Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

City Theatre’s Response to

We See You White American Theater

November 10, 2020


On July 8, 2020, a coalition of hundreds of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) theater-makers from across the country released a comprehensive set of demands for moving toward a just and equitable American Theater.

The We See You White American Theater (WSYWAT) organizers invited City Theatre to make a public response about which Demands we would address first.
We have welcomed the opportunity to interrogate our organizational culture and practices. Over the last five months, City Theatre staff and board have crafted the following response. We remain immensely grateful to the WSYWAT organizers for their critical contribution to the field. We are confident the demands will prove a catalyst for transformational change for City Theatre and our peers around the country.
This response represents only our first step in what will be an ongoing, transparent process to becoming an anti-racist institution. We are grateful to the many individuals — from both within and without the organization — who shared their views and provided invaluable feedback regarding our response. We remain steadfast in our commitments to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and look forward to the accountability necessary to accomplish this work.
If you have comments or questions, email Managing Director James McNeel at jmcneel@citytheatrecompany.org



Statement from City Theatre, May 31, 2020

On Saturday, in Pittsburgh — as in over 75 other cities across the country — people exercised their rights of free assembly to protest the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many other black Americans who have endured immense injustice simply because of the color of their skin. This ability to peacefully gather is enshrined in the same First Amendment that provides artists the opportunity to freely create and self-express. We stand in solidarity with all who are working tirelessly to bring real social change to our country and fight racism wherever it exists.

While we are not so naive nor self-important to believe that the arts can change the world on their own, we are privileged with a platform and a voice that must work to celebrate diverse stories and tell the truths that are often hard and ugly. We are also in the business of empathy and enlightenment; and we have the unique opportunity to provide a lens into lives and experiences that are different from our own. We are committed to serving our community now and in the future with an unwavering dedication to equity, justice, and inclusion. Our hearts break for our artist, staff, and community members of color who continue to face intolerable systemic oppression. We applaud their strength and we share in their fight for a more just world.

And while we are unable right now to throw open our doors to the community due to the ongoing pandemic, City Theatre will again in the future. And when we do, the important work on our stages, inspired by our core values, will amplify those who are insisting on a better America and one where Black Lives Matter.

Many of our staff and artists marched on Saturday or have donated to critical causes leading these efforts and response. They have spoken of their own experiences or supported their colleagues’. We are grateful to the City Theatre family and their role in our Pittsburgh community. As a predominantly white institution, we must serve as allies for change while also acknowledging our own role in contributing to inequities in our society. We must listen more and recognize our mistakes; and be proactive in combatting hate and discrimination. If you would like to help or to learn more about the movement unfolding across our country due to the recent tragedies, we are sharing the following resources.

Stay safe; stay strong.

—City Theatre, May 31, 2020

Anti-Racism Resources for allies

Article from Pittsburgh-based artist TJ Parker-Young

Organization Links:

Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
Color of Change: https://colorofchange.org/
NAACP Pittsburgh Branch: https://www.facebook.com/NAACPPGH/
Pittsburgh Mutual Aid: https://www.pittsburghmutualaid.com/
1Hood Media: https://www.1hood.org/
My Brother’s Keeper Pittsburgh: https://pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/mbk/index.html
WWHAT’S UP Pittsburgh: https://www.facebook.com/whatsuppgh/