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As we continue to reimagine a more equitable, diverse, inclusive, accessible, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival seeks to ensure that the Progress Report we published in February 2022 remains a living document to keep us accountable. Click here to view the original Progress Report annotated with updates since the first year of its publication in February of 2022, including the actions we took, where we fell short, and learnings that will impact future work and action.

We extend gratitude to everyone who joined us over the past two years to work with us, help us implement these changes, and provide us with valuable feedback. We are grateful for your trust and essential contributions as we continue this work. Thank you for being in community with us.

While we are immensely proud of the strides we have made since the publication of the original report, we acknowledge that there are still major institutional changes that need to be made and know this work must be in alignment with our already-underway strategic planning process—a process established to endeavor thinking about a more sustainable future for WTF.

As always, we welcome feedback, questions, and comments as we learn and grow. Input and feedback can be emailed to Janise Robinson, Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Manager of People & Culture, at The email addresses of our entire year-round staff are also available on our website. Alternatively, you may email feedback to, an address that goes only to WTF’s third-party HR consultant, K&K Reset, and Margaret Gould Stewart, Chair of the WTF Board of Trustees.

Please find the current status of the commitments we made on the original 2022 Progress Report below.


Originally published February 2022, most recent update: March 2024


For seven decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival has annually produced an ambitious season of theater, engaging established and early-career theater-makers and fostering the magic that happens when they have opportunities to create work side-by-side.

How and with whom Williamstown Theatre Festival chooses to engage has an impact that resonates far beyond the Berkshires. Productions developed at WTF often land on the stages of other prominent theater companies and venues throughout the country. WTF’s experiential training opportunities can have life-changing effects on career paths and on the makeup of the professional theater workforce in America.

In service of the responsible stewardship of this impact, Williamstown Theatre Festival is committed to ensuring a welcoming, respectful, and physically safe environment, reducing barriers to participation and access, and achieving greater equity, diversity, and inclusion by bringing a more anti-racist and anti-oppressive approach to every aspect of WTF’s operations.

The staff, Board, artists, community partners, and volunteers of Williamstown Theatre Festival treat one another with respect. We find joy in collaboration, creation, and summertime. We believe in representation and diverse perspectives onstage and off. We aim to engage as broad an audience as possible while serving the vibrant local communities in Western Massachusetts.

The scope of the 2023 season:
The 2023 season saw a pause in full productions as we dedicated our resources towards strategic planning efforts for 2024 and beyond. The summer consisted of three readings on the specially-built Festival Stage, four Fridays@3 new work readings at the Clark, a benefit concert by Laura Benanti, Hasan Minhaj’s newest work-in-progress, and the return of the renowned Cabaret. The Festival was also host to four artists-in-residence and three workshops. The season was accomplished by a summer staff of fewer than 30 people.

Key learnings from the 2023 season and where our short-term attention will be focused:

  • Hiring and Recruitment: We need to focus on expanding our recruitment and strengthening our hiring processes. This includes developing intentional relationships, supporting hiring managers, making hiring processes consistent across the organization, and transparently setting expectations about a summer at Williamstown Theatre Festival and its unique work/learn environment.
  • On-Boarding and Training: There is work to be done to better prepare and welcome artists, staff, and trainees when they join our team and arrive on campus. We aim to provide more robust training across all levels, including extending onboarding time and earlier arrivals as necessary. We are troubleshooting how to ensure that all company members receive the same access to training and onboarding despite the rolling nature of arrivals and shorter stays for certain company members.
  • Board Development: The Board continued its efforts to be a more anti-racist and equitable governance body, and is looking forward to digging in deeper during 2024. It has already engaged in anti-racism workshops, has established a Nominating Committee dedicated to increasing the diversity of the Board through an unbiased lens, and is redeveloping its bylaws and standards of practice to ensure that all of its functions are aligned with broader institutional values.
  • Diversifying our Audience & Programming: We learned that bringing new and diverse audiences to the Berkshires is possible, as seen particularly with the audiences for Hasan Minhaj’s performances last summer. Besides engaging in ticketing initiatives, targeted marketing and exploring transportation options, we acknowledge the importance of dynamic programming to further these efforts.


The actions outlined below represent a shift in the model, practices, and culture of Williamstown Theatre Festival. They reshape many aspects of the Festival’s workplace culture, training programs, and approach to artistic development, programming, and production; they impact everyone who participates in the Festival, including year-round and seasonal staff, artists, trainees, trustees, and audiences. This is a summary of where we stand on the commitments and discoveries made in our original progress report. For a more detailed version, including responses to each item outlined in the original report, please see the extended version.

1. Foster a respectful, responsible, and equitable workplace

What we have accomplished:
As of 2022, WTF no longer mounts a seven-show season. The scope of each summer season will match the capacity of the staff, in order to lessen the intensity and sense of urgency once endemic to WTF’s workplace. In 2022, a Director of Organizational Culture (year-round) and People & Culture Coordinator (seasonal) ensured compliance of these policies. Due to the departure of the former, a Manager of People & Culture has taken over these duties who is now onboarded and will work at least through the end of the 2024 season.

Policies that have been put into place to accomplish this include:

  • All staff members and trainees are paid and receive on-campus housing free of charge
  • No overnight calls or 10-out-of-12s policy for technical rehearsals
  • Mandatory days off have been implemented Festival wide. Additionally, WTF supports all seasonal employees and trainees with hour-caps.
  • We have significantly increased our design fees, utilizing the USA Standard Design Agreement Not-for-Profit Theatre Rate Sheet as a guide. We budget so that all Design Associates and Assistants can utilize a USA829 Project Only Agreement, should they choose to.

Other ways we further improve Festival culture are by continuing to make space for identity-based affinity groups and continuing to implement anonymous feedback forms to all company members at the end of the season, to be completed during work hours. All feedback is compiled and presented in a report completed by the Manager of People & Culture and K+K Reset, and then shared with all year-round staff, leadership, and the Board’s Executive Committee.

Areas for improvement:
We acknowledge that while there are some shops, restaurants, and amenities within walking distance of campus, access to grocery stores and other stores and activities that improve quality of life are not within walking distance. As we shift our operational model, we are thinking about the work-life experience of all company members and how we can address issues of access with travel and food options.

2. Evolve staff, artist, and leadership recruitment, hiring, and onboarding practices

What we have accomplished:
As mentioned above, a Manager of People & Culture has been hired, with the primary responsibility of serving as a steward and caretaker of the people and culture at the Festival. Their scope of work includes regularly reviewing and revising orientation and on-boarding procedures and workplace policies, including WTF’s Handbooks, Anti-Harassment Policy, and Code of Conduct. This individual will also develop and implement accountability mechanisms for this ongoing work and future Progress Reports. Every employee and artist receives the Festival’s handbook which outlines all procedures and policies we have in place.

WTF has invested in human resources by engaging a third-party HR firm, K&K Reset. K&K Reset administers Respect & Dignity in the Workplace training as a mandatory part of each creative team’s orientation, and the top-of-season company meeting includes a presentation from K+K Reset in regards to these policies. They work closely with our leadership team and our on-site Manager of People & Culture year round to be accessible to and support our staff. All job postings include a demonstrated commitment to anti-racist, anti-discriminatory, and equal opportunity values and practices as a primary responsibility of positions at Williamstown. This is asked about in every interview and included in our annual ‘best practices in hiring’ session with all year-round staff members and any seasonal staff members who will be responsible for hiring members of their team, led by K+K Reset.

WTF now provides mandatory management training for all manager roles, and technical safety training will be a central component of onboarding for anyone in a technical direction supervisor position and/or anyone supervising or participating in builds or installations. WTF will continue to develop a safety training program that ensures safe working practices in accordance with all OSHA regulations.

Areas for improvement:
WTF will continue to strengthen its recruiting, onboarding, and orientation processes to ensure we are reaching an expansive and diverse pool of candidates and strengthening our network for future seasons. WTF will make sure all employees feel supported in their work with the proper training and resources. With the guidance of artEquity, With the guidance of artEquity, WTF is exploring a co-leadership model that engages and empowers a BIPOC leader at the Festival. WTF has engaged Tom O’Connor Consulting Group and launched a search for a full-time, year round Managing Director, Operations & Advancement. Diversity remains a top priority in filling this position.

In terms of programming, WTF needs to prioritize assembling diverse creative teams, reflective of various perspectives and backgrounds, for all productions. We hope to implement a voluntary self-reporting survey to be able to measure the increase in diversity on our teams starting with the 2024 season. In the rehearsal rooms, we will continue with our goal to find trainings that fit the unique needs of each production, including discussing racial and/or sexual sensitivities raised by a play or musical, and emphasizing the core values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility throughout the production.

At the conclusion of the study conducted in partnership with NonProfit HR, the Festival adopted a clear compensation philosophy that is now a part of the year-round employee handbook. It commits to annual COLA increases and regular salary market data analyses of current positions in addition to laying out other policies. We hope to undertake a full review of all seasonal positions and their compensation levels as we continue to find and build the best employment structure to support our seasonal operations.

3. Grow unconscious bias and anti-racist training for existing, new, and seasonal staff (including managers)

What we have accomplished:
All participants in the summer season as well as our year round staff undergo some form of EDIA training. All employees are compensated for their time. Below is a list of the trainings we offer, and for whom they are required:

  • Anti-Racism training
    • Full-time, year round staff
    • Trustees
  • Respect & Dignity in the Workplace training
    • Full-time, year round and seasonal staff members
    • Creative team members and artists
  • Best hiring practices training
    • Full-time, year round and seasonal staff members in positions that hire
  • Manager Training
    • All managers
  • Cultural Competency Training
    • Front of house staff, including volunteer ushers
  • Anti-Harassment training
    • Full-time, year round and seasonal staff members

Areas for improvement:
We aim to make unconscious bias training required for all Festival employees and rehearsal room teams (all cast, crew, and creatives of every production). We aim to make sure all of the trainings above are done on a yearly basis.

4. Build a more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist Board of Trustees

What we have accomplished:
In 2022, the WTF Board formed a committee for matters regarding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Cultural Transformation. This committee, now called the Anti-Bias Action Committee, meets quarterly and aims to not only increase diversity, equity and inclusion on the Board but also to work with and oversee the transformation of WTF into an organization that is more anti-racist and anti-oppressive. They work closely with the staff Anti-Racism Working Group.

As of 2024, our Board of Trustees is made up of 50% women and 13% people of color. The Board has established a formal Nominating Committee, which will ensure that the identification and cultivation of Board prospects includes clear outcomes related to anti-racist, anti-disciplinary, and anti-oppressive values and practices.

Areas for improvement:
The WTF Board has welcomed BIPOC and women-identifying trustees, and are working with the newly created Nominating Committee to expand our search for more BIPOC, industry and gender inclusive voices. In order to assess Board culture and commitment to the Standards of Service, we’d also like each Trustee to complete an annual self-evaluation, and third-party assessment.

5. Build diverse audiences and serve diverse communities

What we have accomplished:
WTF continues to participate in the EBT Card to Culture and ConnectorCare Card to Culture initiatives, created by the Mass Cultural Council in partnership with the Executive Office of Health and Humans Services’ Department of Transitional Assistance and the Massachusetts Health Connector, respectively, which offer significantly reduced price tickets to eligible households. Since 2022, WTF has created and used the affordable ticketing program AccessTix, which provides an entry-level price point of $30/ticket to every production.

Areas for improvement:
In 2021 and 2022, the Festival worked with audience development consultant Marcia Pendelton and Walk Tall Girl Productions to engage Black business, civic, and social leaders in the Berkshires and the Albany/Capital Region. With no productions in 2023, our audience development progress has been put on hold. It was recommended to the Festival that we think beyond the transactional discount ticket offer and identify ways to engage diverse communities, in their own community, using Festival artists. We hope to resume this work in 2024 as we return to producing productions and begin to execute our future producing model.

Our COMMUNITY WORKS program has been put on hold since 2022. We are hoping to bring back the program and expand efforts to build and grow meaningful partnerships with Berkshire-based organizations that serve constituencies historically underrepresented at WTF, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities and people with disabilities.

6. Reimagine and rebuild WTF’s training programs to be fair and equitable

What we have accomplished:
In 2021, WTF suspended the Apprentice Program and Internship Program, which previously charged participants for tuition, room, and board. These programs are currently being reimagined as opportunities for learners where cost is no longer a barrier and where work/life balance is a priority. The goal is to offer experiential training, networking, and career-building opportunities for early-career theatermakers in all areas of the field.

WTF took a step towards reimagining these programs with the Early Career BIPOC Theatre Makers program in 2021 in partnership with Black Theatre United, and the Summer Intensive Training Program in 2022 in partnership with Williams College. The last year that we had a non-equity company was the 2021 season.

Areas for improvement:
The redevelopment of educational programs and opportunities remains a core tenant and focus of the strategic planning process. For the summer of 2024, there will be some informal educational opportunities for our staff, such as talkbacks with industry professionals. Further expansion and inclusion of education is to be developed for future years, ensuring representation among cohorts.


WTF acknowledges that the work of becoming a more equitable, diverse, inclusive, accessible, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive institution is ongoing. Meaningful structural and cultural change happens over years and decades, not weeks and months. This Progress Report is a reflection of priorities in this moment in our evolution. We know that in this evolution, we will make mistakes, and we commit to learning and growing from them. This is a practice: working with discipline and diligence, guided by and accountable to our communities, creating structural and cultural change.

As we grow, we welcome input from all stakeholders—employees, trainees, artists, technicians, administrators, audience, Trustees, volunteers, the Williamstown community, and the theater community at large. We have been absorbing the valuable feedback to date, and the door is open to hearing how we can better foster a safe, respectful, and welcoming environment for all.

Find Us

By Phone: (413) 458-3200
By Email:
By Snail Mail: PO Box 517
Williamstown, MA 01267