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2021 IDEAA Web Programming


GOAL: We will review our artistic priorities—as demonstrated in the plays we produce, the artists we champion, the works we develop, and Education and Engagement programs we offer—and ensure that BIPOC voices are centered in all creative endeavors going forward, both in new opportunities as well as in our ongoing/established efforts.

As a leader in the American Theater, it is incumbent upon us to contribute to the future of our industry with great plays from a range of dramatic voices. We strive to live our core values of Quality, Diversity and Community in the productions on our stages—as well as in our Education and Engagement programming, which stems from that work.

Action: Develop a new play series that decentralizes the white gaze.

DescriptionFuture Labs joins the Goodman’s fleet of programs as our newest effort to support living writers and develop new plays (including New Stages, Playwrights Unit and individual artist commissions). Future Labs seeks bold, imaginative works from Chicago-based Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander and other playwrights of color to be workshopped and presented, led by artists of color (including directors). Furthermore, a unique Staff Evaluation Team, representing all departments and prioritizing staff members of color, reviews all submissions and selects the plays to be developed.

Accepting submissions; begins January 2021

Action: Invest in and honor Black theater-makers and practitioners beyond playwrights, directors and actors.

We acknowledge the inequities within our society and our industry, and know that our Black colleagues often suffer the largest financial challenges, as well as the most limited opportunities. In honor of our longtime Resident Director, Chuck Smith, whose artistry and advocacy have broken barriers and built bridges, we create the “Chuck Smith Awards.” These awards intend to honor and provide support to Black theater-makers—including, but not limited to, designers, composers, choreographers, dramaturgs and administrators—through direct grants and peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities. Recipients will be peer-nominated and selected by an all-Black selection committee.

Status: Details forthcoming

Action: Implement a more active recruitment process for BIPOC candidates for the Maggio Fellowship

Description: Goodman Theatre established our longest-running director mentorship opportunity—the annual Michael Maggio Fellowship—in 2000 in memory of our Associate Director and his commitment to nurturing young artists. Awarded annually in the fall, this stipend-based Fellowship offers an early-career Chicago-based director the opportunity to assist on a Goodman production and become involved in the Goodman’s ongoing artistic life. We will engage in more robust recruitment of BIPOC candidates and improve our process by reforming the selection committee structure for this 20-year-old program.

Resources: Improved Maggio Fellow selection process:

  • The Maggio Fellowship selection committee will be newly assembled each year.
  • We will create an inclusive committee comprised of Artistic Collective Members, a former Maggio Fellow and an additional outside perspective.
  • We will announce the committee prior to opening applications.
  • The Selection Committee will review applications, conduct interviews and determine at least three finalists.
  • Final selection will be determined by Robert Falls, Adam Belcuore and Ken-Matt Martin in conversation with the Selection Committee.

Status: Efforts are ongoing; applications will open when in-person work resumes

Action: Diversify our creative teams towards more inclusive representation of BIPOC practitioners.

Description: We are committed to increasing inclusivity on every project through assembling creative teams including (but not limited to) directors, designers, choreographers, music directors, dramaturgs and consultants. We also acknowledge our colleagues and collaborators of Design Action (a consortium of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander, and White theater designers, committed to creating a more equitable future for emerging and early-career BIPOC artists) and embrace their five points of advocacy; Equitable Representation, Harm Reduction, Anti-Racist Codes of Conduct, Cultural Competency and BIPOC Advocacy. The Goodman will develop a written set of expectations, goals and priorities regarding representation and inclusion for directors in terms of casting and hiring design teams. These expectations, which will be clarified as a condition of hiring, will also be shared with others on the production who seek support staff.

Status: Under review; work to be continued by the Cornerstone Task Force (CTF)

Action: Increase BIPOC participation in the Playwrights Unit

The 10-year-old Goodman Playwrights Unit (PWU) was created for Chicago-based writers and designed to support the idea of “resident playwrights” at the Goodman.

The Goodman has commissioned 45 new plays from the PWU; of those, eight have gone on to the New Stages Festival (as either workshop productions or readings) and of those, two have made their world premiere at the Goodman. Beyond those eight writers, we have also produced later plays from three writers, with whom we first worked through the PWU. This program has seen BIPOC representation in 47% of its writers. In examining this programs past, as well as the past decade of Goodman productions, we set our goal at 55-60% BIPOC artist representation in five years and each subsequent year into the future.

ResourcesLearn more about the Playwrights Unit

Status: Applications for four (4) positions open Spring 2021

Action: Hire an Intimacy and Violence Consultant who is trained in anti-racism, to be present for the entire rehearsal process.

Description: The Goodman acknowledges the need for a professionally trained consultant/staff member in the areas of stage combat and intimacy design, when scene work necessitates it, in order that artists feel safe on and off stage.

Status: To begin when in-person work resumes

Engagement Action

Action: Develop new entry points to a more economically, culturally and racially diverse workforce

Description: Based on current citywide intern mix-and-learn sessions, establish a new series of networking/mixer opportunities for BIPOC artists. Mixers will be developed with an eye towards continued engagement of previous Maggio Fellows (MF), Playwrights Unit (PWU) members and other Fellows and Interns. Virtual discussions with MF and PWU alumni launch the effort to introduce prospective participants to the programs.

Status: Accepting ideas; the first program takes place (virtually) Winter/Spring 2021

Action: Expand access to Student Programs

Description: Redesign Goodman Youth Arts Council and Cindy Bandle Young Critics programs to hybrid (online/in-person) models to eliminate barriers to participation.

Status: Details forthcoming; target launch in Fall 2021

Action: Expand portfolio of online Teacher professional development workshops.

Description: Develop portfolio of asynchronous and virtual workshops for teacher professional development to expand access to our teacher training and non-School Matinee Series educators.

Status: Details forthcoming; target launch in Fall 2021

Action: Increase Spanish-language classroom resources for Students.

Description: Expand Spanish-language materials and resources to be incorporated into all School Matinee Series study guides and online assets.

Status: Details forthcoming; target launch in Fall 2021

Action: Build Professional Development opportunities for current Staff

Description: Create internal professional development and training opportunities for current staff to increase their knowledge of the organization, hone their technical skills and prepare them for advancement both within the Goodman and within the larger theatrical community.

Status: First training sessions to begin Winter/Spring 2021

Action: Develop entry points to a more equitable and diverse workforce

Description: We recognize that the traditional pipeline through higher education excludes many individuals. We aim to create an ease-of-access portal for resume submission—even if a specific position is unavailable. This effort works towards expanding our workforce development, apprenticeship and internship programs to increase pathways for BIPOC and other marginalized/underrepresented communities into theater and creative careers.

Status: Policy review and related work to be continued by the Cornerstone Task force (CTF)

Action: Re-establish “Criticism in America” Boot Camp

Description: Held in 2017, the Criticism in America boot camp was designed to increase and encourage more BIPOC Chicago writers to enter the predominantly white cultural criticism field.

Status: Efforts are ongoing; work to be continued by the Cornerstone Task Force (CTF)

Action: Expand the quantity, breadth and reach of our Access Programs.

Description: Goodman Theatre currently provides accessibility services and a dedicated Accessibility/Ability Committee that is proactively researching new pathways to increase awareness of these programs and invest in building those audiences.

Status: Established and ongoing.

Resources: See a full list of our accessibility services