Make and Impact

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access

Welcoming the Whole Community


We strive to celebrate and serve the diverse people and cultures that make up our whole community. The IRT is committed to creating and maintaining an antiracist theatre that is inclusive, safe, respectful, and accessible.

Whether you have been coming for years or are here for the first time—welcome to your Theatre!

Our Journey

Since 2018, we have been working with Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) consultant Sarah Bellamy, and since 2017, functionally diverse Access consultant Talleri A. McRae to discern challenges and opportunities present in our organization around inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Our journey is informed by the hundreds of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) artists and administrators who created WeSeeYouWhiteAmericanTheatre and Black Theatre United. Their vision, courage, and labor has illuminated important BIPOC perspectives on how we can be a more inclusive theatre.

Our Values

The following Values, Commitments, and Actions are the result of deep reflection and community conversation guided by expert analysis. Our aim is movement forward, not perfection, and we will amend as we learn and grow.

  • Our community thrives when diverse voices and peoples gather to make, watch, and support theatre.
  • It is our responsibility as a community resource to open our doors wide, welcoming all to our high-quality, relevant art.
  • We must acknowledge our history of privilege as a Predominantly White Institution in order to effectively support dismantling systems of oppression.
  • In order to be an antiracist and inclusive organization we must seek knowledge and understanding to identify discriminatory practices and increase cultural awareness in collaboration with, and learning directly from, BIPOC, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI+), functionally diverse, and other historically excluded communities.

Our Commitments

  • We will represent and engage the diverse people, cultures, and communities of central Indiana.
  • We will employ more people of color, with a goal of 40% of all new hires being BIPOC, and foster an inclusive culture of artists, staff, board, and vendors.
  • We will continue and deepen our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) training for all board and staff.
  • We will be accessible to all audiences inviting those who have been unheard or unseen in the past, including functionally diverse people, BIPOC, LGBTQI+, and under-resourced communities.

Our Actions

Following are a set of actions grouped into categories that mirror the IRT’s Strategic Plan, developed by staff and board IDEA committees. Progress is reviewed and evaluated at regular intervals, but at least annually (from a data perspective as well as from an experiential perspective) by the staff and board IDEA committees which include the Executive leadership of both staff and board. This is a living document. As we grow and learn, we will continue to add new actions and report on the actions we have completed.


Our Recent and Ongoing Work

  • In 2018, we designated all-gender restrooms in our workspaces and renovated public spaces.
  • In 2019, we formalized our ongoing commitment to our IDEA values by creating the Inclusion Series, which commits a third of our programming to telling stories written by and centering the lives of underrepresented communities including the BIPOC, functionally diverse, and LGBTQI+ communities.
  • In 2020, we committed to ensuring that at least one half of all creative teams identify as people of color and include a diversity of gender and sexual identities.
  • In 2020, we committed to eliminating the industry standard “10 hours out of 12 hours” technical rehearsal schedule, because it unfairly disadvantages caregivers and people of color.
  • In 2021, we implemented an anonymous feedback form for visiting artists to provide space for critical feedback on IDEA issues. Feedback is shared with IDEA committees to inform the Theatre’s culture, policies, and procedures.

Our Future Work

  • Hire a BIPOC casting director to work alongside the in-house casting office.
  • Further develop the Ambassador program to include readings/discussions of plays under consideration for future seasons.


Our Recent and Ongoing Work

  • In 2017, created new Sensory Friendly performance series and continued to support audio described and American Sign Language (ASL) performances.
  • In 2018, joined the Access Pass program, offering $2 tickets to families utilizing state assistance.
  • In 2018, expanded post-show discussion platforms to feature BIPOC speakers and community members in order to share diverse perspectives on productions and relevant community issues.
  • In 2019, created a land and building acknowledgement to acknowledge and pay respect to those who have been historically excluded or upon whose land we live and work. We include these statements in our programs, and regularly read them in full company and board meetings.
  • In 2021, hired Black-led public relations and marketing firm Herd Strategies to deepen community engagement efforts with BIPOC audiences, reestablish relationships with BIPOC media businesses, and ensure that representation and voice in external marketing is authentic and respectful to audiences.

Our Future Work

  • Prominently display Land and Indiana Theatre Building acknowledgments in our lobbies.
  • Review our front-of-house policies and make necessary changes including mandatory annual antibias and antiracist training for our Front of House staff and volunteer ushers.
  • Add closed captioning services to performances.
  • Create a plan to build an all-gender restroom in our historic Indiana Theatre Grand lobby.

Staff and Board Training and Development

Our Recent and Ongoing Work

  • In 2018, implemented biannual antiracism and antibias training with IDEA consultant Sarah Bellamy.
  • In 2018, instituted identifying pronouns in meetings as well as on email signatures to best respect the gender identities of staff, artists, and patrons.
  • In 2020, created a staff IDEA committee to ensure staff feedback and guidance is incorporated into IDEA values and commitments.
  • Dedicated a portion of all staff and company meetings to reading a common text and discussing it in small groups.
  • To honor and value the expertise and labor of those whom we engage in IDEA work, all staff training, community conversations, and committee work is paid.

Our Future Work

  • Continue regular staff and board IDEA training to create a safer space for underrepresented folks and to encourage and support the work of practicing allyship.
  • Maintain IDEA training as a core part of onboarding new staff members and new board members.
  • Continue to convene and support the IDEA staff committee.
  • Continue staff discussions related to antiracism through a staff communal reading.
  • Create a staff IDEA resource library to ensure access points for continued learning.
  • Encourage and support the formation of staff identity-based affinity spaces. We want to ensure all employees feel safe to work, create, and voice instances of racism or bias they may experience or witness at the Theatre.
  • Devote a portion of each board meeting to an IDEA component.


Our Recent and Ongoing Work

  • Created a board IDEA committee in 2019 to build support for our continued work.
  • Reviewed hiring processes including postings, job descriptions, and recruitment efforts to create more inclusive language.
  • Expanded the places we post job openings and the methods we use to recruit staff.
  • In order to be more inclusive, clearly identified our commitment to hiring, supporting, and retaining a diverse workforce.

Our Future Work

  • Conduct a full review of our staff and artists to better understand our demographics and take intentional steps to expand overall inclusion.
  • Diversify our board with the goal of reaching at least 42% BIPOC representation by 2028 and increase representation from LGBTQI+ and functionally diverse communities to better reflect our whole community.
  • Continue to convene and support the IDEA Board Committee. Create a budget line for staff IDEA training and commit to funding this line annually.


Our Recent and Ongoing Work

  • In 2019, began establishing connections with local leaders for our future Community Council.
  • Acknowledged the unjust history of Predominantly White Institutions, extracting audiences and resources from communities of color.  As we build relationships, we commit to supporting our partnership work by asking what support is desired (not in exchange for support), and to amplify these organizations.

Our Future Work

  • In 2022, create the new position of Director of Inclusion and Community Partnerships to join our senior staff and lead our IDEA partnerships work.
  • Create a Community Ambassador Group composed of a diverse cross-section of central Indiana’s community leaders and residents.
  • Build relationships and develop partnerships with historically excluded vendors in all areas of our work in order to improve representation, partnership, and distribution of resources.
  • Develop meaningful relationships with local organizations who support and/or are composed of BIPOC, LGBTQI+, and functionally diverse people.

This information was updated and approved by the IRT Board of Directors on October 27, 2022.