Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism
We recognize that racism and xenophobia have been historically inherent in musical theatre and opera. As faculty, staff and students working together, we seek to identify and eradicate those areas of our curriculum, teaching, performance and practice by centering our work on diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism.
Through meaningful feedback and conversation among faculty, staff, students and alumni, we have identified the following commitments that we will take on immediately as an area. Everything is a work in progress, and this list will be added to and revised as we continue to have conversations, evolve, remain transparent, hold ourselves accountable and incorporate this work into all we do.
Culture and structure
- Establish an ASU chapter of “C.A.R.E.” (Creatives for Artistic and Realistic Equity) as a coalition and support network for students to work closely with faculty and staff to promote and strengthen diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism in the areas of music theatre and opera. C.A.R.E. platforms will be easily accessible, included everywhere students receive information about Music Theatre and Opera rehearsals, classes, productions, schedules and more.
- Keep diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism at the center of all our conversations as we move forward in creating new curricular and administrative structures in the new School of Music, Dance and Theatre.
- Identify music theatre and opera faculty, staff and students that will be actively involved in school-wide efforts, including serving on the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
- Create an on-going system through which individuals may anonymously and safely report concerns and microaggressions that can be addressed within our area. The system will ensure transparency and accountability and be widely advertised and available on all internal communications to ensure accessibility for all students, faculty and staff to report. This and additional resources for reporting will also be provided, as well as links to the ASU Title IX policy and protection against retaliation.
- Continue to support and also expand the Student Leadership Team to ensure student opportunities and input in auditions, season selection, student-led productions and other area efforts and initiatives, and figure out how students may be compensated for their work and involvement in change.
Teaching and Learning
- Ensure all students and faculty/staff receive training in diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racist practices in performing arts through the hosting of regular workshops and guest artists (two to three per semester) with distinct themes and/or keynote speakers, and integrate these practices and learning opportunities into our core curriculum, which may be offered in collaboration with other areas and the school-wide committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
- Work with faculty and students to create regular community conversations and team-building events and exercises, involving all in supportive learning conversations centered on diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Continually re-evaluate all we do in order to prioritize resources of time, talent and money toward efforts that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and provide transparency in where resources are being spent.
- Work together to thoroughly investigate and eradicate systemic racism in curricular structures of music, dance and theatre.
- Provide Mental Health First Aid certification to faculty, staff and students who are interested.
- Provide training for students, faculty and staff in Intimacy staging, and engage Intimacy coordinators for productions where appropriate
Auditions and Casting
- Ensure diversity among our creative teams and that there are people of color meaningfully and regularly involved in the casting of all productions and, if necessary, engage diversity consultants in casting of productions.
- Continually revise audition language and processes to increase accessibility, providing educational resources in auditions to help students navigate the requirements, and publicizing resources for funding for college auditions.
- Establish and maintain equitable protocol for recorded auditions, as well as financial assistance for students unable to audition due to financial hardship.
Programming, Productions and Seasons
- Ensure that at least 50% of our complete seasonal offerings include works that involve composers, lyricists/librettists and writers from under-represented groups including women and people of color, as well as LGBTQ+ authorship where representation is concerned.
- Work with our students, faculty and staff to ensure our complete season offerings are providing equitable casting opportunities for all students.
- Establish on-going multi-year commissions of new work with composers, writers, lyricists/librettists of color centered on creating suitable casting opportunities for students and involving students in the creative process from inception to premiere.
- Carefully plan our marketing efforts in order to project all voices and all projects equitably, including faculty and student led productions, cabarets, recitals, collaborations, readings, student/alumni features and more.
- Produce an annual Color Cabaret to help increase opportunities for composers, lyricists/librettists and performers of color.
- Produce an Alumni Cabaret centered on diversity, equity and inclusion, using proceeds to raise scholarship funds for students of color.
- Establish a cohort of artists of color locally and nationally who can be regularly and meaningfully involved in our season as directors, choreographers, music directors, designers and guest artists in an ongoing way.
- Ensure that our social media is projecting all voices and fully reflects and celebrates who we are and all we do.
- Collaborate with our alumni involved in United Colours of Arizona Theatre and throughout the community to foster ongoing conversations between faculty, alumni and current students centered on diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism.
- Engage in additional and on-going partnerships with community organizations and arts institutions, including youth and educational programs and organizations focused on representation, to co-create and co-design mutually beneficial opportunities for learning and community engagement.
- Work with our partners in music, dance and theatre and across the school to create and adopt a land acknowledgement that would be shared and visible for all public events and put forth in all our work and projects, particularly those centered on anti-racism and dismantling oppression.
- Create and foster spaces and systems that support students, staff, faculty and audience members with disabilities and neurodivergencies.
- Hire additional faculty positions focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in our curriculum and training and increasing the presence of people of color among our faculty.
- Increase access and stream-lined support for obtaining internal and external funding for efforts focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Hold live auditions throughout the country and provide opportunities for video auditions in order to increase accessibility.
In order to hold ourselves accountable and provide transparency, we agree to:
- Equitably putting forth all our efforts and initiatives on our website, in social media, news media and other public-facing areas.
- Disclosing admissions data and demographics of our students and faculty.
- Provide an annual written report that evaluates all we do in any single season to address each of the items above, as well as an opportunity to revise this document together, and regularly add other initiatives in order to remain flexible, adaptable and current in all our practices.
- Annually update this website and all of the above information to provide transparency and opportunity for feedback, including from students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community.
Transparency, feedback and reporting
Any comments, ideas or feedback on this page or any of the efforts above may be directed to any of our Music Theatre and Opera faculty and staff, School of Music, Dance and Theatre leadership, Herberger Institute leadership or:
ASU Student Services includes safe reporting mechanisms, Counseling Services, Disability Resources, Health Services, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Student Advocacy and Assistance and more.