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Strawdog Theatre Company Accountability Statement

Strawdog Theatre Company has been proud to be a prominent fixture in the Chicago Storefront Theatre Community for over 30 years. We have shared hundreds of bold, dynamic stories with our community through our signature ensemble-approach. Throughout our history we have attempted to give you the whole wide world in a little black box.’

Today we wholeheartedly admit that we have fallen quite short of that goal.

We have missed opportunities to tell and amplify the stories and voices of our fellow BIPOC artists and Chicago community. We have allowed ourselves to be distracted from our past diversity initiatives. We have listened, heard and we have failed to act. 

Our failure to act ends now.

The people of Strawdog Theatre Company – Our Ensemble, Our Staff, Our Board – stand firmly against racism and our complicity in the historical silence that perpetuates it. We acknowledge our privilege, our biases, and the societal systems that have allowed us to be a mostly white theatre company in Chicago for over thirty years. We pledge to root out the systemic weeds of racism in our organization and actively cultivate a future of Antiracism in our community. ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER. As we move forward, we will amplify and advocate for our fellow BIPOC Artists and theatre professionals.

We are recommitting to our core values of ENSEMBLE, COMMUNITY, CHALLENGE and GENUINE CONNECTION by infusing them with the value of ANTIRACISM.

We are currently setting goals and timelines related to:

  • Internal Antiracist/Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training/education
  • Revising our DEI Standards and Code of Conduct
  • Reviewing and updating our core values. 
  • Building an equitable BIPOC presence in our ensemble, staff, board and on our stages/production teams
  • Increasing programming of BIPOC-centered stories
  • Providing transparency regarding our funding, board affiliations, salaries, hiring and budgets
  • Devising more humane, inclusive production schedules to promote accessibility
  • Investigating ways we can change our budgeting model to improve compensation for artists/collaborators
  • Connecting our anti racist work to our current audience and community while cultivating a BIPOC audience and community

We will publish updates - including actionable, measurable steps - on this page as soon as possible. We hope you will visit this space frequently to share your thoughts, ideas and feedback as we bring our ensemble-approach to this vital community work. We invite you to hold us accountable. We invite you to join us in this work as we establish our goals, carry out our initiatives and; most importantly, bring illumination and amplification of the WHOLE wide world.

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Note: This statement is in direct response to the call for anti racist work in theater organizations. We also continue to be committed to addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion relating to gender parity, the LGBTQIA+ community, and all other marginalized groups.