The Shaw Festival is committed to becoming a place where everyone, no matter who they are, can make and take part in excellent art.
We know that people only do their best work when they can bring their real selves to a place where they feel welcome and looked after. This is why we need to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive culture.
Some of this work can be done through explicit policies on anti-harassment, anti-bullying and so on; but these tend to deal only with overtly negative behaviour. Just as important is to confront the destructive impact of things that are either so casual or subtle that we call them micro aggressions (though their impact is not at all ‘micro’), or so fundamentally baked in to our ways of thinking that no one questions them. These barriers to excellence will not be removed until there is mutual respect and trust between everyone at The Shaw.
So we shall begin not only by implementing the recommendations of our EDI Taskforce, but also by asking every member of The Shaw’s communities to look within. What can each of us do, and what can we all do together, to take better care of each other and to give each other the courage and support we need?
The last 18 months have shown us that real human connection is both more difficult and more precious than we ever realised. We have the opportunity to provide that connection for an ever-growing number of people; let us first make sure that we have created it among ourselves.
Inset photo: Cast of Trouble in Mind (2021). Photo by Lauren Garbutt.