Everyone is welcome at actors gym.
For over 25 years, Actors Gym has worked to expand human potential through the joy and inspiration that only circus can offer. We believe that everyone should be able to access our programming and to experience the life-changing effects of discovering that you are capable of more than you imagined.
However, we have fallen short of fully realizing this mission and seek to acknowledge the harm caused by some of our past and current practices. We are committed to the ongoing re-evaluation of our organization through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in order to minimize future harm.
Actors Gym aspires to become an anti-racist organization that works to recognize and dismantle the systems of oppression that hold so many members of our society back from achieving their potential.
We believe that everyone, no matter their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, and ability should feel welcome when interacting with our organization.
To that end, 36 members of our staff, board, and faculty have been working with Jessica Vann at Creative Spaces Consulting this year to develop a DEIB strategic plan. Over the last year through a series of workshops and targeted breakout sessions, we examined our practices in three groups: policies/procedures, curriculum/programming, and marketing.
Through this process, we’ve created an initial list of commitments to help Actors Gym better align its organizational practices with the change it seeks to make in the world. In order to provide visibility and invite community feedback, we’ve published our commitments below.
Policies & Procedures
- Create and publish new mission, vision, and values statements that reflect Actors Gym’s commitment to being an organization that is anti-racist and committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
- Formalize the process for hiring future Executive and Artistic Directors and ensure that the board considers a pool of applicants that is at least 50% BIPOC.
- Create a new onboarding process for employees and faculty, including a new employee manual and a cultural onboarding process that highlights each individual’s responsibility for upholding the organization’s DEIB commitments.
- Clarify and expand the organization’s communication channels to ensure that everyone in the organization (staff, students, parents, etc.) knows who to talk to about issues concerning the organization’s DEIB commitments, no matter where an issue lies, and build proactive systems of accountability to prevent harm from occurring in the first place.
Curriculum & Programming
- Create and publish a transparent pay scale and process for achieving raises for recreational teachers.
- Rewrite our education manual to include DEIB resources and the teaching practices that will inform all of our programming.
- Invest in teacher training that covers anti-bias, de-escalation, conversations around consent, and working with students of varying abilities.
- Evaluate our performance and production processes to make hiring and casting practices more equitable, including expanding the pool of performers and designers that are considered.
- Provide opportunities for a wider range of internal stakeholders to offer input on the Gym’s marketing efforts, with an eye towards reaching more diverse audiences.
- Increase the visibility of our faculty on our website and make it easier for students to choose classes based on instructor.
- Reinvest in and streamline our outreach program as we emerge from the pandemic with the goal of reaching new communities through our offsite classes and workshops.
- Highlight public transportation options in our marketing materials and provide assistance to students and families for whom transportation is a barrier to accessing our programs.
- Further streamline our financial aid application and make the process clearer.
* * *
These commitments have been officially approved by our board of directors, which has committed to participate in and monitor their progress.
This list is partial, and we acknowledge that this work is only a start and part of a broader, ongoing commitment to making Actors Gym more inclusive.
If you have any feedback or questions about our process or commitments, please don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com.