESS, BELONGING, INCLUSION, DIVERSITY, AND EQUITY In 2021 we launched affinity groups at STC for staff members as well as visiting artists  We currently have three: 1. The BIPOC Affinity Group 2. The Women of STC 3. LGBTQ+ Affinity Group  What is an Affinity Group?An affinity group is a group of people who share a similar identity. Although members of the group may have a common identity, it does not mean that everyone in the group has had the same experiences. The group is a place for reflection, dialogue, and support. These forums also offer participants an opportunity to socialize and share ideas and interests outside their daily practice groups.  Artistic Programming We are accountable for the work we produce on our stages and acknowledge that “classical” theatre has traditionally been an exclusionary term, limiting the contributions of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), women and nonbinary/gender nonconforming individuals, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and people with disabilities. We are committed to expanding the definition of “classic” to include playwrights previously excluded from the canon, with a renewed commitment to high-quality, exhilarating, inclusive theatre. We vow to diversify artistic programming, both on and off our stages. Education and Engagement Programming As a prominent fixture in several D.C. neighborhoods, we acknowledge our interconnectedness to Washington, D.C.’s varied communities and neighborhoods residing within the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. STC is dedicated to working with our community to provide educational, engagement, and enrichment programming for all.


STC is committed to building an inclusive organization that better reflects the diversity of the community we serve. While some of us are comfortable with the gender pronouns assigned to us at birth, there are many who do not have this privilegewhether they are intersex, transgender, non-binary, gender nonconforming or, simply, do not present themselves as what we typically describe as male or female. Misgendering people or ignoring their stated pronouns has the harmful effect of not only disrespecting them but also invalidating someone’s identity. At STC, we welcome and support our staff, patrons, artists, and community to share their pronouns so that we may address them fully, respectfully, and appropriately. At STC, all are encouraged to share their personal pronouns in their email signatures, on employment and fellowship applications, and when introducing themselves to new people. Additionally, we now offer a wider range of pronouns on our website so that patrons may update their pronoun preferences in our ticketing system.

Land Acknowledgement

Shakespeare Theatre Company is honored to welcome everyone to our theatre, which sits on the unceded homeland of the Nacotchtank, Piscataway Conoy, and Pamunkey peoples and their descendants. It is our hope that in gathering together communities from near and far to engage in art and storytelling, we are doing so responsibly, with respect and recognition of Indigenous people and First Nation members and elders who are with us, and of all the Native peoples for whom D.C. is their ancestral home.