Past Statement of Actions
December 1, 2022
The Arts Club strives to be kind, clear, and fair employers, creating a home for talented staff whom we value, develop, and retain. We are committed to fostering a welcoming, supportive, and creative place for artists—to be an incubator where artists create exceptional work fully reflective of our community. We seek to have a culture that crackles with positivity, a generosity of spirit, and a willingness to engage with difficult content and conversations.
We want to learn more about people’s experiences at the Arts Club and, with this knowledge, explore where there are barriers to inclusion within the company—including those created by systemic racism. Our job is to take this information and create strategies to improve our working practices so that we can move forward and build bridges for the future.
The Arts Club is committed to these direct actions:
- Reviewing, updating, and publicly posting our Statement of Actions on an annual basis.
- Reassessing our anti-oppression policy every year to make sure that our best practices evolve over time. This policy will be integrated as the guiding principle for staff, volunteers, artists, and all other people with whom we interact.
Anti-oppression is now part of our Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination policy and is included in our employee handbook which is regularly reassessed to make sure the language is up-to-date. Artists who work in our spaces are also involved in discussions about our policies as well as Equity’s Not in Our Space program to ensure that these environments are safe and supported by Arts Club staff.
- Continuing to provide anti-oppression training to our staff in the 2022–2023 season. This training is part of the onboarding process for all staff with opportunities provided to review, discuss, and receive feedback on the concepts and issues presented in order to better integrate anti-oppression best practices into our work environments. This will also include training in decolonization practices and increasing our understanding of truth and reconciliation with Indigenous communities.
For the 2022–2023 season, our Cultural Community Liaison created an onboarding training video to be shared with new and existing staff that focussed on anti-oppression strategies and awareness in a theatre environment.
We also were excited to work with the Indigenous-led organization, Host Consulting, who led two sessions for our staff on understanding colonialism and reconciliation. We were also grateful to receive training from Musqueam artist, Quelemia Sparrow on how to create and use more meaningful and action-based land acknowledgements.
- Working with BIPOC, LGBTQ2+, Indigenous, and Disability communities, organizations that work with these communities, and artists from these communities to develop relationships, opportunities, and practices that lead to better and more authentic representation in our artists, staff, teachers, students, programming choices, and audiences.
- We will regularly review the groups that we’re working with to see what communities we may be missing and where intersectionality may lie amongst them.
- We will seek opportunities within our existing programs to amplify the voices of artists from equity-deserving communities to create platforms for under-represented stories and experiences.
For the 2022–2023 season we worked with partners such as the DABC (Disability Alliance BC), Realwheels, VocalEye, and the VCC CAP program to offer accessible performances, education and work experience opportunities, and community engagement events. We also worked with a variety of organizations including the North Fraser Métis Association where we partnered in providing a safe space for Indigenous youth interested in exploring drama and taught by Indigenous instructors.
We were also excited to provide additional events around our shows to celebrate equity-seeking cultures. This included the Indigenous Stew Pot cabaret in the spring of 2023 which featured local Indigenous artists to complement the Arts Club’s production of Rubaboo and the “Crip Cabaret: A Reclamation!” along with a Disability Artist Market which showcased artists from the disability community during the run of Teenage Dick at the Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.
- Incorporating EDIA practices in our hiring processes to support anti-oppressive working environments.
- We will provide onboarding training and seek out partnerships with organizations who work with equity-deserving communities to help diversify our workforce.
- We will create clear expectations at hiring that the Arts Club is a safe workspace and our teams align to this commitment.
- We will work with organizations to ensure that we are aware of and are following best practices when engaging with various equity-deserving communities.
We participated in three round tables led by Cultural Human Resources Council where we explored practices and trends in equity and inclusion in recruitment and onboarding in arts organizations across the country.
We also participated in sessions with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion to identify challenges in EDIA operational practices in our working environments.
The Arts Club’s staff received training in looking at the history of colonization and started the conversation on strategies on decolonizing practices with Host Consulting; and Indigenous led consultancy group in the spring of 2023.
- Continuing our work with our Community Liaison and Accessibility Coordinator to ensure that our EDIA work is influenced and informed through lived experience. We also commit to developing our work with our Indigenous communities by hiring an Indigenous Community Liaison to help with creating relationships and meaningful ongoing dialogue in partnership with the nations whose territories upon which we do our work, namely the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh.
We hired an Indigenous Engagement Coordinator in fall of 2023 and are excited to begin the process of looking at how we can move forward in our relations with our host nations.
Our Community Liaison provided our staff with anti-oppression in the workplace training called “P is for Privilege.” And our Accessibility Coordinator continued with staff with accessibility initiatives and strategies to provide more accessible entry-points for our patrons as well as supporting straining our front-line staff with Sighted Guide training.
- Continuing our work to make the Arts Club’s venues and environments physically accessible for patrons, staff, contractors, and artists.
For the 2022–2023 season the Arts Club continued to actively fundraise for making our spaces more accessible. This year we piloted open captions during for selected performances of Elf at our Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. We are also researching other accessible technologies for the Deaf and hard-of hearing communities. For the Newmont stage, we have doubled our capacity for accessible seating from 4 to 8.
We also held a “relaxed” version of our general auditions to meet artist’s access needs, and to open opportunities to artist who routinely face barriers to the audition process.
The Arts Club is aware that our venues are showing their age. Our beloved flagship venue the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage is a 1930s heritage building with many of its features from the late 1990s. We are committed to making all our venues more accessible, and our attention is currently on the Stanley. We were recently successful in receiving funding to start making minor accessibility improvements at our flagship venue, the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. We are continuing to fundraise the remaining money needed to make larger accessibility improvements to the exterior of the theatre, interior theatre space, and lobby area including the washrooms.
- Building the Denis Simpson Fund, our endowment dedicated to long-term sustainable and systemic change on the Arts Club’s journey toward decolonization, through an annual fundraising campaign. This fund focusses on supporting employment opportunities for emerging BIPOC artists.
The DSF now sits at $184,000 and distributes approximately $5,500 each season to IBPOC/BIPOC artists. Each August, we continue to dedicate the month for growing this fund.
- Formalizing a robust and effective company-wide mentorship/internship program that includes providing entry points for members of equity-deserving communities. This will include paid opportunities for emerging or mid-career theatre practitioners to collaborate in every element of working for a theatre company.
While we continue to offer internships, co-placements and mentorships, we have yet to secure stable ongoing funding to assist with this endeavour.
As the Arts Club's leadership team, we stand by these actions, we believe in forward movement, and we will continue to work closely with outside organizations as well as our EDIA group, comprised of a diverse selection of our dedicated staff, to ensure that this work remains at the forefront of our minds.
Ashlie Corcoran, Artistic Director
Peter Cathie White, Executive Director