The 35//50 Initiative has asked Concrete Theatre and other professional theatre companies and organizations across Alberta to commit to a set of organizational beliefs and policies, rooted in anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices. These commitments will result in 35%+ of staff and contractors who identify as Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour and 50%+ of staff and contractors who identify as female and non-binary by the 2024/2025 theatre season.
Concrete Theatre is proud to commit to the 35//50 Initiative. We believe this timeline is generous and achievable. And it aligns with our own long held organizational beliefs. Our company was founded by five women and has had artists of colour in artistic leadership roles from founding until today. Our work is held up by four critical pillars: excellence, diversity, relevance and inclusion. These pillars along with our mandate calls us to serve children, youth, schools, families and the community; to commission, develop, produce and tour diverse new stories that explore the critical and urgent issues young people are confronting; and to hire, support, train, develop and collaborate with artists, in particular Indigenous, Black, people of colour, LGBTQ+, D/deaf, people with disabilities, newcomers, women and non-binary people. We are dedicated to continuing to listen, learn, unlearn, improve our processes, practices and policies and to do better.
With the support of our board, we uphold the beliefs and commit to the 35+% and 50+% metrics called for by the 35//50 Initiative throughout our organization, and are excited to join with others in the community in this endeavour. We are currently completing a comprehensive data collection that spans our company from founding to the present (30 years) which will take time to fully complete, but are excited to present the first stage (the last five years) later this month. Out of this data collection and subsequent analysis this year, we will be building a very specific action plan with board and staff together to both support our successes and address areas where we want to see further change. We have begun anti-racism training for our staff, and will be doing more with our staff, Board and key artists connected to our company in the upcoming year.
We would like to thank the organizers and supporters of the 35//50 Initiative across Alberta for the thoughtful plan and the idea of shared guideposts and goals they have offered to the theatre and arts community. We also want to deeply acknowledge the work that many advocates in our community have been doing around these issues since we began our work 30 years ago and before. We are grateful for their many years of oftentimes unacknowledged and unrecognized labour. Change takes time. We would not be in this moment without them. We welcome this constructive discussion and look forward to working together with others across the province to actively move towards a more equitable future.