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The Stage Managers’ Association Creates the Council for Equity and Advocacy

Stage Directions • Industry NewsTheatre Buzz • October 4, 2020

On Monday, September 23, 2019, the Stage Managers’ Association (SMA) will present its annual Del Hughes Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Art of Stage Management

Formerly the EDI Committee, the Council for Equity and Advocacy (CEA) has been created by the Stage Managers’ Association of the United States (SMA). The CEA is led by chair Kat Meister and includes members who are SMA Members as well as industry professionals from outside the organization. The Council advocates for the ideals of equity and champions all stage managers in their efforts to build an equitable industry.

The committee’s charge is to expand and guide the Stage Managers’ Association, both inwardly and outwardly, in their efforts to increase representation in the membership, with an emphasis on elevating the voices of stage managers who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), as well as other under-represented industry populations.

The Stage Managers’ Association strongly condemns the violence, racism, and systematic oppression that has caused professional members of our industry, and citizens of this country to be disrespected and to be prevented from living and thriving as citizens of the United States. We condemn in the strongest terms the unimaginable murders of Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and countless others. Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter. (When this was read at the SMA annual meeting in June, the chair called for a moment of silence in memory of those who have lost their lives, needlessly and undeservedly, to this violence.)

We are actively addressing this systemic oppression of the members in our community and within our industry. We call upon all stage managers to pledge to respect everyone in the room and everyone at the table. To read, to listen, and to learn so that we can understand individually how to help make the rehearsal room and the performance stage a place for joyful creation, with mutual respect and collaboration for all people working together in the artistic process.

Specific Actions to be taken by, and for, the working team of the SMA include but are not limited to:

1) Re-imagining of an SMA initiative working for Equity in our profession. This will manifest as our newly formed Council for Equity and Advocacy (CEA) which will invite members of the SMA to join with members of our industry who are not currently members, to develop strategies and action steps to address the inequity in our industry and also advocate for change throughout all of the operations of the SMA.

2) Actively opening existing positions for more diverse voices, on our board, on our Executive Committee, and in our associated leadership corps of Vice Regional Representatives and Committee Chairs.

3) The Board has approved a significant budget for the leadership team of the SMA of (nearly 50 individuals) to engage individuals to begin providing ongoing Unconscious Bias Training and Anti-Racism training beginning in late October 2020.

We invite your input, support, but more importantly, your participation.

Elynmarie Kazle, Chair, The Stage Managers’ Association of the United States
September 2020 (original version presented to membership June 2020)
(330) 618-1501

Members of the Council as of September 15, 2020

Kat Meister, Chair
Amanda Spooner, First Vice Chair, SMA; Vice Chair CEA
Ross Jackson, Second Vice Chair, SMA
Fredo Agular
Jonathan Castanien
Sarah Goshman
Katrina Herrmann
Kamra Jacobs
Susan Kilbourne
R. Christopher Maxwell
Oona Newman
Cheri B. Tay
Adrienne Wells
Elynmarie Kazle, Ex Officio

Further information from The Stage Managers’ Association (SMA):

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