Alley Theatre is committed to being an equitable, diverse, inclusive, anti-racist theatre. This process is iterative, on-going, and is never finished. This commitment is reflected in our work on stage, within the community and our workforce.
Artistic Director Rob Melrose, Managing Director Dean Gladden and the Alley’s leadership team are committed to promoting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in all aspects of the Theatre’s programming and operations. We are conscious about fostering an environment where everyone is encouraged to bring their authentic selves. We embrace differences and strive to be inclusive of all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
The Alley has an affinity group of Alley staff of color, and have worked with anti-racism consultants Carmen Morgan, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, Tyler Rivenbark, Alison Park, The Center for the Healing of Racism in Houston, as well as our own EDI strategic planning led by Alley Chief Human Resources & Culture Officer, Sajal Javid.
OUR NEW MISSION, VISION AND VALUES
Our new mission, vision and values statement has EDIA at the forefront.
To be an inclusive theatre that is essential to Houston, the nation, and the world
To inspire and enchant lives through a diversity of theatrical experiences at the highest level of artistic excellence with our Resident Acting Company at the center
- Creative Excellence: Committed to standards at the highest professional level in our world premiere productions, contemporary work, classics, and new play development
- Alley Audience: Honoring and serving our longtime audience, subscribers, and guests while simultaneously cultivating and welcoming new and diverse audiences to the Alley
- Alley Company Artists: Dedication to the Resident Acting Company, resident artists, and artisans, as well as continued relationships with guest directors, writers, actors, and designers
- Education and Community Engagement: Broadening perspectives through education, engagement with the many diverse communities of Houston, using theatre in everyday contexts, and theatre experiences for young people
- Alley Staff: Valuing our employees and creating a collaborative culture in which all employees can do their best work
OUR LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The Alley Theatre is located in the traditional territory of the Karankawa, Atakapa, and Akokisas peoples and honors with gratitude the land itself and its original people.
At every first rehearsal of a new production, land acknowledgement is included to recognize our cultural heritage. This statement also appears in the program for every Alley Theatre production.
OUR ARTISTIC COMMITMENTS
Diverse Resident Acting Company (RAC) now full-time employees of the Alley
Our current RAC members have been made full-time employees of the Alley. This is a 52 weeks of the year commitment to our actors. We believe in supporting our Resident Acting Company who are making a life in theatre so that they have the stability and peace of mind to be creative and are a permanent part of our community in Houston.
We added two new RAC members this year making our Resident Acting Company 44% BIPOC. Of the eight plays we are presenting in our 75th anniversary season 50% are by writers of color and six of the plays are written by women. In addition, A Christmas Carol is adapted by a woman.
New Commitment – New tech schedule eliminating 10 out of 12 rehearsals
We have revised our technical rehearsal schedule to eliminate the practice of rehearsing 12-hour days during tech. This change allows our artists and staff to have a better quality of life.
New Commitment – New five-day rehearsal schedule
We have revised our pre-tech rehearsal schedule to be Tuesday through Saturday, giving our artists and staff a two-day weekend.
New Commitment – New span of rehearsal day
We have also revised our pre-tech rehearsal schedule to limit the span of the rehearsal day from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., allowing our artists and staff the ability to make evening plans.
These changes in the rehearsal schedule will be the Alley’s regular practice with the understanding that rare exceptions will be made when a project needs greater flexibility.
OUR BOARD COMMITMENT
Alley Board President Ken Kades attended a six-month EDI training with Carmen Morgan of artEquity. Alley Board members also attended a EDIA workshop with Alison Park of Blink Consulting.
Board President and the Governance and Nominating Committee have made their number one priority to bring more diversity to the board through new recruits
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT OUTREACH
Hispanic Heritage Month and El Zócalo
Led by Alley Theatre’s Manager of Community Partnership through the Alley’s El Zócalo program, the Alley offers a robust offering of online programming to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month every year. Please click here for our full roster of events.
Black History Month
Every day during Black History Month, the Alley Theatre’s online programming shines a light on one Black artist from Houston or around the country. Our list of artists is by no means exhaustive or complete as the number of Black artists to celebrate is large and ever-expanding.
Stop AAPI Hate
We, at the Alley Theatre, stand in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. We believe that diversity is our strength and strive to uplift and celebrate all the people and cultures that make Houston a rich and vibrant city. Everyone deserves respect. Everyone deserves to be safe. Everyone’s story deserves to be told. Please join us in doing all you can to STOP ASIAN HATE. #StopAsianHate #aapi
Education and Community Engagement Department Outreach and Artistic Department collaboration
Our two Departments are now meeting regularly and are working more collaboratively. In addition, our Manager of Community Partnerships has joined our Artistic Programming meetings and has brought the perspective of Community Partnerships into our season planning.
ADMINISTRATIVE FOCUS ON DIVERSITY
Alley Theatre Employee Values
At the Alley Theatre, we recognize that it is people who make theatre and that the Alley’s mission and vision could not be achieved without its employees. The Alley Theatre is a supportive team of individuals working toward a common purpose. We take time to celebrate not only our productions but also our team members doing excellent work in our shops, offices, and in the community.
Our employee value of Inclusion speaks of our active commitment to our EDIA efforts in employment. For a full list of Alley Employee values, click here.
We actively support equity, diversity, inclusion, and access in all aspects of our organization and greater community.
We recognize we all have biases and work to grow past them.
Chief Human Resources & Culture Officer Sajal Javid’s increased commitment to EDI
Sajal Javid, Chief Human Resources & Culture Officer, holds the designation of a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) and is an active member of the LORT EDI committee. She has been selected by artEquity to join their BIPOC Leadership Circle in partnership with Yale School of Drama. Sajal also completed Antiracism Facilitation Skills training by Stages Theatre and artEquity. Sajal has also been asked to be a guest speaker at Yale University School of Drama to speak about anti-racist HR practices, HR during COVID-19, the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Alley’s focus on employee wellness and work life balance.
Monthly All Staff EDIA trainings
Sajal Javid has been conducting monthly EDIA trainings for all staff on various topics focusing on bias, allyship, micro aggressions, cultural competence, language, disability, multi-generational workforce, etc. to name a few topics.
Alley staff EDIA Committee meets monthly to discuss EDIA and anti-racist practices at the Alley.
Anti-Racist Practices and Policies update
Audited current policies and procedures to promote EDIA.
As part of our EDIA focused recruiting strategy all the job descriptions were updated to reflect transferrable skills, no jargon and gender-neutral language. Posting on diverse job boards and expanding search to seek qualified candidates from all backgrounds.
Partnership with Rising Stars funded internship program with the University of St. Thomas and placement of two new interns in the Marketing and Literary department to provide access to early career theatre professionals who might not otherwise have an onramp to a LORT Theatre.
LORT EDI mentorship program
Alley Theatre is participating in the LORT EDI mentorship program for BIPOC employees. The mentorship program focuses on pairing BIPOC mentors with BIPOC mentees to help propel them in leadership positions in theatre.
This document is about how we are working to make an Alley Theatre where all are welcome, cared for, and included. This is a living document, and we will be adding to it periodically to update you on our progress to be transparent with this work.