In June of 2020, we pledged to listen, to learn, and to support; we, our staff, and our board continue to do this separately and together. We are exploring the deep and painful history of violence and injustice against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in America and in Ireland, and we see how institutionalized racism has permeated our own practices.
We need to change.
We acknowledge that we have presented the Irish identity as “white,” a whiteness that is reflected both off and on our stages. But in fact, to be Irish is to be part of a vast and varied community – from the dynamic global diaspora of multi-racial people with Irish heritage, to the growing population of non-white citizens of Ireland. Today, we pledge to reflect the complexities of that shared heritage and history, and to tell the stories of Irish and Irish- American people of all races, genders, abilities, and orientations.
As an Irish institution, we acknowledge the particular responsibility that we hold in the telling of anti-racist stories, both through the many intersections of Irish- and African-American history – tragic and joyful – and the history of Irish theatre itself. Irish theatre historically was developed as a tool of revolution – an artistic call to arms from the voices of the oppressed. We pledge to commit ourselves not just to the stories of our past, but to the intent behind them of gaining equity, understanding, and power for all.
We recognize that we are late in addressing these issues and are now purposefully working, and will continue to work, for change and equity on our stages and behind our scenes.
Equity and Inclusion as it relates to our mission
Through our mission, we have established ourselves as an authority on Irish and Irish-American identity, but we have not reflected the changing, multi-racial identity of Ireland, as well as the complex and varied identity of Irish-Americans of all races, genders, abilities, and orientations. With this understanding, we recommit to our mission and pledge to stand by it as we seek stories that expand and challenge our previously narrow definition of what it means to be Irish.
Irish Repertory Theatre pledges to extend our commitment to expanding the Irish identity on our stages and to diversifying our hiring practices in administrative, production, and creative employment decisions. In that regard, we plan to work with outside professionals to ensure we implement appropriate practices as new positions become available.
We pledge to work to avoid any unconscious bias in our hiring practices, and we will work internally and externally to evaluate our culture in an attempt to root out systemic racism and ensure a workplace environment that is warm, safe, and welcoming for all.
Action Points as of March 2021*
- We have established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of both staff and board members that meet regularly.
- The group is currently focused on anti-racist and DEI practices and policies. Its role is to create a curriculum for anti-racist/DEI education within the board and staff and identify opportunities for increased anti-racist practice in all aspects of business.
- This committee will be a permanent addition to the Irish Rep board structure.
- Committee updates will be a permanent addition to the agenda of every Irish Rep board meeting.
- The Irish Rep board will add a new annual meeting, inviting all Irish Rep staff for a full review of DEI actions and policies in practice.
- We will require formal training for both the board and staff in anti-racist and DEI work.
- We will host quarterly discussions on special topics related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility with outside speakers. These discussions will be open to the Irish Rep board, staff, and artists.
- We will work with outside professionals to ensure we implement inclusionary hiring practices as new positions become available.
*This is a living document. Further action points will be added as they are undertaken.