Response and Commitment by Theatre Rhinoceros to the Charges and Demands Made by
We See You White American Theatre and The Living Document
Theatre Rhinoceros takes seriously the charges against the current theatre establishment in this country and the Bay Area as articulated in the We See You White American Theatre (WSYWAT) and Living Document statements. Our Theatre is committed to addressing demands subsequently made by the creators of these documents as they apply to Theatre Rhinoceros.
Theatre Rhinoceros is at the beginning of an in-depth, six-eight months strategic planning process, which will include a rigorous self-examination of its history and current practices impacting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the organization. The planning and examination processes will include external consultation with professionals who have a deep investment and connection to groups systemically marginalized in our culture, as well as who have expertise in guiding organizations in correcting their deficits and shortcomings in this area. Theatre Rhinoceros pledges to devise a strategic plan, drafted by within six months of the initiation of the process, that includes specific and measurable goals that target areas articulated in the WSYWAT and Living Document
demands (e.g., diversify staffing, diverse audience development, etc.).
Theatre Rhinoceros’s play selection continues to have the representation of queer lives at its core. The Theatre has planned its current season to include only queer plays written by and reflecting the lives of populations marginalized within the theatre and LGBTQ communities. The plays will be directed by and cast to accurately reflect the world and lives represented by the playwrights. These principles of inclusion and representation will continue to guide our artistic selection beyond this season. Our strategic plan will include concrete goals to make our future season planning and play selection a collaborative, equitable, inclusive, and transparent process, so that our artistic offerings accurately reflect the diversity of the Bay Area community.
Theatre Rhinoceros is committed to providing an anti-racist, equitable, and liberated organizational environment in which artists and staff can work and thrive. We expect all parties doing business with our organization to contractually commit themselves to these principles and to conduct themselves in such a manner. These principles and processes are included in every contract in which the Theatre engages. The Theatre has in place processes and protocols to address any concerns raised by artists or staff in relation to these issues. The processes and protocols are shared with artists and staff when they begin work with the Theatre.
Theatre Rhinoceros will continually seek feedback from artists and others who are involved in any full production we present. This will be post-production and will include multiple forms of feedback, many anonymous and always safe, to create opportunities for people to give honest and candid feedback regarding their experience working with the Theatre. The Board will take responsibility for collecting data and synthesizing it into a report to be presented to the full Board of Directors within two monthly Board meetings following the production. These reports protect the anonymity as much as possible of staff and artists who provide feedback. They will be attached to the minutes of the meeting at which they are presented.
Finally, Theatre Rhinoceros will publicly acknowledge (via its website, social media, and printed materials, such as programs) its commitment to the struggle for equity and liberation for all people involved in our theater, as well as our society. This will always include acknowledgement that we carry out our work on land violently appropriated from the Ohlone people of the Bay Area and, when appropriate, will specify the Ramaytush, Chochenyo, Karkin, Yokuts, and Muwekma tribes. The Theatre pledges to intentionally include artistic representation of Indigenous people in its programming as it makes its artistic offerings accurately reflect the diversity of the Bay Area community.
Theatre Rhinoceros was established over 40 years ago with the vision that queer people, as a population marginalized or ostracized by society, need space in which their artists can create and produce. Likewise, queer audiences deserve to see their lives represented on stage. Our history reveals an evolution in our consciousness to include BIPOC artists and audiences in our mission. This remains our commitment. The WSYWAT and Living Document statements, however, remind us that we still have far to go in creating a theatre that is truly inclusive of everyone in the LGBTQ+ communities. We take up the call from these statements to challenge ourselves to be a truly inclusive and representative artistic space of the queer community.