Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA) at Chautauqua
One of Chautauqua Institution’s core shared values is “The dignity and contributions of all people.” As a values-driven organization, Chautauqua sees IDEA as firmly rooted in the mission of the Institution, and it directly correlates with the vision and objectives set forth in the organization’s 2019–2028 strategic plan, 150 Forward.
Click the link below to view Chautauqua’s 2022-2024 IDEA Plan and a full list of resources representing the institution’s collective efforts to welcome and celebrate diverse communities and individuals to our grounds and programs.
An Open Letter Regarding Chautauqua Theater Company’s Commitments to Racial and Social Justice through the lens of IDEA
December 1, 2022
To Our Communities:
Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC) is dedicated to becoming a national home for exciting new plays: commissioning, developing and producing established and emerging American playwrights. We are where the finest artists of tomorrow bridge the gap between their training and the professional world. CTC is actively building the future of the American theater. In doing so, we aim to create space for culturally specific storytelling that leads to dialogue, understanding and empathy.
In 2020, CTC’s leadership responded to the rise of both racial division and racial consciousness in our nation with a letter to We See You, White American Theater, a Black Lives Matter statement and consciously programmed stories that centered Black experiences. Now, under new leadership, we are renewing our commitment to racial and social justice. Below are the actionable steps that will challenge us to continue our mission in aligning our work with our values, and Chautauqua Institution’s overarching Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Plan, which calls us to do the following:
Objective No. 1: Enhance the organizational, staff and board culture to further embody IDEA work
Objective No. 2: Engage patrons and Chautauqua Institution community partners to enhance their ability to welcome diverse populations to the grounds and beyond
Objective No. 3: Build relationships, experimental pipelines and collaborations to welcome more diverse populations to our grounds and programs
Objective No. 4: Review current policies, programs and procedures to identify barriers to IDEA and create short- and long-term plans to address them
Objective No. 5: Enhance the Institution’s year-round presence and expertise in IDEA convening authority via greater presence in the local/regional community and via collaborations with businesses, professional organizations and non-profits
As the resident theater company of Chautauqua Institution, we will put the following items into action to fulfill these objectives:
- Through our selection of programming in our 2023 summer season and beyond, we will explore ways to transcend divisions and seek greater understanding of opposing or different viewpoints.
- While applications are open, CTC leadership will start hosting information sessions with the goal of providing transparency regarding the professional and cultural benefits and challenges of life on the grounds at Chautauqua, and within the region at large.
- We will ask our audience to grow with us by curating talks with special guests at a selection of our performances, inviting our community to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of marginalized populations — both historically and currently — on- and off-grounds.
- “Brown Bag” conversations, post-show talkbacks and panel discussions will be thoughtfully designed to allow audiences to engage in dialogue regarding IDEA issues and how they might help in creating a more inclusive and welcoming Chautauqua for all.
- We will work toward producing more accessible performances in the future, such as “relaxed” performances for those with sensory sensitivities. We will also investigate the structures and resources needed to provide live captions and audio descriptions for performances in the future.
- More resources have been directed toward our Young Playwrights Program, allowing for greater engagement with the local student population.
- We will return to offering a touring production in 2024, with the goal of engaging with the larger Chautauqua County communities.
- We will begin to support the development of new work year-round by opening our spaces during the off-season for playwright residencies.
STAFF & CONSERVATORY
- CTC will continue to cover application fees and offer housing, scholarships and travel stipends to remove systemic barriers to our competitive conservatory and fellowship program.
- To create an inclusive environment among peers, all staff, guest artists, designers and leadership will engage in our weekly company meetings and all IDEA trainings provided by the Institution and the company.
- CTC will continue to host affinity group activities during the Summer Assembly.
- We are developing procedures for our front-of-house staff, company management staff, and administrative leadership to respond quickly and effectively to exclusionary, discriminatory or harassing behavior, and especially so when targeted toward historically marginalized populations.
- IDEA goals and initiatives will be built into the evaluation structure for CTC leadership.
CHANGES AT BRATTON THEATER
- Braille programs will be available upon request.
- Lighting on the walkways, stairs and porch surrounding the theater will be improved for the 2023 season.
Access to the arts is of the utmost importance to us. Therefore, CTC is actively seeking to create meaningful partnerships with local non-profits, industries and businesses that employ and serve marginalized demographics. As we grow our partnerships with local organizations, please check our Partnerships page to see a full list and details of these relationships.
If you have any suggestions of organizations we should partner with, or would like to partner with us, please contact us at email@example.com.
We recognize that this work will be ongoing and is in partnership with all our stakeholders. As we continue to learn, we will adjust our plans. Please check back at the end of every year to see a transparent view of what we were able to accomplish and what initiatives we will need to re-examine.
Thank you for your patience and partnership as we grow together.
Jade King Carroll
Producing Artistic Director
Arts Marketing Specialist