Greetings & Happy New Year WTFers!
We\’re off and running for 2020 with so many projects. If you want to see the latest updates, check out our NEWSLETTER and subscribe if you haven\’t already!
However, all of our projects, no matter how noble or exciting or artistically excellent, mean nothing if we aren\’t doing our part to make the ecosystem of the triangle theatre community grow. It has become increasingly evident to me and WTF\’s board of directors that, as an organization, we haven\’t been a very good partner, ally, or friend to many of the other theatre groups in our community. My top priority coming into this year is to rectify that. The board and I are analyzing and creating new policies geared at strengthening relationships with other theatre companies and uplifting and amplifying the work that is being done all around us to promote equity.
One theater group that we have not been the best at supporting is North Raleigh Arts & Creative Theater. We have drafted an open letter to them as a first step and look forward to building collaboration, partnership, and friendship between our organizations in 2020.
Dear friends, supporters, and community members,
It has come to the attention of the Executive Board of the Women’s Theatre Festival that the results of our theatre equity study in the Triangle area deliberately misrepresented the efforts and commitment to diversity of some local theatre companies. In particular, North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre was referenced by name as an organization failing to employ at least 50% women+ in their productions.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In the past five seasons, NRACT has actually been a leader in gender equity both on and off stage. For example:
The 2014-2015 season was led by a female Artistic Director, and employed women+ as Assistant Directors, Stage Managers, Choreographers, Lighting Designers, and Costume Designers in at least 50% of its shows. One third of the shows that season were written by female playwrights.
The 2015-2016 season saw greater than 50% of Director, Assistant Director, and Costume Designer positions filled by women+. The season also included two shows with entirely female casts, and three other productions with majority female casts.
In the 2016-2017 season, women+ directed 80% (8 out of 10) of NRACT’s productions. Female Stage Managers and Costume Designers worked on at least 50% of the season’s shows.
Women+ filled the majority of positions as Directors, Stage Managers, Lighting Designers, and Costume Designers in the 2017-2018 season.
In 2018-2019, women+ once again represented more than 50% of Director and Costume Designer roles; in fact, two-thirds of these positions were filled by women+.
In the current 2019-2020 season, NRACT once again has the majority of its shows directed by women+.
In the past five seasons, NRACT has employed 16 individual women+ Directors. And women are once again slated to direct the majority of productions for the 2020-2021 season.
NRACT has one of the most diverse Boards in our performing arts community, with 65% women+ and 40% people of color. WTF is looking to NRACT as an example to follow in this regard.
Recently, members of the Women’s Theatre Festival Board met with the NRACT Board to apologize in person and to begin building new partnerships. However, it was also deeply important that we apologize publicly and attempt to heal any harm that may have been caused to NRACT’s reputation as a leader in equity and diversity in the Triangle.
We sincerely regret the mistakes that led to false statements being made against NRACT and look forward to celebrating the advances made towards the goal of 50/50 representation. We hope that WTF’s supporters will join us in seeing NRACT’s upcoming production of Bourbon At The Border, which is written and directed by women+.
The Executive Board of the Women’s Theatre Festival