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Black Theatre United Releases Historic New Deal for Broadway

Michael S. Eddy, Stage Directions • NewsStage DirectionsTheater News • August 23, 2021

This establishes industry-wide equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging reforms for the theatrical industry

New York, NY—The Founding Members of Black Theatre United (BTU) announce the release of their historic New Deal For Broadway, establishing industry-wide standards and reforms around Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility & Belonging (EDIAB) with a focus on Black individuals in theatre. Developed from March through August 2021 in a summit organized by Black Theatre United which included key industry leaders across five working groups – theatre owners, producers, unions, creatives and casting directors – Black Theatre United’s New Deal For Broadway is a first of its kind document outlining both short-term reforms to be implemented prior to Broadway’s reopening in Fall 2021 and long-term reforms to be implemented in the next 1-3 years. The document details reforms in the areas of artistic culture, policies and cultural training, pipeline initiatives, audience development and community engagement.

Download Black Theatre United’s New Deal For Broadway here:
https://www.blacktheatreunited.com/new-deal/

The BTU Founders said, “Black Theatre United was proud to host this remarkable and historic collaboration. It is an important first step to reopening our industry with a bright spotlight focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging for Black professionals in the arts. Though one of many initiatives created by Black, BIPOC and allied organizations since the death of George Floyd, BTU’s Summit is the first to bring together all areas of our industry from theatre owners and producers to creatives, casting and unions. We are grateful to all those who have worked diligently with us for the last six months and to all those who committed to the principles of this document by signing their names to it. Special thanks to our collaborators Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow from the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at NYU School of Law for their facilitation, EDIAB training for all participants, and drafting of the New Deal.”

Led by NYU Law School’s Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Director Kenji Yoshino and facilitated by BTU Founding Members, attendees included representatives from The Broadway League (Charlotte St. Martin), Shubert Organization (Bob Wankel & Julio Peterson), Nederlander Organization (Nick Scandalios, Anthony LaTorella & Christina Selby), Jujamcyn Theaters (Jordan Roth & Hal Goldberg), Disney Theatrical Productions (Thomas Schumacher & Anne Quart), Circle in the Square (Paul Libin), Lincoln Center Theatre (Andre Bishop & Adam Siegel), Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes & Steve Dow), Second Stage (Carole Rothman & Khady Kamara), Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow), John Gore Organization/Broadway Across America (Lauren Reid), ASU Gammage (Colleen Jennings-Roggensack), The Telsey Office (Bernie Telsey), Tara Rubin Casting (Tara Rubin), X Casting (Victor Vazquez), Stewart/Whitley (Benton Whitley), Actors’ Equity Association (Mary McColl, Kate Shindle & E. Faye Butler), Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (Laura Penn), Local One IATSE (Eileen Macdonald, Bobby Score, Richard F. Rogers & Wilber Graham), Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Local 798, IATSE (Daniel Dashman & Angela Johnson), American Federation of Musicians Local 802 (Pete Donovan) producers Maggie Brohn, Stephen Byrd, Kristin Caskey, Liz Curtis, Sue Frost, Alia Jones-Harvey, Tom Kirdahy, Brian Moreland, Ron Simons and David Stone, directors Mark Brokaw, Rachel Chavkin, Lear DeBessonet, Michael Greif, Jerry Mitchell, Lonny Price and Charles Randolph-Wright, choreographers Christopher Gattelli, Denis Jones and Sergio Trujillo, designers David Brian Brown and Cookie Jordan and composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Tom Kitt, Robert Lopez, Zane Mark and Jeanine Tesori, playwrights Lynn Nottage and Doug Wright, and music directors Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Alex Lacamoire and Stephen Oremus.

The Black Theatre United commercial summit was funded by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation. Many thanks to the Tiger Baron Foundation for providing additional funding.

Passionate and committed, BTU’s founding group of actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers and stage management includes: Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Anna Deavere Smith, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Schele Williams and Vanessa Williams.

Awareness • Advocacy • Accountability
As members of the Black theatre community, we stand together to help protect Black people, Black theatre, and Black lives of all shapes and orientations in communities across the country.  Our voices are united to educate, empower, and inspire through excellence and activism in the pursuit of justice and equality. We will tell our stories, preserve our history, and ensure the legacy of Black theatre as American culture. Join us.

This call to action is just the beginning. It was the latest manifestations of police brutality that galvanized Black Theatre United into being. With roots reaching into all 50 of the United States this coalition can harness invaluable political scope and influence. To elevate a cause or to overturn policies that target black people in any one state or community, the group will draw on members with local connections to use their visibility and influence for good in theater and on the national stage.

 

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