Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre-Media Centre
 
Credits
Royal MTC building. Photo by Jerry Grajewski.

A COMMITMENT TO ACTION

Update – June 30, 2021

In July 2020, Royal MTC shared a Commitment to Action; an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism plan that seeks to repair and reimagine MTC’s relationships with our community, and build bridges with those who have been historically excluded or underserved by our theatre. As part of our journey we promised transparency, including Community Updates, the last of which we shared in March 2021. 
 
Here are the steps we have taken since our last update: 
 
  • Following a series of organization-wide anti-racism, anti-oppression and equity workshops in the Fall 2020, conducted by Jackie Hogue (J. Hogue & Associates), Jackie led an Organizational Audit for MTC. She assessed our work backstage, onstage, in our facilities, and with our full and part-time staff – with a goal to create safe spaces for all. The work included surveys with staff, Board, and focus groups with local and national IBPOC artists who had recently worked with us. The final report was shared with staff and Board in a series of workshops to unpack the findings. The report was shared publically with the community on March 3, 2021 is available here
  • In January and February staff and Board continued our training with Jessica Dumas’ Essential Conversations for Indigenous Inclusion workshops.   
  • Seasonal Fringe staff have participated in anti-racism, anti-oppression and equity workshops with J. Hogue & Associates. 
  • Leadership and Senior Staff have continued training with workshops led by artEquity: Finding the Keys, and Everyday Justice. 
  • With Acuity HR we have reviewed staff policies, including MTC’s Harassment & Discrimination Policy and other HR documentation that covers both MTC and Fringe staff.
  • We have embedded new Respectful Workplace expectations in rental contracts, including users of the BMO Digital Studio at the Tom Hendry Warehouse.
  • We have formalized hiring processes to ensure recruitment and hires reflect the diversity of our community. We commit to posting all positions internally and externally, disclosing salary range, reviewing all job requirements, including anti-racist and social justice values as key attributes for candidates. 
  • We have included cultural competency support in  production budgets for the 2021/22 season, working alongside the access, inclusion and anti-oppression practices outlined in the Canadian Theatre Agreement.  
  • In June we announced a call for submissions for a Residency Program, prioritizing equity deserving creators and companies for access to space and financial support.
  • The Board of Trustees Nominations Committee welcomed six new Trustees who joined the Board at the AGM in June 2021. 
  • Led by our Governance and Strategic Planning Committee and facilitated by Health in Common, we developed a new 2021-2024 Strategic Renewal Plan. This was created through facilitated conversations with senior staff and Board, informed by the perspective of an external focus group comprised of IBPOC audience members, artists, donors and volunteers and approved in June 2021. We will share the final version on our website.  
 
By our next Community Update we will report on the following actions: 
 
  • This summer we will begin a consultancy with Engaging Access to facilitate a Accessibility Review to ensure best practices and compliance with the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. Renovations are in process for a universal toilet room (gender neutral bathroom) in the Warehouse lobby.
  • By September we will update handbooks and orientation materials for Artists, Staff, Board, Front of House and Volunteers, reviewed by external HR counsel and including third-party reporting procedures. 
  • In the fall, all staff will renew their Respectful Workplace training, led by Acuity HR.
  • We are developing training videos for MTC and the Fringe’s volunteer corps in partnership with J. Hogue & Associates, and will also provide de-escalation training for Front of House and Box Office staff.  
  • We will continue to source and provide workshops and training for staff and Board in areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, anti-racism and anti-oppression.  
  • New procedures will be articulated as part of Fringe applications for 2022, embedding Respectful Workplace commitments and ensuring artists have access to resources to support safety and well-being.  
  • We will convene a group of Board, community and staff members and establish terms of reference for an Anti-Racism Task Force (working title). This group will review our progress to date, establish further actions based on reports and feedback, confirm accountability to our Commitment to Action and help ensure the goals of our Strategic Plan are set in motion.
  • We will continue to prioritize candidates from equity deserving communities in calls for applicants for artistic opportunities or professional development programs. 
 
In our ongoing commitment to transparency, we will continue to provide updates on our website. Our next Community Update will be shared in December 2021. 
 
We are deeply grateful to work on Treaty 1 land, the traditional territory of the Ininew, Anishinaabe, Dene and Dakota peoples, and the traditional territory and homeland of the Métis Nation, and to lead the necessary work at MTC to create a equitable future for all.
 
Sincerely,

Kelly Thornton, Artistic Director             Camilla Holland, Executive Director
kthornton@royalmtc.ca                               cholland@royalmtc.ca
 
The Board of Trustees of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre supports the leadership of our Artistic Director and Executive Director, and commits to work with them on the actions ahead. The Chair of the Board of Trustees, John Guttormson, can be reached via board@royalmtc.ca 
.
 

Update – March 3, 2021

At our Community Update in December 2020, we referenced working with Jackie Hogue on an organizational audit. Her report, Organizational Assessment to Support Dismantling Racism, is available for download and includes information from staff, Board of Trustees and input from facilitated conversations with IBPOC artists. MTC is grateful to all those who contributed, and recognizes and values the strong directives, suggestions and ideas which will require action, change and new relationships. Our Board and Staff are engaged in assessing these ways forward, and we will share more in our next update.

READ THE REPORT
 

Update – December 17, 2020

In July 2020, Royal MTC shared our Commitment to Action, responding to the calls of the community. In this statement, we acknowledged our privilege as a predominantly white-led institution; apologized for the harm caused by inherent barriers for IBPOC communities; and committed to making transformative change. Our Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Action Plan seeks to repair and reimagine MTC’s relationships with our community, and build bridges with those who have been historically excluded or underserved by our theatre.

Here are the steps we have taken so far:
 
  • We are working with Jackie Hogue (J. Hogue & Associates) to facilitate an organizational audit – backstage, onstage, in our facilities, and with our full- and part-time staff – with a goal to create safe spaces for all. This has included conversations and focus groups with local and national IBPOC artists. The final report will be shared with our community in the new year.
  • Jackie has also developed and delivered workshops designed to build MTC’s capacity to dismantle racism, including training and conversation about equity, unconscious bias, anti-oppression, and anti-racism, with staff and Board. Staff and Board will also participate in Jessica Dumas’ Indigenous Awareness and Engagement workshops in late January.
  • Recent artistic announcements (Pimootayowin Creators Circle, National Mentorship Program) prioritize and invest in IBPOC artists, demonstrating our commitment to ensure the development of a robust artistic community that reflects the diversity of the Province.
  • The Tom Hendry Digital Studio prioritizes IBPOC creators for this accessible and affordable space.
  • The Board of Trustees Nominations Committee is committed and working to welcome IBPOC candidates with new Trustees joining at the AGM in June 2021.
  • MTC leadership and staff are on a journey of learning; in addition to training above, leadership has participated in workshops including Anti-Racist Theatre Foundational Course (Nicole Brewer), Anti-Racism Training for Leaders (Praxis Consulting), and Anti-Racist Approaches to Radical Recruitment in the Arts (artEquity).  

By our next Community Update we intend to:
 
  • Invite IBPOC artists, audience members and volunteers to participate alongside staff and Board of Trustees in the development of a Strategic Planning framework for 2021-2024.
  • Engage external counsel to review and update staff and Board policies including MTC’s Harassment & Discrimination Policy, the Board Code of Conduct and other relevant HR documentation.
  • Ensure third-party reporting mechanisms are in place for staff, contractors and artists.
  • Prioritize cultural competency support for creative teams in production budgets, alongside new access, inclusion and anti-oppression practices as outlined in the Canadian Theatre Agreement.
  • Announce a call for submissions for a Residency Program, prioritizing IBPOC creators and companies.
  • Facilitate anti-racism training for seasonal Fringe staff, de-escalation training for Front of House and Box Office staff, and workshops for MTC and Fringe volunteers.
  • Develop and articulate new hiring processes that ensure that recruitment and hires reflect the diversity of our community, and embody anti-racist and social justice values as key attributes for candidates.

In our continued commitment to transparency, we will continue to provide updates on our website, and our next Community Update will be shared in June 2021.

We are deeply grateful to work on Treaty 1 land, the traditional territory of the Ininew, Anishinaabe, Dene and Dakota peoples, and the traditional territory and homeland of the Métis Nation, and to lead the necessary work at MTC to create a equitable future for all.

Sincerely,

Kelly Thornton, Artistic Director             Camilla Holland, Executive Director
kthornton@royalmtc.ca                               cholland@royalmtc.ca

The Board of Trustees of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre supports the leadership of our Artistic Director and Executive Director, and commits to work with them on the actions ahead. The Chair of the Board of Trustees, John Guttormson, can be reached via board@royalmtc.ca

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Statement – July 23, 2020
 

As the Artistic Director and Executive Director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, we believe we have a profound responsibility as theatre makers to reckon with racial injustice, and to advance equity in society. Theatre is a powerful tool for social change. It fosters empathy, understanding and builds human connection. It also allows us to engage in difficult conversations.

This summer, we have been listening to the voices of IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) artists in the theatre community, both nationally and locally, as they reveal uncomfortable truths about our sector. We recognize the emotional labour involved in these conversations, and we are deeply grateful to these artists for sharing the reality of their lived experience.

As Canada’s oldest English-speaking regional theatre, we acknowledge that MTC has benefitted from colonial structures and the systemic racism that exists in our society.  Since its founding, MTC has been a predominantly white-led institution, which has created inherent barriers for IBPOC communities who don’t feel welcome in our organization. We deeply apologize for the harm this has caused, and we commit to actively participating in the change required in our sector to address systemic racism.

Today, we commit to making transformative change; to repair and reimagine MTC’s relationships with our community; and to build bridges with those who have been historically excluded or underserved by our theatre.

With the support of our Board of Trustees, we will develop an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Action Plan, a necessary first step to ensure that MTC will truly represent and reflect all Manitobans, and be a safe place for all who engage in theatre here.

Through this process we will:
 

  • Scrutinize our working conditions and hiring practices. We will facilitate an organizational audit on our work culture – backstage, onstage, in our facilities, and with our full- and part-time staff – to identify and eliminate the barriers that have perpetuated a dominant white culture in our organization.
  • Expand our commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI) and Anti-Racism. We will engage consultants to lead and support the long-term work of ensuring a safe and respectful work environment for all, and to develop and deliver training in equity, diversity, inclusion, unconscious bias, anti-oppression, and anti-racism with our staff and Board. We will dedicate necessary resources to provide cultural competency support for our creative teams. Our Board of Trustees will prioritize IBPOC and other diverse candidates in our nominating process and ensure barriers are removed, and reflect EDI and Anti-Racism commitments in all ongoing Strategic Plans.
  • Commit to making Royal MTC a safe space. We will ensure that our artists and staff, consultants, contractors and volunteers can work, create and participate in a safe space. We will work with our associations and unions to ensure EDI and anti-racism policies protect IBPOC artists engaged at MTC. We will review our internal human resources policies and procedures and ensure that third-party reporting mechanisms are in place.
  • Invest in and dedicate resources to IBPOC artists. Through programming, commissions, training and professional development, we will use our facilities, resources and opportunities to promote IBPOC artists, creators, craftspeople and leaders. We will create a mentorship program to partner mentors from across Canada with local IBPOC artists; host a Residency Program, prioritizing IBPOC and other diverse artists; and we will promote narratives by, for and about diverse communities.
  • Eliminate barriers to engagement. We will embrace relationships with IBPOC-led community organizations and businesses to spark new connections, and to expand the breadth and accessibility of our work. We will undertake an accessibility review to identify and dismantle barriers to ensure that our facilities, processes and programming are welcoming and reflective of all.
  • Commit to transparency and accountability in our anti-racism and EDI work. Our work will be ongoing and will evolve; we will publish updates, reports and plans on our website, and provide contact information to reach our senior leadership. This work is urgent, but we also need to take time to listen and learn. We will make mistakes, but we will make corrections. 


With the full support of our Board of Trustees, we are committed to instill anti-racist practices throughout our theatre and activities, including the Winnipeg Fringe. We will strive to be better allies and to leave this organization stronger, safer, more inclusive and representative of the community we live in; with our stages and audience filled with new faces, joining those who have enjoyed our theatre for many years; and with a Board, staff and leadership that values inclusivity as a true measure of success.
 
We are deeply grateful to work on Treaty 1 land, the traditional territory of the Ininew, Anishinaabe, Dene and Dakota peoples, and the traditional territory and homeland of the Métis Nation, and to begin the necessary work to create a more equitable future for all.

Sincerely,

Kelly Thornton, Artistic Director
kthornton@royalmtc.ca
Camilla Holland, Executive Director
cholland@royalmtc.ca
 
The Board of Trustees of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre supports the leadership of our Artistic Director and Executive Director, and commits to work with them on the actions ahead. The Chair of the Board of Trustees, John Guttormson, can be reached via board@royalmtc.ca

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