The Sharon Playhouse is a regional, non-profit theater producing high-quality performances with Broadway caliber actors as well as talented local community members. Its mission is to entertain the community of Northwest Connecticut and beyond, while also serving as a teaching theater to encourage aspiring actors and other theatre professionals of all ages to develop their craft.
If we have learned anything in the past year, it is how powerful the voices for change can be. We are deeply concerned by the continual inequality faced by Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) artists and the systemic oppression that historically exists in the theatre community. As artists, we can create change, and as a theatre, we are committed to encouraging and fostering that change.
We have made mistakes and let down marginalized communities in the past at The Sharon Playhouse for which we deeply apologize. We are aware that we can increase our efforts to promote and support diversity, equity, and inclusivity by striving to do better and holding ourselves accountable. We will achieve these goals by actively listening and continuing to educate ourselves in order to promote the change we wish to see. While we are aware that we may inadvertently make mistakes in the future, be assured we are fully committed to creating an inclusive and empathetic world in which every voice is valued and respected in our space.
In an effort to provide greater transparency, we would like to update the community on our actions thus far and our plans for the future.
FORMATION OF A DEI COMMITTEE
The Sharon Playhouse is committed to ensuring that every artist in our employ - regardless of background and or identity - feels safe, seen, and supported. To that end, the Board of Directors established the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee in June of 2020. The committee meets monthly and is comprised of past and present actors, technicians, employees, and Board members of The Sharon Playhouse committed to upholding the DEI Committee’s mission statement:
In our commitment to continued evolution and growth, this body will work to achieve the following goals:
To ensure that The Sharon Playhouse fosters a safe and inclusive working environment for employees of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, national origins, ages, abilities, and identities.
To promote the active recruitment of diverse artists, creative teams, and staff.
To advocate for the responsible telling of diverse stories and the elevation of diverse voices.
To provide education, training, and resources for best workplace practices in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
To lead the community by example in implementing practices of the above creeds, and adhering to the goals of this statement.
RELEASED SOLIDARITY STATEMENT
On July 28th, 2020, The Sharon Playhouse with support from the DEI Committee released a statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It was published on the Sharon Playhouse Instagram account, website, and e-mailed to patrons.
HARASSMENT AND HOSTILITY CONCERNS
In order to foster a safe and inclusive working environment for employees of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, national origins, ages, abilities, and identities, the DEI Committee established best practices around incident reporting to keep all associated with the Sharon Playhouse safe and accountable. The DEI Committee has created documents and advocated for policies which protect and clarify the process of reporting an incident. Furthermore, on the recommendation of the DEI Committee, an external Human Resources Representative has been hired to address any future issues.
REPORTING SYSTEM and ANONYMOUS FORM
In an effort to clarify the process of reporting incidents of misconduct, the DEI Committee in collaboration with the Governance Committee has streamlined the reporting system, implemented policies and procedures to foster a safe working environment, and created an anonymous reporting form to be implemented by The Sharon Playhouse. This new policy will be made available for each employee in the onboarding documents as well as at The Sharon Playhouse.
The Sharon Playhouse considers the DEI Committee to be an important advisory body and a crucial addition to our roster of committees. It will continue to be an active voice in creating best practices in collaboration with other committees such as the Governance, Artistic, and Education Committees.