Anti-Racist and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Work

Black Lives Matter

STEP ONE: Engage an anti-racism consultant to guide anti-racist policy implementation, coach Gloucester Stage artistic & managing directors, approve anti-racism budget spending, recruit and hire action cohort to review Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion and Anti-Racism Plan.

Board approve an anti-racism budget for 2020 Final Quarter & 2021 Fiscal Year.

Eliminate all uncompensated internships and increase compensation for apprenticeships.

ACHIEVED: November 2020

STEP TWO: Meet virtually with action cohort of 7 to 9 artists, contractors, and board members, of which will be 75% BIPOC. Work on first draft of Equity, Anti-Racism and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion plan for review.

Action Cohort Members: Benny Sato Ambush, Marcella Barbeau, Lyndsay Allen Cox, Jacqueline Parker,  Dossy Peabody, Carole Shauffer, and Ciera-Sade Wade. Facilitated by Michael J. Bobbitt, with staff participation from Robert Walsh and Christopher Griffith.


STEP THREE: Publish the final working draft of this anti-racism plan & measurable goals, with the understanding that this is a living document. Communicate this plan to all stakeholders (artists, audience, volunteers, staff, vendors, etc.), and invite community feedback and response.

Continue to gather feedback and measure goals as Gloucester Stage looks to a new season in the summer of 2021

GOAL: January 2021

STEP FOUR: Actively work to achieve Anti-Racist Goals set out by Action Cohort, Consultant, and Staff.

In the Fall of 2021, reconnect and rehire the action cohort to review progress on this plan and develop action steps for continued growth.

What Action is Gloucester Stage Company Taking to become an Anti-Racist Organization?

Thank you to the individuals who spoke up and challenged us to act and disrupt business as usual at Gloucester Stage. We value the commitment on the part of our Boston colleagues and artists to encourage our vigilance in eliminating racism and appreciate your support in making real change.

Effective August 1st, 2020, Gloucester Stage is moving forward aggressively with our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion standards and Anti-Racism road map. We are committed to sharing this plan with the public by November 1st, 2020 and making space for public input thereafter, realizing that this will be a living document that can adapt and grow as our community requires further change.

The steps we’re taking right now and leading up to November, are to engage a consultant to lead this cultural change with us. The first draft of the EDI and Anti-Racism Plan has been written, and it is ready for BIPOC & LGBTQ+ artists, who have both worked with Gloucester Stage and who have been unknowingly disenfranchised by our systems in the past, to review, provide feedback, and guide change. We are grateful to artists who have had dialogue with us on social media and have offered to continue participating in this work with us. All artists will be compensated for their time.

Additionally, the cast of The Way North asked for more representation, now, in the storytellers we present this season. We responded to that challenge by producing Dominique Morisseau’s Paradise Blue. Further, we look forward to our 2021 season when we can engage more BIPOC artists, staff, and vendors to continue presenting stories that are representative of a much greater and more diverse experience. We are prioritizing this work and will be increasing our transparency as we affect change.

– Robert Walsh, AD

CONSULTANT: Michael J. Bobbitt

Michael is the Artistic Director of New Repertory Theatre in the Greater Boston Area and is also a director, choreographer and playwright. michaelbobbitt.com Michael J. Bobbitt joined New Repertory Theatre as an arts leader, director, choreographer, and playwright in 2019. Previously, he was Artistic Director for Adventure Theatre-MTC in Maryland since 2007, where he led the organization to be a respected theatre/training company in the DC region, as well as a nationally influential professional Theatre for Young Audiences. He led the company through merger with Musical Theater Center, increased the organizational budget (from $400K – $3M) and audience (from 15K – over 100K), commissioned 32 new works by noted playwrights, transferred two shows to Off-Broadway, built an academy, and earned dozens of Helen Hayes Award Nominations including eight wins. Bobbitt has directed/choreographed at Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, Olney Theatre, Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Center Stage, Roundhouse Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Opera. His national and international credits include the NY Musical Theatre Festival, Mel Tillis, La Jolla Playhouse, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Jefferson Performing Arts Center, and the Olympics. As a writer, his work was chosen for the NYC International Fringe Festival and The New York and Musical Theatre Festival. He has two plays published by Rogers and Hammerstein Theatricals. He trained at Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, The National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, and other top leadership programs. He earned the Excel Leadership Award (Center for Nonprofit Advancement) the Emerging Leader Award (County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities), and Person of the Year Award (Maryland Theatre Guide), among others.  He has served on numerous local and National boards.

We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, artists, volunteers, and audiences and condemn all acts of racism, discrimination, and senseless violence against the entire Black community.

Our mission statement is not just empty words – we’ve aligned our values with providing safe spaces, including diverse perspectives, and presenting socially relevant theater. Our entire community benefits from the African American performers, designers, and directors who bring our plays to life. Those valued members who make up the Company of Gloucester Stage, mean we have a responsibility to stand up right now and shout alongside them: Black Lives Matter.

Armed white men continue to provoke and project misconduct onto Black men & women who are innocent, and then use self-defense as justification to suffocate or gun them down. This is one part of an entire culture of systemic racism that must be dismantled.

Until the color of a person’s skin does not obstruct their freedom to live without fear in America, let us dedicate ourselves to justice.

“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity upon him.” -Bayard Rustin

We’re asking ourselves what we can do to increase the momentum of change?