Steps for Strategic Action
1. Outline Your Goal
2. Choose Your Target
3. Create A Message
Change in Action
Every time you attend a show, support an artist, or vote in an election, you are helping to shape the direction of Canadian theatre. Want to do more? Here are strategic suggestions and 7-step instructions for creating change!
Before you can act, you must identify what you want and select a goal to achieve this. What you want may be as broad as “I want more women in key creative positions in theatre.” Be clear: what is it you want to achieve?
Who are the people or institutions in between you and your goal? Who do they listen to? This is your target audience. Select the target audience for your message. Become familiar with their desires, interests, and needs.
Your message must be persuasive to your target audience. If you have multiple targets, alter your message to suit your audiences. A general appeal tends not to be effective. How can you find commonality with your target? Where do your goals and their needs intersect?
• Increase % of plays by women and other marginalized groups taught in classrooms. • Select works by women for productions. • Teach acting and directing to deconstruct gender, racialization, and other constructs. • Encourage gender-blind readings and casting in all activities.
Suggestions for Educators:
• Vote with your ticket: form meet-up groups to attend works by women and other marginalized communities. • Write theatres that present works by women to show support. • Support playwrights who write roles for women and other marginalized groups. • Curate a list of plays by women and equity-seeking groups and post online • Use social media to support women (e.g. #FringeFemme). • Participate in Hackathons to increase women artists’ visibility online. • Speak up!
Suggestions for Audiences and Theatre Practitioners:
Strategic Action Suggestions
• Organize rehearsals to allow for childcare. • Restructure Boards of Directors to reflect the population or demographics of your audiences. Or, mandate diversity/parity on your Board. • Host or run a Women’s Voices Festival in your own community. • Collect ticket sales data for productions to understand better what works are speaking to your audiences. • Support equity initiatives (e.g. 50/50 in 20/20).
• Have quotas when selecting plays. • Host gender- and colour-blind readings for development work.
Suggestions for Theatres and Festivals:
• Create resources kits for pregnant actors, outlining responsibilities and considerations for workers and employers.
• Lobby the government to create legislation requiring employers to enact equity plans.
• Lobby arts councils to require theatres to enact equity plans as a funding condition.
Steps for Strategic Action
4. Find Your Messengers
5. Reach Out To Allies
6. Select Your Tactics
7. Get Started
Your message will have a stronger impact if communicated by someone your target audience trusts. Some audiences will trust an “expert,” other audiences will be more influenced by “real people” who speak from their personal experiences. Who does your target audience listen to?
Are there friends, organizations, or leaders who would support this action? Who (or what) are the groups or individuals that have some influence with your target audience?
Your tactics can vary from the less intrusive, such as attending a show or writing a letter, to the more aggressive, such as face-to-face meetings. Keep in mind - the most effective campaigns include a variety of tactics that are appropriate to each situation and individual.
This depends on your goal, which might be bringing people together to discuss issues, creating a list of people you need to influence, or identifying local media figures who might cover your particular issue. Select your entry point and get going!
• Start initiatives that encourage and support diversity in theatre. • Assess company policies for gaps in gender and diversity. • Offer courses to help women improve their leadership and negotiation skills. • Host networking events for artists to connect and meet regularly, discuss gender parity, build community, and brainstorm ideas for advocacy. • Use online platforms to link women artists with employment opportunities and commissions. • Create awards for companies that meet equity targets. • Provide virtual mentorship: post detailed profiles of successful practitioners on your organization’s website.
• Set company targets for parity in hiring.
• Partner with educational institutions to provide training to underrepresented groups, such as women lighting and sound designers.
Suggestions for Administrations:
Suggestions for Art Funders:
• Include gender as funding criteria along with diversity. • Track statistics for applicants and money-awarded. Make the findings public. • Hold all juries to a standard gender split of 50/50. • Include childcare costs as professional expenses covered by grants for individual artists. • Provide incentives to individual companies that provide childcare services/subsidy. • Establish funds to subsidize special programs to assist women in theatre. • Provide funding for companies and organizations that want to make events and venues accessible to people with different abilities (e.g. ASL interpretation).
• Instate gender quotas tied to funding.
• Increase funding for women’s theatre companies and festivals to help move work from development to production.
Strategic Action Suggestions