Our Commitment to Antiracism

We at the Ashland New Plays Festival acknowledge our complicity in racist structures and pledge to move forward with concrete actions.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kyle Haden and Associate Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca, ANPF has made important progress in diversifying our artists in recent years. We cast inclusively for all of our productions and have hired more women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) directors than ever before: two-thirds women and almost 40% BIPOC.

However, as an organization, we have fallen woefully short in producing plays written by BIPOC.

Our annual Fall Festival is a “blinded” competition. Plays submitted for consideration go through an intensive selection process—being read, reread, and passionately discussed amongst our dedicated readers. Throughout, the playwrights’ identities are kept secret. While this can yield surprising and wonderful results, we now know that unconscious bias exists in the process and we are confronting it head on.

We must change the landscape upon which ANPF was built. We are no longer satisfied with incremental change and commit to the following antiracist actions:

Beginning in 2021,

  • We pledge that at least 50% of the plays we present each season will be the work of BIPOC playwrights.
  • We will launch a new initiative called “Pass the Pen,” which will reserve fifty spaces for invited BIPOC playwrights to submit plays for consideration in our Fall Festival, free of charge.
  • ANPF’s board and reader leadership will form a Reader Recruitment Committee, which will work to recruit and welcome BIPOC readers from the community.
  • All ANPF board, staff, and readers will commit to unconscious bias training.
  • We will undertake an annual review process to hold ourselves accountable. If the steps outlined above do not yield necessary change, further action will be taken.

We are deeply committed to supporting theatre artists during this time of crisis in funding for the arts. We ask that you stand with us as we reach toward a more equitable and ethical future.

Signed,

Kyle Haden, Artistic Director

Jackie Apodaca, Associate Artistic Director

Peggy Moore, Board President

William Grove, Board Vice President

Beth Falkenstein, Board Treasurer

Roger Pearce, Board Secretary

Jane Bardin, Board Member

Eric Poppick, Board Member

Jim Risser, Board Member

Kate Wolf-Pizor, Board Member

Beth Kander, Host Playwright

Sarah Glasgow, Data Management

Carole Florian, Editor

Andy Neal, Podcast Producer

Kara Q. Lewis, Administrative Assistant