As part of its commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, inclusive, accessible, and anti-racist industry, the Guild has crafted an Inclusion Rider as a resource to support all dramatists and producers who have a desire to exercise these principles in the hiring of personnel involved in their productions.
“We are thrilled to be rolling out the first Inclusion Rider of its kind, which advocates for full diversity and full inclusion in theatres of all sizes and locations across the country,” stated Christine Toy Johnson, DG Treasurer and Chair of the Guild’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. “By providing this voluntary resource and tool to our members, the Guild hopes to provide an effective option for writers to use to ensure that our value systems are aligned with our producing collaborators and that our authorial rights to assemble our creative teams and casts are upheld. We remain committed to finding ways in which to foster an industry that is reflective and respectful of the entirety of our population and to create a more complete and authentic landscape of storytelling.”
This Inclusion Rider is intended to be a model addendum that will enable dramatists to work with a producer to audition or interview, cast, and hire members of historically excluded groups wherever possible. Intended to facilitate a conversation between the theatre writer and the producer about equitable hiring practices, this rider may be attached to any agreement with a producer or theatre that intends to produce one’s play or musical. It includes hiring objectives for cast, crew, creative team, and artistic personnel, as well as recommended best practices for how to conduct auditions and interviews.
“I am proud of the work the Dramatists Guild’s Business Affairs department and our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee have done to create this Inclusion Rider. It is a meaningful step towards true equity in theatre, empowering theatre writers to use our rights of hiring approval to advocate for fuller diversity and inclusion throughout our industry,” noted DG Council President Amanda Green.
This Inclusion Rider was conceived and created by the DG’s Business Affairs department, working with a special task force of DG staff, Committee, and Council Members. In addition to Johnson and Green, the task force is comprised of Aisha DeCoteau, Ty Defoe, Chisa Hutchinson, Todd London, Emily Mann, Ralph Sevush, Emmanuel Wilson, Doug Wright, and Amy VonMacek. “I hope to see every writer and every producer I know rocking a ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘Stop Asian Hate’ decal on their profile pics putting this rider to use. It’s a great way to put principles into practice,” said task force member Chisa Hutchinson.
In addition to encouraging compliance with these principles, the Rider is an acknowledgment by the producer that an author exercising their approval rights to achieve these goals is both reasonable and permissible. “Some may feel the Rider doesn’t go far enough, while others may feel it goes too far,” said Ralph Sevush, the Guild’s Executive Director of Business Affairs. “Ultimately, though, this Rider is a statement by the producer and the author of their mutual intent to work together to address this issue, and it provides both producers and dramatists with a starting point to begin this conversation and move forward.”
“The Inclusion Rider gives authors a much needed tool—easily tailored for each writer and producer—to ensure equity in any given production, shared Emily Mann, member of the Guild’s Council. “However the individual artists and producers wish to use it—as a reference, as a way to start a dialogue, or as part of a contract—the Inclusion Rider promises to be a useful instrument in our quest for powerful change in the American theatre.”
The Dramatists Guild will hold a webinar entitled Starting the Convo: How to Advocate for Inclusion in Person on Tuesday, October 12 at 6:30pm ET. The conversation will be facilitated by Todd London and Emily Mann and the panelists will be Nikkole Salter, Jonathan McCrory (National Black Theatre), and Jonathan Silverstein (Keen Company). Using the DG Guide for Dramatists: The Art of Negotiating Contracts as a springboard, panelists will share personal anecdotes of tricky, diversity-related conversations and experiences they've had with collaborators. The discussion will be followed by interactive role-play to give participants the practice they need to effectively negotiate, as well as a Q&A.
To learn more about the Inclusion Rider, and additional resources, please visit www.dramatistsguild.com/inclusion.
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