Trap Door Theatre’s Equity and Accountability Action Plan
For almost 30 years, Trap Door Theatre has been proud to bring challenging and obscure works through an absurd lens to the Chicago Storefront Community. As a part of our mission, we seek diverse voices and present them through innovative expression. Today we admit that we have fallen short in our actions to act on this mission so far.
Trap Door Theatre and all of its people stand against racism and acknowledge the privilege that has allowed us to produce as a mostly white theater company for far too long. We pledge to create an antiracist community through eliminating all forms of systemic racism embedded in our organization.
Going forward at Trap Door, we want to use our platform not only to amplify our BIPOC artists but also to provide our community and patrons with ways to engage meaningfully and organizations to support.
To be transparent and hold ourselves accountable, we also want to share the actions we’ve taken within our organization so far:
- We have grown our company, and will continue to do so until it better reflects the community we live in.
- We’re prioritizing BIPOC artists for all upcoming productions.
- We’re continuing to seek out BIPOC board members.
- We have adopted a Land Acknowledgement that has a meaningful connection to our values and work.
- All staff members have received anti-racism training, such as ROAR and Erasing Racism through the League of Chicago Theaters.
- We’ve been working with our international contacts to find playwrights and directors of color.
- We’re in the process of hiring training consultants to work with our staff to foster open dialogue within our company and ensure we are providing a safe space for everyone.
- With each production, we are selecting an organization to support. This support will include raising awareness throughout the production, and donating a portion of the show’s proceeds to the organization.
- We’ve implemented more transparency in hiring and the stipends available for staff and artists.
- We have increased our artist stipends to continue our goal of pay equity.
- We have begun a new understudy policy to ensure that we are able to offer our artists MRE and a sense of security in the process.
- We are developing more inclusive and accessible rehearsal schedules.
These are just the first steps and are committed to improving. We will continue to listen, learn, and institute long-term and structural change both in our organization and community.
Trap Door Theatre Land Acknowledgement
We recognize that Trap Door Theatre sits on Native land. Chicago is the original homelands of the Council of Three Fires: which includes the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawotami nations. There are many other tribes, such as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Fox, and the Illinois Confederacy of the Peoria and Kaskaskia nations, that have all called this area home as well. In 1830 Congress forcibly stripped these tribes of their land through the passing of the Indian Removal Act; this led to significant relocation, poverty, and starvation. This land is still to this day a vibrant gathering site to over 100,000 tribal members.
By making this statement, we at Trap Door recognize the United States exists as a result of colonialism. We also recognize that we, as an organization, still profit off the resources of this land. We hope you will join us in learning more; please visit https://nativegov.org/ to learn more about how we can stand in solidarity with indigenous communities.