Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Tarragon Theatre – Jan 20, 2021

Indigenous Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. 

Tarragon Theatre relies on a strong relationship with its loyal subscriber base and audience, and a vital partnership with talented artists. These relationships and partnerships can only thrive when everyone feels welcome and safe within our institution. 

The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our society, the continuing fight for Indigenous rights, and the expanding recognition of the Black Lives Matter movement, have led us to question, reflect upon, and examine the systems, power dynamics and unconscious biases that have upheld white supremacy in our industry and our institution. We have a better understanding of why there are those in our community who have not felt welcome or safe within our walls. 

Our initial response to the Black Lives Matter movement didn’t adequately respond to the issues and the needs of our community, and we want to do better. 

All of us – leaders, staff, board – have learning and unlearning to do, and we are committed to engaging in anti-oppressive work practices and developing policies that will lead to a more equitable and inclusive Tarragon. Over the past six months, we have launched internal processes to support effective change within our organization and have initiated learning and culture shifts that impact our current activities, including our search for a new Artistic Director.

As part of our commitment to transparency, we will update this web page regularly with information about the specific internal processes underway. The following lists the steps we have taken since last summer:

Education: On August 31, 2020, we launched internal Equity Diversity and Inclusion training for both the Tarragon staff and Board of Directors with Rima Dib of [email protected] This training is ongoing and is providing crucial learning for the organization. It has also fostered increased communication between the board, staff and some artists, so that this work can be understood and implemented across the organization in a more coherent way.

Collaboration: In October, we struck an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee that includes members of the Board, staff and playwrights-in-residence. This committee is examining our internal practices and policies around our work culture to make it more inclusive and ensure that we are representative of the community in which we work. 

Examination: We are in the midst of launching an internal audit to examine in quantitative terms how IBPOC voices have been represented and served by Tarragon; this information will help guide future policy decisions. 

Financial Commitment: As part of a $100,000 additional investment in playwright commissions this season, we have prioritized and commissioned new play development from IBPOC playwrights. Investing in IBPOC playwrights will remain a priority in future.

We are dedicated in the long-term to ensuring our theatre is an inclusive workplace, especially in this period of artistic transition for Tarragon, and we commit to keeping you informed of our progress. While the labour of learning and change is ours to do, we welcome feedback, questions and criticism at [email protected].

Elaine Stavro, President, Board of Directors
Richard Rose, Artistic Director
Andrea Vagianos, Managing Director

And the Tarragon Board of Directors:

Adam Bryk, Treasurer
Anne Bermonte
Naomi Brown
James Buchanan
Brendan Dellandrea
Kamala-Jean Gopie
Jenny Gumbs
John McKellar
Suzanne Murphy
Joan Pierre
Katherine Pollock
Laurence Siegel
Heather Yamoah
Walter Yim