Working in DC is more than just a show. We endeavor to change how performing art is conceived and produced from the ground up. Working in DC would not be able to exist without the vital support of our local and national partnerships. We rely heavily on the knowledge and experience each of these partners bring to this project. Learn about how these leaderful organizations and individuals are putting in the work to co-create a truly unique approach that centers justice, accountability and community engagement through the platform of theatre.
A lot of work goes into getting a project like this off the ground.
There are several decisions our team has debated over leading up to this point. Like, how we should arrange the audience seating or the design of our website. However, something that has never been up for debate is our core belief that racial justice is necessary in our work — that we acknowledge this production will traverse on stolen indigenous land and that the United States has a dark legacy of oppression and systemic racism, one that can be observed in the arts too well.
Not only do we agree on these truths, but we are committed to using our platform, our gathering together, as an opportunity to move the theater community even closer to a just and equitable society. We believe that at this moment in history, it is not enough to just say #BlackLivesMatter and #StopAsianHate. What are we going to do about it? What is our role in the revolution?
After several weeks of our own internal anti-racism and anti-oppression conversations, we are proud to share that in alignment with our values and commitments, we have become Allied with Broadway For Racial Justice (BFRJ). Working in DC is the first theatrical project to be Allied with BFRJ in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area!
Allied with BFRJ is an accountability program, led by BIPOC theater workers that “gives leaders of theatrical institutions the opportunity to humbly learn/unlearn, and be a part of moving forward in a way that deconstructs racism while building a new transformative theatre community together.”
As a part of the process of becoming Allied with BFRJ, we have developed anti-racist protocols for our work, which have been reviewed and approved by the BFRJ Board. In being Allied with BFRJ, WORKING IN DC has pledged to:
Elevate the standard of equity and inclusion for BIPOC through active and ongoing protocol changes.
Unlearn practices that are rooted in white supremacy and to learn, within a relationship of accountability with BFRJ, how to create the safest possible space for you as an artist to do your work.
Encourage members of our cast and production teams to utilize the BFRJ hotline or help email, as a mode of communication that allows them to report and address any concerns or oppressive practices they experience.
The central goal of Working in DC is to center joy. Joy in our gathering. Joy in our artistry. Black joy. Queer joy. The joy that comes with the work we are proud of. Joy that leads to liberation. Centering white supremacist, patriarchal, heteronormative, capitalistic ideals and expectations in our artistic practice and creation is the antithesis of all joy. Our success is rooted in an inclusive definition of artistic excellence, one that is built and observed by the collective. Our success is measured by the joy we create from producing this art.
We aim to confront the challenges of working caregivers and parents by setting a public precedent for arts and culture producers across the country with progressive, humane practices to combat the socio-economic burden of caregiving and parenting. Working In DC has partnered with Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts (PAAL), a national organization that gathers best practices from across the country, creates resources for institutions, and implements solutions for restructuring production models.
With the development of this collective support structure, we hope that the application of these practices develops structural principles that have the potential to translate to all employees and contracted arts workers, regardless of caregiver status. Principles such as work-life balance, economic and social justice, schedule and budget flexibility, expectation adjustment for illness, grief, and birth, all require a willingness on behalf of the Working In DC team to recognize the humanity of the individuals contributing to the work created within its scope.
We commit to:
Caregiver support as part of our conversation and culture
Public transparency of caregiver support throughout the process
Comprehensive budgeting for anticipated caregiver support
Just scheduling practices, including mostly five-day weeks and no 10/12’s
Intentional hiring of parent and caregivers Arts Workers
Family-care provision options through reimbursements
Flexibility of on-site expectations for creative staff with children, family, or dependents
We acknowledge and uplift PAAL’s 3 Pillars of Justice:
You cannot have an anti-racist organization without formal caregiver support.
You cannot have gender parity and inclusion without formal caregiver support.
You cannot support reproductive rights without formal caregiver support.
Caregiver support requests, questions, and conversations can be directed to our Social Accountability Director and our Production Manager.
Our support model treats the caregiver provision as a reimbursement cost. The documentation of reimbursements as ‘caretaking reimbursement’ allows it not to be counted as taxable income. In order to manage the distribution of funds and prevent discrimination, the fund has clear boundaries including: $1000 limit per person, $3000 total fund limit for production, and is available to everyone who qualifies. We offer as much flexibility as possible, while also recognizing the federal relationship qualifiers of “caretaking reimbursements for legal dependents while completing work responsibilities.’
WORKING IN DC
"The extraordinary dreams of ordinary people" - Studs Terkel