STATEMENT FROM DEI COMMITTEE CHAIR
CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON

Christine Toy JohnsonIn 2017, I proposed that the Guild form a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee as an official extension of core principles that were already in action. I saw that the committee’s work could not only take the opportunity to publicly express the Dramatists Guild’s commitment to these issues, both within our membership and within the entertainment industry at large, but to also focus and organize our goals and ensuing actions pertaining to expanding the landscape of American storytelling.

Our first impulse was to create something that would express 'best practices' for producers/artistic directors/actors/marketing departments/critics/writers to use when doing a culturally specific work. We decided that a broader tactic, coming through an arguably more productive, positive and less judgmental lens would be to develop a 'tool kit' instead; giving our members resources from which to draw when creating a culturally specific work. But how and what could be the most efficient/effective way to do this? After talking through many scenarios, the committee decided that we needed to go forward with an accessible, tangible and fluid form of it: less preachy and more interactive in a very immediate way. And so – we are now in the process of creating 'The Dramatist presents Talkback', in which we can hold interviews illuminating case studies, experiences, and lessons learned by writers and other creative artists, and share them easily, some with the industry at large, and most only with our own membership. The intention is to start with talking about DEI issues, then expanding the podcast to explore other topics relevant to our membership’s needs and concerns. I’m eager to see how using this method of sharing information and inspiration - especially in this time of short attention spans and social media - can be a proactive tool for us.

We’ve seen the stats. We’ve read the think pieces. Now we’re ready to TALKBACK.

TALKBACK is the podcast for every dramatist or theatre fan who wants, but maybe hasn’t seen, the inclusiveness we all imagined. TALKBACK entertains frank conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. We ask the tough questions, and don’t have all the answers, but dig into dialogue that’s vital and messy and real. Join host Christine Toy Johnson and her industry colleagues from the pulse of the American theatre on TALKBACK.

The premiere season of TALKBACK features guests including Mandy Gonzalez, Larissa FastHorse, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, Diep Tran, Anita Hollander, David Henry Hwang, Kia Corthron, Todd London, Pun Bandhu, Porsche McGovern, Kristoffer Diaz, Chisa Hutchinson, Rachel Chavkin, Lynn Marie Rosenberg, Charlayne Woodard, Lydia Diamond, Garlia Cornelia Jones, Caitlin Baird, Leah Nanako Winkler, Theresa Rebeck, and Jose Solis.

This six episode podcast series is brought to you by the Dramatists Guild of America, co-produced by the DG's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and BOOM Integrated, and distributed by Broadway Podcast Network.

Since its inception in 1912, THE DRAMATISTS GUILD OF AMERICA has been the professional association for playwrights, librettists, lyricists and composers writing for the American stage.  With over 7,000 members around the world, The Guild is guided by a governing council of writers who each give their time, interest and support to advance the rights of dramatists everywhere, including the right for dramatists to own and control their own copyrighted work.  The Guild’s advocacy, programs, events, publications and other services provide dramatists with the resources, the community and the support they require to protect their property, their livelihoods, and their unique voices in the American Theatre.

Broadway Podcast Network is all about creating an engaging, immersive, user-friendly experience where theatre stories of all kinds can be easily found, shared, and enjoyed. A mix of new, exciting original programming alongside podcasts you already know and love, the Broadway Podcast Network is building the perfect daily digital destination with partnership with tremendously talented content creators, all-star hosts, producers, writers, industry leaders, and storytellers of all kinds. With a vast range of theatre-related programming, Broadway Podcast Network podcasts offer something for everyone, including behind-the-curtain access to the creative process, advice on everything from how to break into the business to how to audition, magical theatre history, candid interviews with your favorite stars, and so much more. Broadway Podcast Network's audience includes theatre professionals and industry leaders, theatre students, up-and-coming artists, and theatre fans from all over the world.

Boom Integrated is the newest venture from leading audiobook producer John Marshall Media. Boom has 30+ years of award-winning audio experience (GRAMMY, Webby, Audie), plus all the excitement that comes with building something innovative and relevant to today’s market. Their New York City-based team blends expert sound design and production with creative strategy and marketing smarts. Boom creates podcasts and smart speaker experiences that amplify business goals, pique interest, and inspire engagement.

For more information, please contact Amy VonMacek at 212-398-9366 or avonmacek@dramatistsguild.com.