The Broadway League has pledged change amidst the uproar of national racism beginning with a in depth survey to get a handle on diversity onstage, backstage and in production offices.
The Broadway League is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in North American cities, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the commercial theatre industry. Each year, League members bring Broadway to more than 30 million people in New York and more than 200 cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Charlotte St. Martin, the League president and chief executive spoke with the New York Times, “I think we have done a good job onstage, and we’ve done a good job with the Tony Awards, but in a lot of our backstage areas we haven’t done as good a job, and if people are frustrated, they have the right to be. We have to change, and we will change.” St. Martin also detailed that it will be easier for industry leaders of color to join its board. Additionally, she said, the League will hire an executive to oversee its equity, diversity and inclusion efforts; undertake an assessment of its 19 existing diversity initiatives; make unconscious bias and anti-racism training mandatory for its staff and leadership; and offer the training to its members, according to the New York Times.
Many theater artists have taken to social media and beyond to detail instances in which they felt mistreated because of race, and several have formed new organizations to press for change. “It sounds like a really great beginning — a first step,” said Drew Shade, the founder and creative director of Broadway Black. “But the Broadway League has all the power, and it will be interesting to hear how they plan to distribute control and power within the industry. Maybe there’s a conversation to be had about what else they can do.”