Canadian Stage stands in solidarity with Black and Indigenous artists, staff members, and community members who are in profound pain. The trauma of living multi-generational lives of systemic inequity, injustices, violence, the erasure of identity and voice is a direct result of racism.
As a cultural institution, we recognize that Canadian Stage has an important role to play in the dismantling of systems of injustice and violence. Although we - the board and leadership at Canadian Stage - aspire to create spaces of safety, we acknowledge that we have not lived up to this aspiration. We have been complicit and have benefited from systems that were designed to perpetuate barriers of access to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). Excellence in white artists has been privileged and prioritized over excellence in BIPOC artists thereby creating an environment of systemic oppression and inequity for Canadian Stage staff, artists and audiences since its inception over 35 years ago.
We have a lot of work to do to dismantle the systems of inequity deeply embedded in Canadian cultural institutions. The identification and dismantling of barriers require intentional and sustained efforts from Canadian Stage’s leadership. As an organization, we are immediately implementing the following:
The engagement of a professional Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppression trainer specialized in delivering this work to Canadian cultural institutions. Training will be delivered to all Canadian Stage staff, board members and volunteers.
The research and development of a comprehensive and robust Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion plan that will articulate clear and measurable goals. The plan will be co-created in close collaboration with staff, board and artists.
As a civic institution, our legitimacy is predicated on our ability to authentically and meaningfully reflect the stories, ideas, concerns and priorities of the communities we have been entrusted to serve.
We acknowledge and commend the artistic contributions and activism by Black and Indigenous artists and staff members at Canadian Stage for over 35 years and particularly at this very difficult time. We recognize the incredible resilience it takes to show up and do the work while carrying such a heavy psychological load.
We, the leaders of Canadian Stage, stand in solidarity with Black and Indigenous members of our community and the Black Lives Matter movement.
We are committed to making Canadian Stage an anti-racist organization and an equitable and inclusive cultural institution. We look forward to sharing our growth with you.
Brendan Healy, Artistic Director
Monica Esteves, Executive Director
The Board of Directors of Canadian Stage
(updated July 9, 2020)