Statements and policies that set out our positions, procedures and actions.
Equality is at the heart of what the Criterion Theatre does. Opening access, being representative and acting with fairness and respect for all, are core strategic aims of the Board of Trustees. All of our processes and policies are driven by the aspiration for the Criterion Theatre to be a demonstrable place of opportunity for all with diverse and brilliant plays on stage and inclusive company and membership.
As a non-professional theatre working in the heart of a local community, our mission is for a membership that represents our local area and city; encompassing diversity in race, ethnicity, faith, disability, gender identity, class and economic disadvantage. We want to actively encourage, nurture and develop artists from the widest possible pool of talent and ensure that our work reaches the maximum audiences across our local community, city and region.
We are asking all our members, volunteers and stakeholders to sign up to an ethos of equality, diversity and inclusion, as individuals and as an organisation and to commit to furthering diversity within our company and beyond it into the wider theatre and arts arena.
This document outlines our guiding principles with regard to equality, diversity and inclusion within our organisation. In addition to this we have created an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. This will be a live document which is reviewed, updated and shared regularly.
Why is EDI important?
We need to be more outward-looking, inclusive, and long-term-focused – drawing the most brilliant talent from the widest possible proportion of people. We strongly believe that diversity contributes to our artistic innovation and creativity and to the social purpose of our theatre family.
The Criterion is an equal opportunities organisation. It aims to ensure that no one who comes into contact with the theatre in any capacity receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of sex, race, colour, nationality, disability, ethnic or national origins, class, marital status, civil status, sexual orientation, gender re-assignment, age, political or religious belief.
We are committed to promoting and maintaining the excellent standard and quality of actors cast on the Criterion stage.
We champion diversity in all forms within casting decisions and we are dedicated to creating a safe and supportive audition environment where actors are empowered to do their best work. We are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all actors regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, age, physical ability, faith or economic background. We understand the importance of visibility and representation onstage and we want to reflect the diversity of our local community and city in our work.
We will operate an open audition process for all our productions. We openly advertise all auditions in our season announcements on our website and through social media channels. We aspire to make EDI progress by widening the network of these advertisements beyond our usual outlets to reach the widest possible population.
We are committed to the principle of open casting, meaning that all directors will cast with an open mind, without prejudice and with maximum flexibility around personal characteristics. We acknowledge that the predominantly white makeup of theatre in the UK means that we must pay particular attention to this within our EDI action plan and Casting and Audition policy. As a general principle we will start from a position of race/ethnicity neutral casting for all productions. Where race/ethnicity or other personal characteristics are central to the story, we will make this clear in audition notices and make according consideration.
We are committed to artistic programming of the highest quality, diversity and innovation. We need to ensure that the stories which we represent through our productions are as diverse and inclusive as they can be in relation to our local community and city. We will strive to improve the reach of our plays through careful and targeted selection, so that they directly speak to the widest possible proportion of audiences. We will specifically commit to positive targets around the representation within our artistic programmes of women writers and writers who are black or persons of colour, while also looking continually to ensure that other minority interests are adequately represented.
Audience and public engagement
The plan for each show has to have diversity as a central concern. We need to aim to attract new audiences and encourage repeat attendance and loyalty. We will seek to broaden our local and regional reach, thinking about different marketing strategies to reach out to all sections of our community.
We will strive to make our building and our performances as accessible as possible and audit this regularly, internally and externally. We want to be open, friendly and welcoming and provide an environment in which we all come together to make and experience the best theatre.
Monitoring and Review
We will commit to an annual review on progress towards increasing equality, diversity and inclusion within our theatre and the publication of the results of this review at our AGM and through our website.
This EDI Policy is supported by a range of action plans and connected policies and procedures including:
EDI Action Plan 2020-21
Anti-Racism Reflective Statement
Casting and Auditions Policy
Code of Behaviour Policy
Child Protection Policy
The Board of Trustees August 2020