At Trustus Theatre, we stand for equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and a harassment-free environment.

At Trustus we understand that our organization is more than just a theatre. It is a HOME. A home for artists and our community.  A meeting place that champions belonging and celebrates the richness of our diverse stories.  To cultivate and nurture a safe space for the work, artists, and the community we must recognize our past short falls and institute a plan that holds Trustus accountable to our value systems. In order for the values stated in our mission to be at the center of the organization we are responsible for creating safety through both our policies and our practices. We acknowledge that for our space to be a HOME we must be governed by and accountable to every voice, not just the dominant voice. 
 
As an arts pillar of the vibrant Columbia community, we are renewing our commitment to action and to reckoning with issues that we face collectively as a society and institutionally in our day to day practices. This work requires Trustus to be an ACTIVE participant in the conversations surrounding equity but more importantly in the steady, and unwavering implementation of institutional change. We see this as constant work for the duration of the organization that requires accountability and awareness.

We renew our commitment to the organization and the community:

  • As STUDENTS through continuing education, discussion, self-assessment and revision.
  • As STORYTELLERS by prioritizing authenticity in the choosing, producing, and safeguarding of diverse stories as well as understanding and tackling the implications they wield.
  • As CONVERSATION STARTERS through the responsible production and discussion of innovative, diverse work and through our commitment to empowering conversations that are meaningful, and challenging.
  • As ARTISTS AND ADVOCATES through honesty and truth in our art, in our support of artists, in our engagement with the community and in our renewed effort to cultivate a place of growth and to bridge gaps within our organization to prioritize the creation of more access

We understand that thoughtful and mindful implementation of these commitments will determine our success.

Together with our Equity Task Force we have devised a three layered approach to the implementation of our Equity efforts. We seek to be intentional about our responsibility to The Art, Artists, and to Meaningful Relationships with Community. This statement is linked to an action plan outlining our goals more specifically.  We view our creation of a more equitable environment in our HOME as a contribution to the collective fight for a more fair and just world.

Click “show more” under each section to read about specific action items and timelines.

The Art

At Trustus, we intend to be accountable to the art that we produce.  We must approach the selection of our stories with a mindful and equitable lens.  This includes careful consideration of the stories we choose to tell, the characters with whom we invite audiences to engage, the needs of those involved in the story making process, and the community we serve.

  • Ensure that play selection is relevant, transparent, and intentional in regards to both the community and the involved artists.  (ongoing)
    1. Awareness of demographics and implementation of the equitable lens in regards to programming will be included in the Directors annual review. (Year 2: Board)
    2. A process for season suggestions will be made available to the company, board, and staff in October and closed in December. (Year 1: ED/AD)
  • If a play is selected, we commit to producing the full journey of a story, as well as considering its specific needs and implications.  This means ensuring the theatre’s resources and budget can support the needs of the production. (ongoing: ED/AD, Board, Individual Creative Teams)
  • Create mindful post-mortem language. (Year 1: ED/AD, Company)

Artists

At Trustus, we aim to champion and acknowledge the vital role of artists in the Columbia community.  Through the implementation of these action items, we hope to empower artists, honor authenticity over status quo standards, and provide resources and opportunities for growth to new and established artists.

  • Develop and implement first rehearsal language regarding reporting, rehearsal expectations, and artist safety. (Year 2: DEI Taskforce, Board, ED/AD)
  • Revise policies and procedures for reporting harm (Year 2: DEI Taskforce, Board, ED/AD)
  • Create and make available a posted conflict resolution path to ensure incidents can be reported safely (Completed)
  • Assess hiring practices yearly (Year 1: Board)
  • Create outreach/opportunities for engagement for outside artists, specifically for Artists of Color and marginalized groups. (Ongoing: ED/AD, Board)
  • Contract DEI coaches, mediators, or consultants to mediate sensitive grievances or reported incidents of harm (Ongoing: ED)
  • Provide opportunities for growth and professional development to artists in the building (Ongoing: ED/AD, Company)
  • Be intentional about the development and support of the artists engaged in building. (Ongoing: ED/AD, Company)
  • Provide DEI training and workshops yearly for directors, designers, artists, and company members. (Ongoing: ED/AD)
  • Create an anonymous post mortem document for artists to fill out following each production regarding their individual experiences. (Year 2: ED/AD)
  • Support artists beyond their roles at Trustus through attendance and promotion of their outside community projects.  (Year 1: ED/AD, Company, Board)

Meaningful Relationships with the Community

Trustus has a long history of cultivating a meaningful relationship with the Columbia community,  and we consider the renewal and revival of this relationship as an integral step towards a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment. Through the action items below we aim to create wider access to our work and space.  This requires the creation of programming that meets the specific needs of the community, expanding outreach, and choosing programming that tackles issues we face collectively as a society. We intend to be mindful of partnerships and intentional when engaging with community organizations as well as through marketing and ticketing practices.

  • Facilitate relationships with local organizations and businesses to create purposeful partnerships (Ongoing: ED/AD, Board)
  • Diversify our pool of community contractors and vendors (Ongoing: ED, DEI Committee, Individual Creative Teams)
  • Engage in dialogue with the community around the broader messaging of our productions. (Year 2: ED/AD, DEI Committee)
  • Institute annual reviews of the DEI action plan, policies and procedures and report findings to the community. (In Process, Year 1: ED/AD, Board)
  • Provide DEI training, updates, and workshops yearly for the Trustus board and community members. (In process, Ongoing: ED/AD, DEI Committee)
  • Create pathways to engage in the creative process and educate artists and audiences. (Ongoing: ED/AD, Company, Individual Creative Teams)
  • Program work specifically aimed at bridging gaps in access for marginalized groups. (Ongoing: ED/AD)
  • Offer “I pay what I can performances” for plays throughout the season. (Ongoing: ED/AD)
  • Be intentional about marketing for individual shows as opposed to a one size fits all approach. (Year 2: ED/AD, Individual Creative Teams)

This document was created by the SEASON 38 EQUITY TASK

Terrance Henderson, Equity Advisor
Jessica Fichter, Executive Director
Daryl Byrd
Trinessa Dubas
Katrina Garvin
Abigail McNeely
Tashera Pravato
Laura Anthony Robbie
Sheila Willis
Sha’Kel Youmans

**YEAR 1: SEASON 40; YEAR 2: SEASON 41; YEAR 3: SEASON 42

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