Theatre Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging initiatives

Transforming the performing arts industry

The theatre program at Arizona State University is committed to becoming a leader in transforming the performing arts industry in ways that center inclusion, belonging and wellbeing for artists, activists and cultural workers. We live out this commitment through the programs and initiatives below, and we continue to pursue ways to deepen this commitment across our curriculum and producing work.

Safe Set

The Safe Set committee is a collaborative student, faculty and staff effort to center well-being, safety, belonging and joy in our spaces. 

We aim to transform our field to be more inclusive and safe, rather than to transform students to fit oppressive systems. 

We insist that artistic excellence depends on compassionate, humane and respectful work environments.

Commitments to Cultural Context

Written collectively by students, faculty and staff, the Commitments to Cultural Context (CCC), are a guiding set of principles that ground all of our work.

The CCC was designed to be brief, active, positive, forward-looking, flexible and accommodating of many artistic styles. 

Our community believes these commitments make it easier for us to bring our whole selves to our work, take artistic risks and support one another in growth even when that growth may be uncomfortable.


Our community commits to the following five contexts that inform all of our work:

 As a program located within a university, all of our work centers learning for all participants, especially students. 

Learner-centered work looks like:

  • Respect for our commitments to coursework.
  • Space for revision and discovery, which may include different timelines and expectations than professional spaces.
  • Respect that productions include multiple artists whose learning must be balanced.
  • Care and skill in giving feedback that supports student growth.
  • Treating students as valuable artists and collaborators right now.
  • Play selection guided by learning objectives, access and inclusion.

As practitioners of an art form uniquely centered in the human experience, we cultivate and honor our full humanity. 

Respect for humanity looks like: 

  • Centering emotional, mental, physical and cultural wellness for all participants.
  • Dismantling “the show must go on” attitudes. 
  • Supporting everyone’s accessibility needs.
  • Honoring our cultural and social contexts, including names, pronouns, heritages and ways of speaking and moving through the world, as assets to our community.
  • Engaging in antiracist practices, including decentering whiteness and creating inclusive space for multiple cultural traditions.
  • Centering human wellbeing in technological and process designs.

Autonomy and the right to consent are crucial to learner-centered, respectful, and effective work. 

Centering consent in our program looks like:

  • Clear parameters for physical intimacy, staged violence or triggering content.
  • Setting fair and clear expectations for work schedules. 
  • Opportunity to consent to any schedule changes.
  • Space to revoke consent, take a break or opt out of an activity without retaliation. 
  • The involvement of intimacy coordinators in every production.

Our program commits to operating honestly with one another. 

Transparency looks like:

  • Clear communication of expectations.
  • Decisions that may directly impact an actor’s person or a collaborator’s vision are clearly communicated to those impacted, including opportunity to consent.
  • Accessible, frequent and open conversations about program direction.
  • A designated cultural context representative for each show.

We commit to holding one another accountable and to being accountable to learner-centered, humanizing consent-based work. 

Accountability looks like:

  • Multiple options for sharing concerns, including anonymous options.
  • Clear and specific processes for responding to concerns.
  • Immediately addressing actions compromising the physical or emotional safety or wellbeing of company members, including actions that create an environment of racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism and/or other harmful biases, up to and including the removal of those violating this commitment.
  • Ongoing review of all areas of production for opportunities for improvement.
  • Specific, measurable and timely announcement of steps being taken to address issues. 

Additional resources


Additional initiatives that operationalize these commitments within both our curriculum and our producing work include:

  • Creation of a transparent process for graduate students to share their goals and desires for TAship assignments (implemented fall 2022).
  • Removal of barriers to funding access by instituting automatic consideration of all students for scholarships prioritizing financial need (implemented spring 2023).
  • Creation of a program-wide anonymous concern reporting system as well as published comprehensive concern resolution pathways for production and classroom issues (implemented fall 2020 and expanded in fall 2022).
  • Development of empathy-based conflict navigation training for use by staff and faculty across MDT in collaboration with ASU Counseling Services (developed spring/fall 2022, implemented spring 23).
  • Completion of a comprehensive revision of season selection process (completed in fall 2022, implemented spring 23).
  • Creation of new trauma-responsive and accessible audition and production team onboarding processes (implemented fall 2022). 
  • Implementation of inclusion and learner-centered theatrical production and labor policies (designed starting in spring 2019, implemented starting in fall 2020).