September 23, 2021

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How theater is racist and how it can change – diversity

3 min read

Looking for racism in the theater industry? It’s not hard to find, according to veteran stage executive Stephanie Ibarra – because it appears wherever you look.

Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:

“There are so many ways that as theater customers and playwrights we are completely, unknowingly included in a set of behaviors and beliefs and practices,” Yabara says in the latest episode of Stagecraft. Diversity‘Theater Podcast. Now the artistic director of the Baltimore Center Stage and co-founder of the Artist Anti-Racism Coalition, Yarbar aroused widespread activity and reflection throughout the industry before the protest against the assassination of George Floyd, working towards anti-apartheid theater practice.

“One of the more infamous ways white supremacy, especially in our theatrical practice, is shown is the idea: sit quietly in the dark, ‘humbly’, and remember your manners when the work of art is performed before you, and do not disturb it,” he said. Explained. “That behavior has hierarchy” “

Informed by his experience as director of the mobile Shakespeare unit of the public theater, as well as through workshops at the People’s Institute of Survival and Survival, Yabara has already come to her role on the Center Stage with anti-apartheid work in mind. “One of the first things I see when it comes to combating racism, [in terms of] Where systemic inequalities can be managed: Generally, if you look at a budget, you will find inequalities.

One of the places he visited was the center stage tiered fee system – a broad practice that paid artists working in less space than those working in the theater’s larger auditorium. Performers on the center stage were paid equally wherever they worked, but not so with directors and designers. “What happens is artists get paid less, the idea is that the theater can’t make as much money in those small spaces,” he said. “But where you see where production is taking place, then you start to see economic inequality and wage gaps start to emerge.”

With this in mind, Yabara and his executive team mapped out a plan to change it. “We can’t fix it in one fiscal year, but my executive director and I have paved the way towards equality,” he said. “We created a set of production budgets and parameters that prioritized increased fees for our designers and managers, and we did it within the overall cost reduction for our production. Like everyone else, we had to cheat pennies and have what you have, but we Taking risks on the land before closing the gaps and then creating a production budget, it was no hard conversation. “

Stagecraft also recalled some of the biggest lessons he learned in his time with the Yabara Mobile Unit, pointing to some racist blind spots working in the theater industry and explaining how the current moment has affected his anti-Semitism. Racist work.

With new episodes of “Stagecraft” becoming bipartisan during the summer, the weekly schedule resumes this fall. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere the subtle podcasts have been distributed. Find past episodes here and on Apple podcasts.

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