On June 1, 2020 Prospect shared a statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.  We are committed to being an Anti-Racist organization, and to working for positive change within our field and our organization.  We affirm our belief in the vision of a more equitable and just community, and our intention to create an inclusive space for making and sharing musical theater. 

During June and July, a Board committee convened to develop a detailed Anti-Racism Action Plan, which we share below.  We recognize that this work is an ongoing commitment to self-examination and organizational assessment, so that we may identify and change practices that contribute to a culture of white supremacy.  The following initial statement is a "living document" which may be updated as our work proceeds.

PROSPECT THEATER COMPANY

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

Prospect is committed to the ongoing practice of fighting racism, and to being an Anti-Racist organization.  Anti-Racism is defined as the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life.

 

Prospect recognizes that its founding artists, staff leadership, and board members are predominantly white, and acknowledges the long history of racist systems and white privilege within the theater industry.  We take responsibility for identifying and changing Prospect’s institutional practices that are informed by and uphold a culture of white supremacy.  We have not amplified Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artistic voices with the full strength and awareness that we can, and should.

 

As a follow-up to our statement of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and commitment to work towards a more equitable and just theatrical community, Prospect formed an Anti-Racism Committee comprised of Staff and Board Members, Co-Chaired by Stephanie Grayson and Jesse L. Kearney, to meet regularly and maintain focus on progressing towards our goals. As a first step in an ongoing journey, we have identified the following actions, which we will take in the immediate future, and continue throughout the year:

 

ARTISTIC COMMUNITY:

  • We will establish an advisory council of BIPOC artists and other BIPOC members of the Prospect community, to ask for feedback, actively examine past organizational practice, and envision new practices for the future.

  • Members of this council will engage in discussion around all aspects of Prospect’s mission to develop and produce new musicals, and create platforms for emerging artistic voices.

  • We will determine, along with members of the advisory council, appropriate ways to acknowledge the group for their time and energy in contributing to a more inclusive and welcoming Prospect community.

 

STAFF ENGAGEMENT:

 

  • Prospect will conduct an internal audit of its past hiring practices over the past five years, to build a base of data about our staff and artist community.

  • We will assess the number of BIPOC artists and staff involved in Prospect’s programs, and compensation rates across all programs. This data will inform our budgeting and planning practices moving forward.

  • We will research and put in place stronger avenues for recruitment and advertising future job opportunities, when they become available, using a wider net to source candidates (including outreach to HBCU).

  • We will explore best practices to provide Anti-Racism training for Prospect’s ever-evolving network of project-based staff and artists, and create strategies and opportunities for engaging our community in this work.

 

BOARD ENGAGEMENT:

 

  • At the Board of Directors level, Prospect will provide Anti-Racism training and other educational opportunities for its current Board members (which include the company’s Senior Staff leadership).

  • We will expand Board membership to include greater representation from the BIPOC community.

  • Anti-Racism work will be an ongoing agenda item at Board meetings, not only a committee effort, with regular check-ins on progress towards our goals.

 

OUTREACH AND EDUCATION:

 

  • Prospect will assess its educational outreach activities, exploring ways to engage with more and more diverse student communities and early-career professionals.

  • We will investigate ways, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to offer educational opportunities for Prospect’s predominantly white audiences to learn about systemic racism and how it impacts theater.

  • These opportunities will be offered to the Prospect artist alumni community as well.

 

PROGRAMMING:
 

  • The work outlined above with the constituencies of Prospect’s Artistic Community, Staff and Board, and those we connect with through Outreach and Educational efforts, will have a direct impact on Prospect’s future artistic programming, as we adapt artistic output during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.

  • We will increase focus on amplifying Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artist voices creating new musical theater, not only through developmental programs, but in fully-produced endeavors.

  • We will explore additional performance venues, which may make the company’s work more accessible to expanded artist and audience communities. We will work to assure a positive experience for BIPOC artists and audiences entering each rental performance space.

  • We will build on Prospect’s commitment to working equitably with partner organizations and affinity groups led by BIPOC artists and change-makers.

Prospect acknowledges that mistakes and missteps in its Anti-Racism work will be inevitable, but we pledge to listen and learn from BIPOC members of our community as we progress in this work. We will annually review and update the above list of action items and goals, with a first full review to occur in July 2021.

In our initial work, we have learned that understanding terms is an essential first step!

Click here for a Glossary of Racial Equity Tools.

Prospect Board and Staff members have supported social change through contributions to the following organizations. Please visit their websites:

 

American Civil Liberties Union

Black Lives Matter

Black Theatre Commons

Campaign Zero

Center for Black Equity

Color Of Change

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

Grassroots Law Project

NAACP

The Okra Project

Southern Poverty Law Center

For white members of our community, click here to access some starter resources for self-education.