Past Statement of Actions
December 6, 2021
The Arts Club is committed to these direct actions:
- Reviewing, updating, and publicly posting our Statement of Actions on an annual basis.
- Providing anti-oppression training sessions to our staff in the 2021–2022 season. These training sessions will focus on anti-racism, a deeper understanding of the broad spectrum of sexuality and gender, as well as a continuation of training in accessibility with our Accessibility Coordinator.
UPDATE: Our staff received training sessions in anti-oppression, anti-racism, and gender and sexuality facilitated by Bakau Consulting. Our Accessibility Coordinator, Amy Amantea, worked with our staff to provide general accessibility training as well as Sighted Guide training to our Front of House teams. As these sessions were recorded, new staff can be onboarded with ongoing access to this training.
- Working with BIPOC, LGBTQ2+, and Disability Communities, and organizations that work with these communities, to develop relationships and opportunities that lead to better representation in our artists, staff, teachers, students, and audiences.
Our Education Department is working with groups such as Jumpstart Refugee Talent, Ethos Lab, Sage Foundation, and The Afro News to provide educational programs that focus on leadership, community building, and teacher training. These initiatives aim to strengthen our connections with members of equity-seeking communities and provide individuals with entry points to participate in theatre—as patrons, artists, students, and staff. Our Artistic Department is working with our Community Liaison, as well as members of the theatre community to change and shift how we approach outreach, auditioning, contracting, and onboarding artists to make for a better environment for all who work with us.
UPDATE: Throughout the last year, we were able to collaborate on a number initiatives directed towards BIPOC, LGBTQ 2+ and disability communities. These included:
- Receiving a grant from Disability Alliance BC that allowed us to provide our first ASL Interpreted Performance for the play Kim's Convenience, and to provide close-range and pro-tactile ASL during a relaxed performance for the show. The Arts Club also offered two disability-specific workshops on acting and representation and a disability panel discussion on accessibility and inclusivity in theatre.
- The Arts Club collaborated with the Career Awareness program at VCC and was able to provide an internship and workshop that offered communications skills to neurodiverse students.
- In 2022 we celebrated queer and drag culture in the “Good Epiphany Cabaret,” hosted and curated by drag artist Rose Butch and took place in the days leading up to the Pride Festival in July. We hosted two hip hop and poetry events that celebrated Black artists, “Fros Fades and Braids” and “Unacceptable Views Amongst Friends.”
- We developed relationships with community partners by providing free leadership workshops to Ethos Lab and free theatre workshops to the Afro News and Sage Foundation.
- We partnered with the Museum of Vancouver to collaborate on mutual drag events from July to September.
- We collaborated on promotional partnerships with Afro News for Redbone Coonhound and Hapa-palooza (mixed-heritage festival) for Forgiveness.
- Incorporating EDIA practices in our hiring processes to support anti-oppressive working environments. Strategies include setting up a specific HR EDIA policy for all existing and future staff, onboarding training, and seeking out partnerships with organizations who work with equity-seeking communities to help diversify our workforce.
UPDATE: We have created an HR EDIA policy, which we to refer to as our anti-oppression policy, and outlined the steps for staff to take if anyone should encounter any discriminatory behaviour in the workplace. Staff now receive onboarding training with a variety of anti-oppression videos. We worked with an organization called Prime Mover Theatre in order to hire BIPOC staff for our performance of ‘da Kink in my Hair.
- Continuing our work with our Community Liaison and Accessibility Coordinator to ensure that our EDIA work is influenced and informed through lived experience.
UPDATE: Our Accessibility Coordinator, Amy Amantea, has been leading the way in looking at where the Arts Club can improve and develop its accessibility in many areas. This has included facilitating drama workshops for the disability community, working with administration, and providing space for workshops led by and for the deaf community, and organizing our relaxed performances. Omari Newton, our Community Liaison, has been working with our teams to develop our anti-oppression policy, as well as helping out with EDIA strategy initiatives moving forward, including the planning of some of our live community events.
- Continuing our work to make the Arts Club’s venues and environments physically accessible for patrons, staff, contractors, and artists.
UPDATE: In March 2022, we completed a feasibility study with DA Architects to consider our accessibility needs at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. We have identified three phases for capital improvements to make the Stanley more accessible. The first phase requires an investment of $437,400. The full scope of the project is estimated at $1,808,600.
We were able to install self-opening doors for entrances at the BMO Theatre Centre.
We have adapted our website to include image description, alt-text, and colour contrast to make the website more accessible for screen readers for our blind and partially sighted communities.
- Continuing to build the Denis Simpson Fund, an endowment dedicated to further long-term sustainable and systemic change on the Arts Club’s journey toward decolonization, through an annual fundraising campaign. In its first year, funding will support artistic apprenticeships.
UPDATE: The fund in the endowment now sits at more than $146,000 and we are hoping to receive matching funds this year from the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Cultural Incentives program.
We were successful in receiving a sponsorship from CIBC to fund BIPOC apprenticeships in 2023.
In 2022, Bonnie Mah funded apprenticeships for Kinky Boots. The inaugural Denis Simpson Fund recipients were K.P Dennis, Assistant Director for Kinky Boots, and Tina Chang, Assistant Musical Director of Kinky Boots.
- Continuing to develop a robust and effective company-wide mentorship/internship program to help provide entry points for equity-seeking communities. This will include paid opportunities for emerging or mid-career artists to assist in every element of the artistic process, as well as a company-in-residence program.
UPDATE: We have contracted BIPOC artistic apprenticeships through the Denis Simpson Fund. We worked with the CAP program at VCC and provided an internship for a neurodiverse student in the winter of 2022. We launched the Miriam Bennett Artist-in-Residence Program with inaugural playwright Ashleigh Giffen. We have been recipients of the Province of British Columbia’s Multiculturalism Grant for two artistic apprenticeships over the past two seasons.
- Adopting an anti-oppression policy as a guiding principle for staff, volunteers, artists, and all other people with whom we interact.
UPDATE: Our EDIA task force created an anti-oppression policy in 2022 that is now part of our Company Handbook. This policy outlines and defines what oppression can look like within working environments.
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