The Williamston Theatre is a professional Equity theatre whose mission is to offer audiences a diverse array of intimate storytelling experiences. This mission is guided by four core values: Excellence, Inclusion, Creating a Sense of Place, and Sustainability. This mission statement is supported by the following objectives: to be an integral part of the cultural fabric of Michigan; to pursue innovative collaboration in every aspect of our work; to establish a home for Midwest artists; to engage audiences of diverse ages, cultures and economic backgrounds.
We believe that theatre can enrich our lives and make a positive difference in our community, both culturally and economically. We believe that theatre should be accessible and affordable to everyone, whether they live in a large coastal city or a small Midwestern town. We believe that there are voices in the Midwest worth hearing, and our goal is to create moving, entertaining, professional theatre for, by and about this part of the world.
Dated February 8, 2021
Williamston Theatre acknowledges that we are a predominantly white organization and, despite having good intentions, we exist in a world in which systemic racism exists, and we have been a part of it. This has led to an atmosphere where our Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander and all colleagues and patrons of color have been unintentionally excluded, silenced, and made to feel unwelcome or unsafe.
In an effort to be better and broaden the voices represented by and included in our work, we commit ourselves to the work of becoming an actively anti-racist organization, and to creating a culture of inclusivity and equity. These efforts will be supported with the following points:
We stand with those calling for more diversity in the theatre and commit to seeking out and creating more work that represents the racial diversity of our community.
We commit to an increase in recruiting and hiring of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander and all artists of color in all areas of production.
We commit to creating a safe and welcoming workspace for all artists.
We commit to rejecting acts of racism by artists, patrons or supporters. In support of this effort, this statement will be posted in artist work spaces and publicly in our lobby for patrons.
We commit to acknowledging that Williamston Theatre is located on the traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of Indigenous people who were forced from their homes. An acknowledgement of this will be posted in our lobby and on our website.
We commit to being open to discussion about this policy, and being held accountable by our community and our colleagues. This statement is the beginning of our improvement, not the end.
In an effort to continue our growth and improvement in all of the areas listed above, we’re taking the following actions:
Effective immediately, all Staff Meetings and Board Meetings will have an agenda item labeled “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” to ensure that we are regularly evaluating our efforts and progress in these areas.
WT will be scheduling workshops for our staff, led by local experts, in the areas of Implicit Bias, Multicultural Self-Awareness, Cultural Competency and related areas. The first series of these will be undertaken before the theatre returns to operation (hopefully by Summer of 2021), and additional regularly scheduled workshops will be required attendance through each season moving forward.
As we continue forward in season planning and play selection, deliberate action to include reading and producing more plays written by playwrights of color will be taken. Although our immediate upcoming lineup is largely decided and paid for (due to the uniqueness of the Covid Pandemic era we are in, and the subsequent delay of productions already paid for), a broader and more diverse array of playwright voices will be required reading for our process as we move forward.