Anti-Racism and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Work

Black Lives Matter

Community Social Contract

For over 40 years, Gloucester Stage has been at the forefront in presenting socially relevant and intellectually stimulating theater on Cape Ann and the North Shore. In order to sustain that mission, we re-commit ourselves on a daily basis to advancing a culture of equity, removing barriers to entry, taking an active role in inclusion, and fostering diversity in every aspect of our operations and productions. GSC condemns racism and discrimination and seeks to eliminate all forms of bias in its artistic and professional endeavors.

Our Board of Directors, staff, artists and company members are committed to this culture of anti-racism, and we invite audience members, volunteers, and vendors to join us in our efforts to make a more diverse and brave space. When purchasing a ticket, accepting employment, or providing a service at Gloucester Stage, you agree to extend courtesy and respect to one another and avoid discriminatory acts or behavior.

Anti-Racism and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan

Approved by the Action Cohort 02.02.21
Endorsed by the Board of Directors 03.17.21

Gloucester Stage is committed today and in our coming seasons to engaging more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists, staff, audience members, and vendors, and to 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 effect change now and in the years to come. Thank you to leaders in our Boston Artistic community and We See You W.A.T. for challenging organizations to take this time to grow.

When using the term BIPOC, we do so in a broad and inclusive manner, to embrace not only Black and Indigenous Persons, but also the Hispanic/Latino and Asian communities and all other Persons of Color, acknowledging that not all people of color face equal levels of injustice. We are committed to sharing this Plan with the public and welcoming public input, realizing that this will be a living document that can adapt and evolve as our community requires further change. 


This document challenges Gloucester Stage to boldly represent the work of historically underrepresented individuals.  We undertake these challenges with a top-down commitment, expressed through this Plan by initiatives in three key areas:  People, Operations, and Artistic Programs. 

This plan uses A Framework for Action in Response to Moments of Outrage & Crisis created by OF/BY/FOR ALL and S.M.A.R.T Outcome Goals developed by Peter F. Drucker. Gloucester Stage recognizes and thanks Michael J. Bobbitt and New Repertory Theater who’s work and leadership in this effort have guided this plan.

Action Cohort:

To review this anti-racist plan and policy implementation, Gloucester Stage hired a team of artists, contractors, and board members and compensated them for their time. This team met virtually.

Action Cohort Members: Benny Sato Ambush, Marcella Barbeau, Lyndsay Allen Cox, Jacqueline Parker, and Ciera-Sade Wade. Facilitated by Michael J. Bobbitt, with staff participation from Robert Walsh and Christopher Griffith, and additional support from Board Members Grant Clark and Errol Smikle.



External – Immediate:

  • By October 2020, to guide policy implementation, GSC will engage an anti-racism consultant
  • By December 2020, to guide policy implementation, GSC will engage and compensate a cohort of seven artists, contractors, and board members (the Cohort), of which 75% will be BIPOC, to review and provide input for this action plan (the Plan)
  • By March 2021, to create public accountability, GSC will publish the final working draft of the Plan with the understanding that it is a living document. GSC will communicate the Plan to stakeholders and invite community feedback and response.

External – Longterm:

  • By May 2021, to build a culture of greater racial diversity and inclusion, GSC will require anti-racist training, using the format developed by IDEAA, for all artists, apprentices, staff, volunteers, and board members.
  • By May 2021, to encourage a culture of greater racial diversity and inclusion, audience members will be required in ticket purchase agreements to acknowledge and agree to abide by GSC’s Social Contract when on premises. This social contract will be accessible online.
  • By May 2021, to ensure equitable response if discriminatory behavior or harassment occurs, provide a conflict resolution path and training for “front of house” staff and volunteers – including uninviting any parties that violate the Social Contract.
  • Annually, to ensure accountability, GSC will meet with the Cohort to report progress, and to receive advice and suggestions on continuing to improve our performance and achieve the Plan’s goals.

Internal – Immediate:

  • By March 2021, to build a culture of anti-racism, GSC will include the duties of advancing racial equity and learning about racism as a part of every board and staff member’s job description.
  • By March 2021, to clearly communicate this anti-racism culture to future applicants, GSC will lead job postings and descriptions with an EDI statement; will remove all excessive education requirements; and will include a transparent compensation/salary amount in postings.
  • Starting March 2021, to support each individuals’ anti-racism learning, GSC’s board and staff will begin self-based anti-racism training, using the format developed by IDEAA and New Repertory Theater.

Internal – Longterm:

  • By March 2022, GSC’s board and staff will review all governance, financial, and operational policies and revise as necessary for consistency with this Plan, and to ensure that policies having discriminatory effect – even if facially neutral – are revised or eliminated to the greatest extent practical.
  • Annually, to support affinity spaces and peer connections, GSC will support staff as they connect to Boston-area networking and diverse spaces, reimbursing their travel.
  • Annually, to remain accountable, GSC’s board and executive staff will review and take responsibility for progress against the benchmarks in this Plan and to improve outcomes.
  • Annually, to place BIPOC community members in decision making roles, GSC’s Board will make recruiting and selection of BIPOC leaders to the board of directors a key priority:
    • Achieve a more balanced representation, with a goal of 50% BIPOC directors by the year 2025.



External – Immediate:

  • Annually, to encourage a culture of diversity in our community, GSC will begin requesting that all vendors have EDI policies in place before renewing contracts and GSC will actively seek out new BIPOC-led vendors.
  • Annually, to collaborate in our community with organizations leading anti-racism work, GSC will actively partner with area-wide affinity groups (StageSource, NEAT, BAMA, TCG, NNPN, etc.) to encourage anti-racism work in the theater industry.

External – Longterm:

  • By May 2021, to encourage a culture of greater racial diversity and inclusion, vendors will be required to acknowledge and agree to abide by GSC’s Social Contract while on-site at GSC.
  • By May 2021, to create safer creative workspaces, GSC will develop and inform all staff, apprentices, volunteers, artists, and technicians of the various means available for them to report any harassment and/or discrimination, without fear of reprisal.

Internal – Immediate:

  • Annually, to build an equitable culture, GSC will continue to compensate interns and apprentices at fair and supportive wages and stipends.
  • Annually, to financially support the commitments made in this Plan, GSC has set aside an additional budget line of $5,000 per year for anti-racism work and activities.

Internal – Longterm:

  • Annually, to provide broader perspective in all aspects of the company, GSC will prioritize the recruitment and hiring of BIPOC applicants to staff positions.
  • By May 2021, to build relationships with supporters at every financial level, GSC will create an equitable donor benefits program.
  • By November 2021, to increase access to careers in the theater sector, GSC will fund one or more apprentice scholarships for early professionals with financial need.
  • By February 2022, to ensure transparent and fair compensation, GSC will develop and implement a pay scale and benefits plan that is clearly communicated and equitable.



External – Immediate:

  • Immediately, to encourage and measure applicant diversity, GSC shall request BIPOC-status self-identification in our new play submission form.
  • Annually, to introduce our audience to more racially diverse and inclusive organizations servicing our community, GSC will partner with and highlight one racial equity, social justice, or human service organization per production.

External – Longterm:

  • Annually, to connect with more BIPOC storytellers, GSC will search actively for BIPOC representation in the form of playwrights and stories, and recruit their new play submissions.
  • By the 2022 Artistic Season, to provide our audiences with stories that reflect the diversity and richness of the BIPOC experience, at least 50% of the stories told during the Mainstage and NeverDark seasons shall be the works of BIPOC storytellers, and in particular, stories of joy.

Internal – Immediate:

  • For the 2021 Artistic Season, to provide diverse perspectives in the creative decision making room, GSC will recruit and hire designers, stage managers, and directors with the goal of placing one or more BIPOC artists on each production creative team.

Internal – Longterm:

  • By the 2022 Artistic Season, to provide affinity for BIPOC creators within their creative team, GSC will recruit and hire designers, stage managers, and directors with the goal of placing two or more BIPOC artists on each creative team.
  • Annually, to create safer creative workspaces, GSC will hire a BIPOC dramaturg on productions centering BIPOC stories, especially those requiring a unique racial personhood to be represented onstage.

Community Feedback and Questions

This is a living document that can adapt and evolve as our community requires further change. Your feedback and questions about these plans will be helpful as we do this work. Responses will be shared with the Action Cohort in the Fall.

Anti-Racism and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Plan Form



“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 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.

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.