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WTF’s Anti-Racism Commitment

As the American Theatre is called to tackle institutional racism, Williamstown Theatre Festival has listened to the wisdom of anti-racism resources and to the insight of BIPOC artists, administrators and alumni. WTF continues to analyze its sixty-five-year history, its past and current practices and its culture. We take full responsibility for our failure to live up to a crucial piece of our organization’s mission: engaging and serving a diverse community. We must, and will, acknowledge, address and dismantle the systems of white supremacy and anti-Blackness that exist in our organization. WTF commits to the following actions, and to accountability around each one.

WTF recommits to being a welcoming, diverse and inclusive workplace.

WTF will grow its unconscious bias and anti-racist training for existing, new and seasonal staff and Trustees.

WTF will create infrastructure and resources to support BIPOC artists, administrators, technicians and artisans.

WTF will invest in human resources by creating a seasonal Conflict Resolution Manager position to keep the Festival accountable during the summer.

WTF commits to addressing the structural components of the company that have stalled meaningful progress toward equity and diversity at the Festival.

WTF will reimagine and rebuild the apprentice and internship programs to be fair and equitable.

WTF will radically reinvent the methods by which it recruits and hires employees.

WTF will retain outside expertise to accelerate existing efforts to diversify the Board of Trustees.

WTF’s artistic director commits to leadership transition in or by September of 2024.

WTF’s artistic director recommits to identifying and hiring BIPOC administrators into influential, key positions on the full time, year-round staff who can lead the Festival into its next chapter.

WTF commits to establishing and funding a Fellowship for an emerging, BIPOC leader at the Festival.

WTF commits to building a diverse audience and to serving diverse communities.

WTF will allocate resources to audience engagement and to the development of BIPOC audiences in the Berkshire region.

WTF will expand COMMUNITY WORKS efforts to build and grow meaningful partnerships with Berkshire-based organizations that serve BIPOC constituencies.

These commitments are steps in an ongoing process. As the Board of Trustees and the staff work to realize and expand upon these commitments, more will come. As an essential part of our process, we will keep our communities informed of our continuing anti-racism work. We are exhilarated to manifest a future for this theatre company that embraces in the deepest and fullest ways, on stage and off, true equity, diversity and inclusiveness. As a result, we will make better art and we will better serve our communities.

In Solidarity

In his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

Through our work—the words of playwrights and the power of generative artists—we endeavor to manifest the power of truth and unconditional love.

We are an imperfect institution made up of individuals who recognize the crippling effects of systemic racism. We are working—too slowly, with too little impact—to dismantle a culture, of which we are a part and to which we contribute, that oppresses people.

We stand with Black Americans in the quest for justice. We pledge, through work and actions, to move toward that bright daybreak of peace so desperately overdue, so necessary, so urgent right now.

As we reflect on the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, we ask ourselves: what role does art and community play as we process, respond, and begin to move forward?

On Tuesday, June 9th, at 4 PM ET, we engaged this complex question with:

Shirley Edgerton, Berkshire County community leader and Cultural Proficiency Coach for Pittsfield Public Schools

Mandy Greenfield, WTF Artistic Director

LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant, PhD, ​WTF Trustee and Williams College Associate Professor of Africana Studies

Harrison David Rivers, current WTF-commissioned playwright, former WTF Playwright-in-Residence, author of Where Storms are Born

Laura Savia, WTF Associate Artistic Director

Click here for a document with links to resources for continued thinking.

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