Impro Theatre stands in solidarity with Black Americans and the fight for racial justice.
With the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black lives oppressed by and lost to racism, violence, and police brutality, it is important to amplify voices of action and voices of change and listen and learn. We are directing our audiences to organizations and people to help activate this change.
Here is a list of resources to support the fight against racial injustice in the United States.
Black Lives Matter
George Floyd Memorial Fund
I Run With Maud - Ahmaud Arbery Memorial Fund
Justice for Breonna Taylor - Breonna Taylor Memorial Fund
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB)
A List of Anti-Racism Resources
Impro Theatre recognizes that bold action is required to address the longstanding racial inequities in the arts community, in the United States, and in our own theatre. We have mirrored and maintained organizational structures that have perpetuated systemic racism and oppression in this country. The genres we have taught and performed reflect far too narrow a view of the human experience and exclude many perspectives. In the past, when brought to our attention, we failed to listen and act with urgency. We did not prioritize diversity and we were complacent in the status quo. We did not consider how our actions, and inactions, may have impacted our audience and community. We deeply regret it and are committed to change.
As theatre artists and as individuals, we are called to take immediate action. Impro Theatre is making anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) our number one priority to achieve essential and enduring transformation. To that end:
• The company ensemble has halted productions in order to create the time and space to engage in self-examination and education from experts in the field of DE&I, covering topics including unconscious bias and anti-racism. We will work with a professional DE&I consultant to create an action plan for diversifying the company ensemble.
• The Impro Theatre DE&I Action Committee, composed of representatives from the student body, company ensemble, faculty, administration, and board of directors, will provide transparency and accountability beginning with the release of committee meeting minutes. Members of the committee will serve as direct channels of communication for the people they represent.
• We will listen to and learn from our community and students via additional channels developed by our DE&I Action Committee, including but not necessarily limited to feedback surveys, anonymous reporting procedures, and a professionally facilitated town hall event.
• We will expand our faculty and our Board of Directors to embody and embolden people of diverse backgrounds and outlooks, including individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and people with disabilities.
• We will expand our Impro Studio Presents (ISP) program to develop new shows and genres based on the works of underrepresented artists including those who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and people with disabilities.
• The Board of Directors commits to increased fundraising to support the DE&I initiative and infrastructure to ensure that it remains a core priority now and in the future.
We recognize that this letter does not include explicit deadlines and operational details regarding these important measures. As specifics are considered and confirmed, we will update our community by releasing the minutes and outcomes of our DE&I Action Committee meetings.
We have work to do. We pledge to create a space where all people who love narrative improvisation can safely and freely express their unique stories.
- Impro Theatre
June 4, 2020