by NICOLE MCPHEETERS
In an ongoing effort to be more inclusive, welcoming, and representative of the Bloomington community, Cardinal Stage has introduced the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. The program is part of Cardinal’s five-year plan that was established in 2018. The goal is to produce more plays written by women and people of color, and tell more stories about characters of all races, genders, and sexual orientations. “We want a more diverse slate of shows as the seasons progress, and concurrently increase the diversity of our audience,” says Artistic Director Kate Galvin. “We want to make sure that everyone feels represented.”
The program will take proactive steps to reach its goal. Looking to the future, Cardinal plans to create a scholarship program for those interested in working with the Bloomington Academy of Film & Theater (BAFT). In addition, BAFT and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater are working with Cardinal Stage to create a pathway for those interested in obtaining technical theater and film training but who don’t have the means or desire to secure a four-year degree.
More proximate plans are also in the works.
“Our immediate goal is to program a play that speaks to the black experience and features a diverse cast sometime in the ’20–21 season,” says Managing Director Gabe Gloden. “We’re seeking help from our local black community to guide us in the selection of this play.”
Cardinal Stage has committed to producing one show per year written by a person of color and will actively hire artists of color for creative teams and roles.
Galvin and Gloden recognize that Cardinal’s evolution, even with the addition of the new diversity and inclusion program, will take time.
“There’s no silver bullet,” Galvin says. “It requires building relationships over the course of years. We don’t expect things to magically change overnight just because we’ve decided to start this initiative.”
Adds Gloden, “Ideally, Cardinal Stage not only looks more like the community that we currently serve, but like the community we want to become—welcoming and nurturing of people from all walks of life. And I don’t see this program ever truly reaching completion. This is ongoing work that all organizations must do deliberately and strategically.”
For more information, visit cardinalstage.org.