July 22, 2021

Neworld Theatre Black Pledge Commitments

Statement of Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that although Neworld Theatre has a long history of working with marginalized artists and telling stories not historically centered in Canadian theatre, we have not done enough to engage with our Black colleagues. We have hired Black actors but have not regularly worked with Black artists as artistic leads. We commit to building more working relationships with Black arists and centering their work in many of the ways suggested in the Black Pledge. Our specific commitments are outlined below.

Financial Commitment

 Ongoing Commitments

Programming

  • Work harder to learn about Black art in the Canadian canon
  • Work harder to get to know Black playwrights and creators in Vancouver and Canada
  • Appropriate Marketing of Black Work – We will read and be informed of the subject matter of programmed Black works, and will include racialized and culturally-specific material necessary for accurate marketing representation to the public.

Hiring & Casting

  • We will educate ourselves about Black designers working in Vancouver that we haven’t yet worked with.
  • Open Call Auditions – Our AD will participate in the GVPTA Unified General auditions.
  • General Audition Calls – We will prioritize Black performers for general audition invitations, and our AD will be in attendance at those auditions.
  • Advertising Auditions – We commit to advertising open calls for auditions in the databases, forums, and spaces with direct access to marginalized communities.
  • Maintaining a Black Artist Database – We will use Culture Brew as a database and keep our own internal database.
  • Hiring ASL Interpreters – We will work with Black Deaf artists on ASL interpretation when possible building on the contacts we already have.
  • Appropriate Hair, Makeup, Costume, and Lighting Provisions – When casts include Black artists, every department working on that production will be educated in Black hair, makeup, costume and lighting. The hosiery, mic cords, wigs will be selected to match and flatter Black bodies. Knowledge of Black hair needs will go beyond styling to consider proper care and maintenance.
  • Black Recruitment for Hiring – We will make a concerted effort to recruit Black people for available positions and support the development of Black leadership positions.
  • Skin Tone Diversity – We will be aware of representing the diversity of Black skin tones in the auditioning and casting of Black performers, while making an effort to correct the systemic lack of representation of Black people with the darkest skin tones.
  • Supporting Black Artists Beyond Hiring – We will create time and room for dialogue to discuss the needs of Black artists before the rehearsal period and will ask, “How are we serving and meeting the needs of Black artists in the room?”

Black Community Support & Reciprocity

  • Promoting Black Art Outside of Our Company’s Programming – We will promote projects through our marketing and social media channels which are created by Black artists or feature a majority Black cast, especially projects with Black artists who have previously worked with our company.
  • See Black Art – We will attend projects created by Black artists or featuring majority Black casts from multiple creative disciplines and at all levels including community theatre, fringe festivals, and alternative/independent projects.
  • Developing Reciprocal Relationships with Black Communities – We will go out, meet and form relationships with Black communities, with a desire to foster reciprocal relationships. We will make concerted effort to research where Black people commune, create and perform.
  • Outreach to Black Communities and Audiences – When programming work by Black artists, we will ensure proper outreach and marketing to Black communities.
  • Social Justice Education – We commit to ongoing social justice education and awareness on the issues facing the wider Black community.

Training & Development

  • Anti-Oppression and Anti-Black Racism Training – We commit to annual staff training in Anti-oppression.
  • Opening Night and Artistic Community Invitations – We will prioritize inviting Black artists and arts workers to opening nights and community nights.
  • Black Art Development – Work by Black artists will be offered the appropriate time, attention and development processes, with active conversations with the artists about their needs for development support.

 Specific Annual Commitments

Year 1 – 21/22 Season

  • This year will be focused largely on education and getting to know Black artists in the Vancouver arts community. We will attend work by black artists and work to develop relationships with Black communities. This will include hosting a day of auditions and get to know you conversations with Black and IBPOC artists in Vancouver.
  • Black Designers – We will employ at least 1 Black Canadian Designer.
  • Black Actors – We will employ at least 2 Black Actors in workshops or productions.
  • Black Crew and Technicians – We will make a concerted effort to hire at least 1 Black technician or crew member to the best of our ability. As a producing company who is regularly presented this is often out of our control but we will share our commitment with presenters and encourage them to bring in Black technicians and crew.
  • Black Board Directorship – We do not currently have a Black director on our Board and will add one.
  • Black Apprenticeships – We will employ 1 Black Canadian production apprentice. Where it is possible, Black apprentices will be given opportunities to be mentored by Black artists in these fields. All apprenticeships will be trained and educated with the intention for future hire. All Black apprentices will be compensated with a living wage commensurate with industry standards.

 Year 2 – 22/23 Season

  • Commission a work by a Black artist
  • Black Designers – We will employ at least 1 Black Canadian Designer.
  • Black Actors – We will employ at least 2 Black Actors in workshops or productions.
  • Black Crew and Technicians – We will make a concerted effort to hire at least 1 Black technician or crew member to the best of our ability. As a producing company who is regularly presented this is often out of our control but we will share our commitment with presenters and encourage them to bring in Black technicians and crew.
  • Black Apprenticeships – We will employ 1 Black Canadian production apprentice. Where it is possible, Black apprentices will be given opportunities to be mentored by Black artists in these fields. All apprenticeships will be trained and educated with the intention for future hire. All Black apprentices will be compensated with a living wage commensurate with industry standards.

Year 3 – 23/24 Season

  • Program a work by a black artist
  • Black Directors – We will employ at least 1 Black director.
  • Black Designers – We will employ at least 1 Black Canadian Designer.
  • Black Actors – We will employ at least 2 Black Actors in workshops or productions.
  • Black Crew and Technicians – We will make a concerted effort to hire at least 1 Black technician or crew member to the best of our ability. As a producing company who is regularly presented this is often out of our control but we will share our commitment with presenters and encourage them to bring in Black technicians and crew.
  • Black Apprenticeships – We will employ 1 Black Canadian production apprentice. Where it is possible, Black apprentices will be given opportunities to be mentored by Black artists in these fields. All apprenticeships will be trained and educated with the intention for future hire. All Black apprentices will be compensated with a living wage commensurate with industry standards.

At the end of Year 3 we will assess our progress and relationships with Black artists and make new commitments for the following 3 years.