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Broadway theater coalition agrees to reforms boosting equity, diversity

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People pass by the the Walter Kerr Theater, which shows ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ on October 3, 2017 in New York City. The four month residency has drawn worldwide interest from the rock legend’s fans but also concerns over tickets prices that run for thousands of dollars. 

A Broadway theater coalition has agreed to reforms intended to boost equity and diversity in the industry, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

In The New Deal for Broadway agreement organized by Black Theatre United (BTU), members established diversity riders for underrepresented communities in new contracts and widening of talent pools for more diverse candidates in the future. 

“We believe that EDIAB [equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging] should be accorded the same seriousness as issues of workplace safety, discrimination, sexual harassment, and bullying,” the coalition said in a statement to the AP.

“Just as we are all committed to create safe environments free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and bullying, we are committed to create environments that are equitable, diverse, inclusive, accessible, and in which everyone has a sense of belonging.” 

Each company will craft its own EDIAB policy along group guidelines, to be posted on its websites, theatre lobbies and audition rooms.

“This is the floor. This is not the ceiling. This is just the beginning for us,” BTU founding member and Tony-award winner LaChanze told the newswire. “We’re hoping with this document that it will have a ripple effect throughout our industry for all other members of the community.”

BTU was created as a response to last summer’s racial injustice protests, according to the AP.

According to data from 2017-18’s “The Visibility Report: Racial Representation on NYC Stages,” 80 percent of Broadway writers and 85 percent of directors were white during that calendar year. 

The new agreement has been endorsed by many Broadway organizations and casting agencies, including the Nederlander Organization, Jujamcyn Theaters, the Shubert Organization, Disney Theatrical Production, the Telsey Office and Tara Rubin Casting, the AP reported.

Tags Broadway Broadway theatre Diversity New York New York City

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