An ambitious plan for diversity in theater written by East West producing artistic director Tim Dang is drawing stiff opposition for those who consider it a “quota,” reports the Los Angeles Times
As first reported in Broadway World,Dang’s plan calls for American theaters to commit to reaching at least one of the following goals within the next five years:
· 51% of your organization’s artists and production personnel (combined) will be PEOPLE OF COLOR; or
· 51% of your organization’s artists and production personnel (combined) will be WOMEN; or
· 51% of your organization’s artists and production personnel (combined) will be UNDER 35 years of age.
The 51% Preparedness Plan for the American Theatre has already been endorsed by a number of theaters.
But some are already calling it illegal.
“When it comes to hiring, firing and promoting, with an eye on skin color or gender or how old someone is, that’s not something that falls within the law,” said Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity.
“If you want to encourage diverse theater, do it with quality and don’t do it with numbers,” said Manny Klausner of the Individual Rights Foundation and the Reason Foundation.
But others are lining up behind the plan.
“As our state and nation rapidly diversify, we support initiatives that help reflect those demographic shifts in our key cultural, educational and political institutions,” said Stewart Kwoh of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “As champions of equal opportunity for marginalized communities, we applaud East West Players for its innovative campaign to encourage theaters to embrace youth, women and people of color who struggle for equitable access to opportunities in American theater.”
“This is another effort to diversify the entertainment industry by going directly to the source where many of our performers get their start, the theatrical stage,” said Alex Nogales of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “It is an action whose time has come, which has to be accelerated to reflect the diversity of our nation, of our stories and the outstanding talents of our performers.”
East West Players of Los Angeles was founded in 1965 and is considered a leading Asian American theater group.