Theatre is an art form that asks and answers questions, and starts important dialogue between theatre artists, theatre companies, and their audiences. In these very divisive times, Theatre has the power to unite people. Our Theatre Community, along with arts organizations, both big and small, in the United States, and world-wide, are participating in this ever important dialogue to create accessible and inclusive theatres.
In theatre, implementation of access and inclusion removes barriers and ensures that every person who wants to participate as an actor, production team member, theater volunteer, or audience member is able to do that in the least restrictive environment possible. In theatre, these barriers might be physical-like stairs to a dressing room that an actor in a wheelchair cannot access, economic- a ticket price that is out of reach for a large family, or even a transportation barrier, in which an individual wants to participate in a production in some way, but cannot find transportation to do so, a particularly great concern in Omaha. It is important to remember that barriers can be visible, invisible, conscious, and unconscious and it is up to theatre artists and staff to collaborate and work to remove them.
The work of encouraging access and inclusion takes many forms. It is an ongoing and fluid process and as organizations, and humans, we are continually learning and growing along the way with this work. The Theatre Arts Guild believes we are in a unique position to be a voice in this important dialogue with our theatres and individual members. As an organization, we recognize the importance of examining how the Theatre Arts Guild can continue to become more accessible and inclusive and to help theatres in the Metro area do so as well.
The Theatre Arts Guild Board took some concrete steps this fall by forming our new Access and Inclusion Committee. It is open to any person, whether a member or non-member, who wants to contribute to their voice. We will continue to meet quarterly and also work online to be mindful of busy schedules. To help guide our work, we have reviewed the Theatre Arts Guild’s Mission Statement and designed a Statement of Access and Inclusion.
Theatre Arts Guild’s Mission and Inclusivity Statements follow:
TAG Inclusivity Statement
TAG Mission and Vision Statement: “To advance and promote live theatre and theatre practitioners in our community.
*Through educational opportunities
*Through awarding scholarships and grants
*Through our annual celebration of the theatrical arts”
As part of TAG’s purpose to advance live theater as a viable art form in the 21st century we strive to become a cohesive organization which promotes access, diversity, and inclusion in our artists, audiences, programs, theaters, board, and community at large.
We have determined the following programs to support TAG’s principals of equity, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality.
• Providing workshops and professional support for community at large
• Collaborating and Co-hosting forums
• Increasing awareness of work that is diverse
We want to emphasize that this committee is open to anyone who wants to help with this important on-going work. We look for diverse perspectives and backgrounds to ensure the participation of our diverse community.
There are many resources available to dig deeper into access and inclusion in theatre. The link below is an article for Howlround, written by Talleri McRae, an Access Specialist currently living in Louisville, Kentucky. The article focuses specifically on creating a space for actors with disabilities and it brings up questions and ideas that can be applied to different situations.