On July 27, Signature Artistic Director Paige Evans was contacted by We See You, White American Theater
(We See You WAT), and this email was sent in response. We thank We See You WAT for their labor in holding us accountable during this time of much needed reckoning. We have started to evaluate our various structures and are working with our board, staff, artists, and community on how to address and implement these necessary changes.
“We at Signature Theatre acknowledge the receipt of the email from We See You, White American Theater. We have shared the demands with our senior team, who have been reviewing and discussing them, as well as with our resident playwrights, full-time staff, and board for discussion. We are building a timeline to implement the anti-racism goals outlined in our solidarity statement. As we undertake the essential work to build a more just, equitable and anti-racist company, we are considering a range of views and will engage with a variety of people to develop a plan tailored for Signature. We will report a fuller list of action steps publicly, after we have discussed, gauged what we can afford, and built accountability systems for ourselves. In the meantime, we’ve outlined below our initial action steps.
While we are in discussion regarding our Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) initiatives, these are currently underway:
- Signature has an EDIA Staff Committee that has been meeting for three years. We are adding an EDIA Board Committee, chaired by Trustee Donna Walker-Kuhne.
- We have developed an internal website for staff to access research and share resources regarding anti-racism work. The site also allows staff to track Signature-specific updates and timelines regarding our anti-racism work.
- We are drafting an EDIA mission statement that prioritizes anti-racism and will be shared publicly.
- We have established affinity groups for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and female employees, and we have a space for white staff members to discuss anti-racism practices.
- We are committed to allocating staff time for anti-racism learning and discussion. Our first step was a full staff EDIA workshop facilitated by Donna Walker-Kuhne.
- Hiring processes are under review and will be adjusted once we are able to hire again, following the pandemic.
- We have formed a committee dedicated to anti-racist interactions with audience members and the public.*
Signature is serious in our commitment to anti-racism. This work is difficult and crucial, and it will be ongoing. As conversations continue about dismantling systems of oppression and racism, we welcome further collaboration with a variety of organizations like We See You, WAT, who have done significant work to highlight, call out, and name harmful practices. We are committed to listening and thank them for advancing the conversation to a national platform.
All our Best,
Paige Evans (Artistic Director), Harold Wolpert (Executive Director) and Donna Walker-Kuhne (Board EDIA Committee Chair) Signature Theatre, NYC”
*The forming of the committee was in process when this email was sent, and this detail has been added after our response email was sent to We See You WAT.