In September 2016 the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres launched a major, highly collaborative program focused on increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout Canada’s theatre sector: All In.
All In: A National Equity, Diversity & Inclusive Initiative
All In is a capacity development program unique to Canada’s professional arts environment. It promotes a Social Justice framework that gives equal importance to the barriers and inequities experienced by all equity-seeking communities, and offers multi-versal world views from which we can all learn about and from each other’s different cultures, customs and norms.
The ultimate objective of All In is to develop a national cohort of arts equity facilitators and advocates, who will collaborate on:
- Increasing the reciprocal participation of equity-seeking artists and companies
- The potential for equitable cross-cultural collaboration
- The promotion of a truly diverse theatrical landscape
Also key to the success of this initiative has been PACT’s collaboration with municipal and provincial theatre associations. These associations came together in January with the Board of Directors of PACT to pilot an adopted EDI framework and training method through an introductory EDI capacity development training session. There was a wholehearted commitment by all to continue with this approach as part of a larger national initiative.
PACT, in collaboration with the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and Theatre Ontario, presented another pilot workshop in July to assess the efficacy of the training and to begin participation of Toronto cohort members. Participating in July were representatives from a variety of theatre companies including Black Theatre Workshop, Buddies in Bad Times, Cahoots Theatre, Canadian Stage Company, Necessary Angel Theatre, the Randolph Academy, Shaw Festival, Soulpepper, the Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre, the Theatre Centre, Young People’s Theatre as well as funder and community organizations such as the Associated Designers of Canada, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Theatre Ontario, the Toronto Arts Council and the Metcalf Foundation.
Building on the success of the first two pilots, PACT is proud to fully launch the All In program with EDI capacity development training in regions across Canada in collaboration with local cohort leaders. This is Phase I of what one of the participants describes as “a truly unique, highly impactful national arts equity initiative.”
PACT gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council in making Phase One of All In: A National Equity, Diversity & Inclusive Initiative.
For more information please contact Sara Meurling, Executive Director.
All In Across Canada
All In is a two-three year initiative that begins with an introduction to anti-oppressive practice and foundational knowledge workshops supported by embodied exploration/discovery, addressing issues of institutional bias, the development of individualized organizational action plans, with a program of coaching and shared learning networks. All In will also develop a national cohort of arts equity facilitators and advocates, who collaborate on increasing the reciprocal participation of equity-seeking artists and companies the potential for equitable cross-cultural collaboration and the promotion of a truly diverse theatrical landscape. In 2017, the lead program facilitator was Michele Decottignies of stageleft/Deaf, Disability & Mad Arts Alliance of Canada/Calgary Congress for Equity, Diversity in the Arts.
Toronto and Ontario
Both Toronto and Ontario All In cohorts will be made up of the senior artistic and administrative leadership of participating organizations, and members participating must be able to commit to the attached schedule of activities. Current Toronto participating organizations include Canadian Stage Company, Young People’s Theatre, the Theatre Centre, Tarragon Theatre, Soulpepper, Necessary Angel Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, Cahoots Theatre and the Randolph Academy; confirmed participation for the Ontario cohort includes the Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival.
If you are interested in becoming a member of either the Toronto or Ontario cohort of theatre companies, please submit an application to be considered for inclusion. There are no fees for the selected member companies to participate in this workshop.
Plans are being made to bring All In to other regions across Canada. If you are interested in helping bring All In to your region please contact Sara Meurling, PACT’s Executive Director.