Bay Area Theater Accountability Workgroup
The Accountability Workgroup and Learning Space are open to all ADs/ MDs/ leaders in the Bay Area theater community. Please contact the Seed Group to be added to the email list. This site contains the past email communications sent to the entire Workgroup for reference for those who are entering this group at different times. Zoom links will only be shared via email, not on this site, so please be sure to sign up to the list.
The next Accountability Workgroup Meetings are:
TBD January 2021
The next Learning Spaces are:
TBD January 2021
Seed Group Members:
Dawn Monique Williams
People come and go from this group as life demands. The names below are people who are not participating currently but have contributed to this group in a meaningful way.
Lisa Marie Rollins
Email sent 10/6/20
Want to express gratitude for everyone who participated in our Apology Case Study last week, including the creative team of The Rendering Cycle—Armando McClain, Cathleen Ridley, Champagne Hughes and Caitlin Evenson—and Jim for the vulnerability and truth that was shared. We wanted to use this week’s Learning Space to decompress and debrief what was offered, and to support others wrestling with this very necessary part of accountability. Zoom information is above and (more detailed) below.
Also, we are inviting volunteers from the Accountability Workgroup interested in joining an organizing committee focused on supporting an Anti-Racism Workgroup of Trustees. If you’re interested please let us know by responding to this email.
We’ll see some of you Thursday!
The Seed Planning Team
Email sent 9/28/20
Looking forward to our next Accountability Workgroup Session this Thursday, October 1, 12-2pm PST.
No RSVP this week, as we’ll be using the same Home Rooms (in Breakouts) we established at the last session. If you were not able to join us for that, but intend to attend this Thursday, please reply to this email and let us know so we can assign you a Home Room.
We’ll be focusing this week on Apology.
Here's a link to two posts on the topic from Mia Mingus:
Also, look out for an email from your Homeroom Hosts with a question to reflect upon between now and Thursday.
The Seed Planning Team
Email sent 9/16/20
These themes came up in my homeroom last week: scarcity of TIME, interest in finding more JOY in this work, and wanting to hear about what WORKS. In response to these themes, some of which were echoed loudly in other homerooms (TIME time time time...), the Seed group would like to use this week's Learning Space to hear from orgs that have been implementing new policy or practices in response to the demands. We shall say YES to the good stuff, ask questions, and hopefully step out of the scarcity mindset and into the wonderful world of abundance.
We will be using the same decolonized structure from the broader Workgroup meetings, starting with inviting Indigenous, then Black, then BIPOC, then White colleagues to share their progress. Please attend this Learning Space ready to hear about what has been working for other groups and/or to share where your org has made specific progress in response to the demands.
Rose and the Seed Team
Email sent 9/8/20
We had a great Learning Space a couple weeks ago closing out our first three Workgroup cycles. The conversation focused mainly on our Part One dataset—ways the data could support our accountability work, ways within which the survey could be strengthened and refined, and discussion around future datasets. Thank you to those who joined and to Jasson and Jim who volunteered their org data for our conversation.
With our Workgroup Session #4 this Thursday, a change as we move out of our “getting to know each other” phase: we are introducing “home rooms”—spaces for focused reflection in sustained breakout groups. That is, your home room this week will remain your home room for the next three Sessions. We’re asking participants to RSVP by filling out the following survey, and most importantly, to commit to our next three Workgroup Sessions (#4 on 9/10, #5 on 10/1, and #6 on 10/22). Please RSVP here.
We hope you were able to find some peace and comfort and rest this past long weekend, even as so many of us are having to navigate the smoke and fires and heat. We wanted to amplify this effort to support Noor and Deborah Adabachi, who lost their home to fire last month:
We look forward to your company this Thursday.
The Seed Planning Team
Email sent 8/25/20
There seems to be no end to the crises confronting us, and we wanted to take a moment to recognize your great efforts in finding moments of pause, of generosity, of human kindness and humanity. Wishing you safety and good health amidst the smoke and flame. Grateful for this community.
Also grateful for the sharing and the focus at last week’s meeting, and naming at the same time how much we were trying to cover in our limited time together. So we thought we might offer this week’s Learning Space (Thursday, August 27, 12-2pm) to dive deeper into the data results from Part One of our survey. We’ll be inviting folks who have participated in the survey to volunteer their results for a closer look at how this data might be a tool for supporting accountability in our work.
Lastly, we’ll be sending individual theaters a snapshot representing your theater in comparison to the collective numbers in a separate email. We ask that you please respect that this is currently meant for Workgroup members only as we work to build consensus for the release of this data in a more public forum.
For those able to join, we look forward to your company on Thursday.
The Seed Planning Team
Email sent 8/17/20
Our third full workgroup meeting is upon us! Thank you to folks who have submitted results for Part One of the Demographic Organizational Survey. If you have submitted data but are not represented in the list below, please contact us at BATfirstname.lastname@example.org. For Thursday, we will begin with an examination of the data received as of Monday, August 17, from the following organizations:
• American Conservatory Theater
• Aurora Theatre Company
• Berkeley Playhouse
• Berkeley Repertory Theatre
• California Shakespeare Theater
• Central Works
• City Lights Theater Company of San Jose
• Crowded Fire
• Cutting Ball Theater
• Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company
• Golden Thread Productions
• Killing My Lobster
• Livermore Shakespeare Festival
• Magic Theatre
• Marin Shakespeare Company
• Marin Theatre Company
• New Conservatory Theatre Center
• Oakland Theater Project
• Playwrights Foundation
• Ragged Wing Ensemble
• Red Ladder Theatre Company
• San Francisco Playhouse
• San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
• Teatro Visión
• The Shotgun Players
• Theatre Bay Area
• Theatre of Yugen
• Z Space
A reminder that this week’s Accountability Workgroup session will be followed one week later by our next Learning Space: Thursday, August 27, 12-2pm PST.
Yours in solidarity,
The Seed Planning Group
Email sent 8/4/20
Thank you again for the time and community you offered last week. It was also great to see many of you attending Mia Mingus’ Intro to Accountability on Friday. Some of you who were unable to make it have asked about a recording; unfortunately, out of respect for
Mia’s life-long labor around Transformative Justice (and because this was an introductory course) we won’t be able to offer an archive. But there will be a resource email going out for those interested, and there will be additional opportunities to learn from her (including—we hope—a visit from Mia to the Workgroup).
We hope by now that you’ve had a chance to complete Part One of the Demographic Survey for your organization. The Seed Team plans to collate and contextualize the results and we hope to share some of that out with you before our next Workgroup session. Gratitude to those of you who have shared your results. We continue to recognize the extraordinary pressure so many of us are working under--if you need additional time due to capacity limitations, and still want to submit your results, please feel free to reach out to the Seed Team (email@example.com).
We will be holding our second Learning Space this Thursday, August 6, 12-2pm. A reminder, we recommend this space as a place to bring questions about anti-Blackness, racial justice, white supremacy, and the efforts of this cohort; and/or for those looking for additional personal guidance to help them fully engage with this work. The space will be held by members of the Seed Planning Group, but it (as with all of our gatherings) will be a space of shared learning and collective growth.
We wanted to share out a timeline for the next few meetings so you could hold these times in your calendar. The cadence that we are arriving at is a full Workgroup session every three weeks, each followed by a Learning Space, all times Thursday 12-2pm; so:
Aug 6, 12-2pm - Learning Space #2
Aug 20, 12-2pm - Accountability Workgroup #3
Aug 27, 12-2pm - Learning Space #3
Sept 10, 12-2pm - Accountability Workgroup #4
Sept 17, 12-2pm - Learning Space #4
Oct 1, 12-2pm - Accountability Workgroup #5
Oct 8, 12-2pm - Learning Space #5
See some of you Thursday!
The Seed Planning Team
Email sent 7/28/20
Sending a reminder email about this Thursday’s (7/30) Accountability Workgroup session, 12-2pm PST. We ask that you please RSVP for the session here: https://forms.gle/M85kbrMs6hgxYwbe7
Please spend some time considering our prompt for the session: “What is your goal for this space over the next year in relation to yourself and your organization?”
We made a word cloud based on everyone’s response to why you attended our first session (attached or at end of email).
Furthermore, you’ve heard us mention transformative justice on several occasions since our work begun. We are hoping to have Mia Mingus (Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective) speak with the workgroup—but, as an effort to build upon existing efforts, she has asked that all members participate in her Introduction to Accountability class offered through Cal Shakes’ Direct Address series this Friday, 5-7pm. I’ve included the email below with more information and registration details. Mia is an extraordinary thought-leader and humanitarian who—in the year and a half that I’ve known her—has profoundly shaped my view of the world, and does so with generosity and good humor. As this is a introductory course be offered free to the public, it is unlikely that we will share out a recording of this, so participation is encouraged.
A reminder that the demographic survey is due end of day Monday, August 3. A link to the survey can be found here.
Lastly, we wanted to share for the group a couple action plans that have been released since our last meeting, including a national call from the We See You movement (here), and a local call from the organizers of the Living Document (here).
Email sent 7/26/20
We’ve heard from a few of you with concerns about completing Part One of the Demographic Survey in time. A few things:
Just want to reiterate that the goal is not to collect data that is not readily available. “Unknown” is a powerful answer and pertinent to our work. The ask, in this case, is not
necessarily to reach out to past and current staff to collect data—but rather, to examine institutional practices, and offer a series of baselines for our conversations.
If you have not before now taken a survey of your staff, please consider doing so for your current staff to include under the July 2020 snapshot.
There was a request for a single view of the survey. That can be found
All this said, we are working to resist urgency in our efforts in service of the long journey (and recognize that we are all juggling many things at once); so we are moving the date for return of the survey one week later to the end of day Monday, August 3.
We’ll be using this next Workgroup Session to discuss any questions surrounding the survey, and to break out into smaller groups to offer more intimate discussion around our collective hopes for this work.
Two more things:
While we are working towards a commitment to transparency and accountability, this will only come with a collective will for it. There is no immediate plan to release this information
without general consensus from members of this workgroup.
We have heard rumor of press involvement in this work: there is no plan to involve press of any sort in the internal conversations of this Workgroup. We will talk more on Thursday
about how we may want to communicate out about our efforts, and we will take time to review our community agreements.
Lastly, I personally wanted to share with you a podcast series: Seeing White with John Biewen, from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Perhaps you know it, as it was released about three years ago. But I’ve found it incredibly valuable relistening,
as it remains bracingly relevant in its examination of the historical construction of race in this country. In particular, I hope you’ll take a listen to the first four episodes (17, 29, 34, and 37 minutes each).
Eric and the Seed Planning Team
Email sent 7/23/20
As promised, we are sharing out Part One in our Organizational Demographic Survey and ask that you fill this out by end of day Monday, July 27. Hopefully by this point you’ve had a chance to collect any data re: staff and board demographics from the past five seasons of your theater. We have chosen for this first part to focus on BIPOC and Black representation on our staffs and boards; future surveys will expand the dataset.
The survey can be found here.
A few things of note:
We ask that no more than one survey be filled out for each organization;
We ask that you only enter hard data. Please resist the urge to make assumptions. Best practice is to survey your staff inviting self-identification by participants. For that reason:
In instances where data was not collected, or where data is not readily available, we ask that you answer “unknown”.
For our next Full Workgroup meeting on Thursday, July 30, 12-2pm:
We ask you to consider the following prompt:
“What is your goal for this space over the next year in relation to yourself and your organization?”
We invite you to review the really excellent resources shared out for the recent “Healing Through Zoom” Town Hall:
The following resources specifically relate to IPOC folx regarding anti-blackness within different cultures, but are still important for white identifying folx to read as well to understand how White Supremacy Culture caused this division and issues like colorism within communities:
Looking forward to being in community with you all next Thursday. And thank you to all of you who joined us this afternoon for our Learning Space. Really honored to be in this work with you.
Seed Planning Team
Email sent 7/23/20
Part One of the Organizational Survey will be shared later today accompanied by some resources and prompts for our next full gathering on Thursday, July 30. But we wanted to share the Zoom Link which for this afternoon’s Learning Space, 12-2pm:
As a reminder, we are holding a regular Learning Space as a companion to our full Workgroup sessions. We intend this to be a place for anyone wanting to bring questions about anti-Blackness, racial justice, white supremacy, and the efforts of this cohort; and/or for those looking for additional personal guidance to help them fully engage with this work. The space will be hosted by members of the Seed Planning Group, but it will be a space of shared learning and collective growth.
The Seed Planning Team
Email sent 7/16/20
TLDR: The Seed Planning Group has decided to schedule our next Accountability Workgroup session for Thursday, July 30.
We are asking everyone to hold 11-2pm for now—we will confirm time soon. Please mark your calendars--we hope to see you there. We are adding a Learning Space (starting next Thursday, July 23, 12-2pm)in between AW sessions for anyone with questions about anti-Blackness, racial justice, white supremacy and the work of our collective. Furthermore, we will be following this email up with a survey for each of you to enter demographic information that was requested at the end of our first session.
Now on with the details…
We wanted to write with some updates regarding the Accountability Workgroup. Our Seed Planning Group has had several meetings since we all last gathered—to process the conversation and to assess the scope of the work ahead of us and how best to properly support it. A few things we know:
We mentioned at our first meeting that every session would end with an ask of the group (for instance, the demographic survey). We want to carve out sufficient time
for each of us to properly address each session’s Ask.
We also want to ensure that there is space being held for those of us who wish to engage in further learning around this work.
We want to make sure the Seed Planning Group has sufficient time to process outcomes from each of our Workgroup Sessions.
We consider this a long term commitment. So we are encouraged to balance our collective sense of urgency with our collective need to practice in ways that sustain
So! We are offering a new cadence for our journey—essentially a three-week cycle, each meeting happening on Thursdays from 12-2pm.
Week 1: The Accountability Workgroup meets.
Week 2: We will offer what we are calling a Learning Space for anyone wishing to ask clarifying questions about our work and effectively "catch up" on anything that was discussed in the last session.
Week 3: Seed Planning Team will meet to prep.
That said, we will be holding our first Learning Space next Thursday, July 23, 12-2pm. While we are not affiliated with TBA’s Town Hall on the Living Document, we want to be working in collaboration with the many other efforts supporting change in our community, and intend to hold space as a follow up to Tuesday’s recently announced event. In general, we recommend this space as a place to bring questions about anti-Blackness, racial justice, white supremacy, and the efforts of this cohort; and/or for those looking for additional personal guidance to help them fully engage with this work. The space will be held by members of the Seed Planning Group, but it will be a space of shared learning and collective growth.
The following week, Thursday, July 30, 12-2pm, will be our next full Accountability
Workgroup session. We will examine the results of Part One of our demographic investigation. We will also introduce a series of breakout sessions guided by our Seed Team, offering more intimate, more nuanced conversations around prompts intended to center us as a collective.
Part One of our Demographic Organizational Census will be shared out later this week. Please complete one survey per organization. This (and subsequent surveys) will be a vital tool in our efforts towards transparency and reflection.
Lastly, in all our conversations, there has been great excitement around the promise of this organizing effort. Your participation is a gift and a responsibility. All of us are making difficult decisions as we navigate this intersection of pandemic and public call to action.
We want to lift up your mighty work, and we look forward to the journey ahead.
Yours in solidarity,
The Seed Planning Group