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Diversity, Equity
& Inclusion

Diversity,
Equity &
Inclusion

OUR COMMITMENT

In recognition of the essential examination of systemic racism and injustices, we at Geffen Playhouse commit to continued analysis and expansion of our own institutional practices in order to be part of the solution. Our vision for the Geffen is that people of all races, faiths, sexual orientations, abilities, genders and backgrounds find it an easily accessible and highly relevant source of art that reflects the dynamic human experience and galvanizes a more equitable and vibrant community. In adopting this statement, we are amplifying our strategic and ongoing commitment to improving and increasing the cultural diversity, equity and inclusion of our audiences, staff, artists, board, and programming. Read Full Policy

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Contact the DEI Committee

Our Action

Being committed is taking action. Being committed is a willingness to learn, grow and evolve as an arts organization, embracing myriad points of view that reflect the inherent diversity in every community. One of our first action steps was the formation of a Geffen Playhouse Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in October 2020, made up of Geffen artists, staff and Board members. The Committee meets on a regular basis and provides input and insight for all facets of the theater, ranging from the art produced on our stages to individual employee programs.

Since its formation, the Committee has been responsible for the creation of our DEI statement, developing and implementing a formal, accountable company-wide Diversity and Equity Policy, as well as bringing new voices and perspectives to the Geffen family with Community and Conversations guest forums and a book club focused on relevant works.

DEI Committee

Gil Cates, Jr. (Staff), Clay Dzygun (Staff), Merle Dandridge (Artist/Board), Ross Jackson (Staff), Tiffany Mayberry Co-Chair (Board), Patricia McGregor (Artist), Alex Norkus (Staff), Jeni Pearsons Co-Chair (Staff), Holly Rice (Board), Matt Shakman (Staff), Cela Sutton (Advisory Board), Eugene Young (Artist)

Action Steps

Our Action Steps include, but are not limited to:

  • We have hired Diane Burbie and The Aspire Group, a leading consulting firm based in Los Angeles, who specializes in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training and organizational effectiveness. This partnership includes staff training sessions and meeting with artists to address and assess needs in the rehearsal space.
  • In keeping with the Geffen’s DEI commitment, policy and goals, we will continue to recruit and hire individuals representative of the breadth of diversity across our communities, for both Geffen management and staff.
  • We are in the process of hiring sensitivity consultants in conjunction with our newly integrated intimacy coordinators to be in rehearsal. We will also work with directors and stage managers to assess needs for safe rehearsal spaces.
  • We have developed a written code of conduct that all staff and artists are required to sign and abide by. This code of conduct requires respect in all spaces, and outlines a clear reporting, investigation, and resolution process. We acknowledge that no two problems are the same, but all need to be addressed in a prompt, thoughtful and thorough manner to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone that engages with the Geffen.
  • We have partnered with a human resources director who is accessible to staff and artists and will be brought in on day one of rehearsals to meet the members of each production.
  • We have reinforced and implemented new protocols for reporting when issues and problems arise during production or otherwise. These include:
    • Providing staff and artists with contact information for the following parties so direct communication is possible at any time: Stage management, company management, the artistic staff and producers, human resources, and the executive team.
    • We created a dedicated call line for those who wish to make a report and remain anonymous. This line will be monitored solely by our human resources director. Retaliation will not be tolerated against anyone who raises a concern, makes a report, or cooperates in an investigation.

This list will be updated with new developments/actions steps as they happen.

Our work is ongoing. Our priority is to create, nurture and support a safe and inclusive space for all artists, employees and patrons. This work includes internal reflection and critical analysis of our own environment and practices in order to evolve and move forward as an arts organization for all communities. As part of our ongoing reevaluation and reexamination of the organization, we continue to conduct regular assessments with staff, our Human Resources Director, our DEI Committee and The Aspire Group to develop and implement meaningful Action Steps to support our overall commitment to inclusivity and safety in the workplace.

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement

OCTOBER 11, 2021 — Today, we honor and celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day while reflecting upon our own role in a complicated and often devastating history of oppression enacted upon diverse populations of Native people in Los Angeles and beyond. Geffen Playhouse acknowledges and is grateful for the sacred Indigenous lands belonging to the Kizh, Tongva and Chumash Nations upon which our playhouse sits. As an institution of art and culture, we are working towards being a space where Native voices can be uplifted, amplified, and heard.

You can also learn more about the Native land you occupy here: native-land.ca/

Ongoing Commitments


As a way to engage staff, board, artists and community members, two programs have been developed to continue dialogue and thought-provoking conversation.

COMMUNITY & CONVERSATIONS

In-depth conversations centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion in all facets of theater-making. Geffen Playhouse has hosted four events since January 2021. Past guest speakers include Snehal Desai (Executive Director of East/West Players) and Clint Ramos (Tony Award-winning designer).

BOOKED

A reading initiative and speaker series for Geffen Playhouse staff, board, community partners and artists. Past guest speakers include Kamilah Forbes (award winning director & producer), the late Greg Tate (writer, musician, and producer), and Marc Bamuthi Joseph (poet, dancer, playwright & TED Fellow).

Please join us and sign-up for notification about upcoming Geffen Playhouse DEI news & events.

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. KendiBetween the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Past Guest Speakers

GREG TATE — IN MEMORIAM

Greg Tate was a leading voice on contemporary Black music, art, literature, film, and politics since launching his career at the Village Voice in the early 1980s. He moderated conversations around Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me for Geffen Playhouse's first Booked event, a reading initiative and speaker series for Geffen Playhouse staff, board, community partners, and artists.

Art Lives
Here

Art Lives Here

Geffen Playhouse has comissioned four artists to create an original art work to be displayed in our lobby welcoming back audiences this fall to celebrate our 25th Anniversary Season. We celebrate the diversity in our audiences and our productions, and it is our mission to create, foster and nourish an environment that is open and welcoming for all.

Learn More

Art Lives
Here

Art Lives Here

Geffen Playhouse has comissioned four artists to create an original art work to be displayed in our lobby welcoming back audiences this fall to celebrate our 25th Anniversary Season. We celebrate the diversity in our audiences and our productions, and it is our mission to create, foster and nourish an environment that is open and welcoming for all.

Learn More

Cultivating Community

As a non-profit organization, Geffen Playhouse has a deep commitment to sharing outstanding theater with everyone. Our entire city benefits from thought-provoking and inspiring performances, regardless of race, faith, sexual orientation, ability, gender, background, or the ability to purchase tickets. Geffen Playhouse’s education and community programs provide long-term, in-depth access to current and next generation theatergoers and instill a love for theater that will last a lifetime. Learning experiences and theater-making opportunities are designed to deepen program participants’ meaningful connections to the plays they attend, their sense of agency as thinkers and communicators, and their sense of community — with each other, the Geffen, and Los Angeles County.

Education & Community Programs

Artist Voices

Geffen Playhouse is proud to support artists and present works reflective of our shared experiences. By amplifying traditionally underrepresented voices in theater, we can together create art that is more vibrant, more meaningful, and more inclusive of our community.

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QUESTIONS?

Contact the DEI Committee