DIVERSITY & ACCESSIBILITY

 

A NOTE FROM OUR ARTISTIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

June 29, 2021

In preparation for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (“Orange Shirt Day”) Bygone’s Artistic Executive Director, Emily Dix, has re-read the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action report.

 

In searching for a way that we, as a small non-profit theatre, can best support these practises, we found that call to action number 79, under Commemoration, stood out most. It reads;

 

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal organizations, and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration. This would include, but not be limited to:

  • Amending the Historic Sites and Monuments Act to include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representation on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and its Secretariat.

  • Revising the policies, criteria, and practices of the National Program of Historical Commemoration to integrate Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada’s national heritage and history.

  • Developing and implementing a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, and the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canada’s history.

Bygone Theatre's current mandate can be read here.

A key part of our mission and mandate is the connection of audiences to “parts of our past that remain relevant today”, and clearly the treatment of Indigenous Canadians, both past and present, is something that should be at the forefront of Canadian heritage and commemoration. While we cannot change Federal or Provincial policy (at least not yet!) we can ensure that our practises align with these goals.

 

Going forward, Bygone commits to the following in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action:

 

  1. To include for artists and audiences, relevant Indigenous history whenever we make a presentation, production or program that cites or explores a particular place or time in Canada.

  2. To, within the next three years, hire an Indigenous artist as a consultant to help us examine and possibly revise our policies and practises to ensure we are acknowledging and respecting not just Indigenous people and their history, but their unique values, memory practises and artistic practises that could benefit our future works, regardless of subject.

  3. To acknowledge that racism and unfair practises on behalf of the government and largely our society as a whole, have, whether intentionally or not, disproportionately affected Indigenous Canadians and deprived them of opportunities that their fellow Canadians have enjoyed.

 

As a first step, we will now be offering free tickets to Bygone produced productions and workshops for all those who self-identify as being of Indigenous descent.

 

Additionally, we will continue to honour our commitment to accessibility and diversity as written on June 30, 2020.

Emily Dix
Artistic Executive Director
Bygone Theatre

BYGONE THEATRE DIVERSITY & ACCESSIBILITY STATEMENT

OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY

Auditions & Casting
  • 50% of all audition slots will be reserved for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour)

  • Our Diversity & Accessibility statements will be included on all audition postings

  • We will begin our casting process earlier than we have in the past in order to make time to submit postings to diverse communities currently outside of our network

  • We will continue to provide character breakdowns that do not include physical attributes or race (unless essential to the story) and will promote colour-conscious casting

  • Casting will prioritize actors that have the shared experience of the character ​​


Rehearsal Process​
  • The first day of rehearsal will include a talk about equity, diversity and inclusion​

  • All cast members will be required to sign a contract that includes a code of conduct which addresses equity, anti-racism and sexual harassment - this will include a clear structure breakdown for a complaint and resolution process

  • Should we produce a show that centres around a character or story about a diverse community, we will hire a consultant or creative team member from that community to address any issues both in the play and the rehearsal room

 

Production Process​
  • We will prioritize the hiring of female, LGBTQ2+, Mad/Disabled and BIPOC production artists*​

  • We will prioritize businesses run by women, LGBTQ2+, Mad/Disabled and BIPOC folks when purchasing items for our company or productions

  • We will research the companies that we patronize to ensure they have values consistent with our own

*At the time of writing Bygone Theatre is without any consistent funding, and so our productions rely heavily on the support of volunteers. When we achieve a status that allows us regular operating funding we will re-address this and make a more concrete commitment to diversity numbers, but at the moment many roles are filled by our Artistic Executive Director (who often produces, directs and designs our shows) and whomever chooses to volunteer.

OUR COMMITMENT TO ACCESSIBILITY

Auditions & Casting
  • We will provide accessible auditions by prioritizing accessible spaces, and, when not available, allowing self-tapes or other opportunities for audition submission

  • We will clearly state the accessibility issues with any space we use, and will provide accommodation whenever necessary

  • We will clearly state all accessibility issues and potential solutions on all casting and production calls - for example, roles that can be fulfilled from home or that can be completed on a flexible schedule​ will be stated clearly so as to encourage those with accessibility issues to apply

  • We will continue to hold rehearsals in spaces that are accessible by the TTC

  • We will continue to create flexible rehearsal schedules that value actor's time 


Rehearsal & Production Process​
  • We will continue to encourage open communication especially around issues of accessibility, and will provide accommodation as necessary

  • We will continue to provide a judgement-free zone and will consult with cast and crew privately to ensure all of their needs are being met

  • We will provide all cast and crew with a clear breakdown of roles, responsibilities and hierarchy in order to ensure clear communication, and will include protocols for submitting concerns or complaints

Audience & Community

  • We will continue to prioritize accessible performance spaces and advertise possible accommodations

  • We will continue to provide ticket discounts to disadvantaged groups

  • We will continue to offer Relaxed Performances (dependent on show)