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As we plan for our re-opening season of plays, Playwrights Horizons offers this first biannual progress report on our work toward equity and anti-racism. In January of this year, we publicized our Commitments to Anti-Racism, which acknowledged the significant, long-range work in front of us, and which outlined the commitments and action plans toward equity, anti-racism and anti-oppressive practices across our organization.
This effort continues to be guided by the theater’s EDI Working Group, and implemented by the full staff and board, across all departments and the Playwrights Horizons Theater School (PHTS). Staff across all departments have developed specific steps and timelines toward the commitments we have made for the current calendar year, and what follows is an account of what we have accomplished so far.   


  • In order to remain accountable to our commitments, we have overhauled the methods by which we collect staff and artist demographic data. At the end of each fiscal year (concluding in June), we will reach out to all who have worked with us in that season to participate in an optional, anonymous demographic survey. The data will then be shared publicly at the beginning of the following calendar year.
  • We have assembled an Artistic Advisory Council, who will meet with artistic staff quarterly to reflect on our work.  The Council will include Daniel Aukin, Ashley Chang, Catherine Coray, Jorge Cortiñas, Ty Defoe, Madeleine George, Francis Jue, David Mendizábal, Amanda Spooner, Awoye Timpo, and Jason Veasey.  
  • To address inequities in our play submissions pool, we have overhauled our longstanding open script submissions policy in order to focus more proactively on community outreach, and to develop relationships with writers from historically oppressed communities. We will measure our progress with an optional, anonymous survey for all writers who submit work.
  • Both Playwrights Horizons and PHTS have created an equitable search process for hiring new staff and ongoing faculty, doing more proactive recruitment of practitioners from historically oppressed communities, and including salary and benefit expectations. At the school, through new hires in the 2020-2021 academic year, Black and other educators of color now represent just over 50% of our faculty roster.
  • To direct marketing efforts toward theatergoers of the global majority (80% of the world's population identify as people of color), we have included dedicated budgets for audience development consultants across every production in our season, and we are exploring staffing structures and cross-organizational collaborations to sustainably support this work on an institutional level. 


  • We have developed a capsule statement that communicates our central anti-racism values, which is shared on our website. This will be physically posted as signage at Playwrights Horizons Uptown and Downtown, and it will be included in programs, speeches, job postings, onboarding packets, rehearsal rooms, etc. 
  • Having worked with an EDI consultant who met with staff and board across the organization, we have created a new full-time staff position: our Manager of Social Justice Initiatives will collaborate with the full staff and board in our everyday practices to advance our continued anti-racism work toward a cohesive reflection of our shared, articulated values.
  • Executive Leadership – Adam Greenfield (Artistic Director), Leslie Marcus (Managing Director), Carol Fishman (General Manager), Natasha Sinha (Associate Artistic Director) and Tomi Tsunoda (Director of PHTS) -- have attended anti-racism training through artEquity, CCCADI, Conscientious Theater Training and PISAB to spark continued foundational learning and gain tools to move forward toward our goals.


  • We have continued our practice of acknowledging the stolen Lenape land where our theater now sits, including prominent recognition in our physical and digital spaces, and verbal recognition at key meetings and events. We are continuing to  build upon this practice. 
  • We have developed a process to center creative collaborators who share an identity/culture represented in the storytelling of a project, so as to prioritize relevant framing and knowledge about the culture(s). This begins in the earliest conversations with the playwright and director, proactively makes space for staff to share their perspectives, and ends with opportunities to debrief and to assess our progress.
  • PHTS has invested in ongoing collaborations with our partners at Tisch, including the Office of Diversity Initiatives, Student Council, and Coalition of Disabled Artists, to increase equity and accessibility in our classrooms and to help students access support for acute outsider experiences.
  • Working on our upcoming season, our Casting office is collaborating with Actors for Autism, an organization dedicated to the advancement, education and training of people on the autism spectrum. At the same time, we’re building similar partnerships to ensure cultural specificity for works centered on other historically oppressed communities. 


  • We have eliminated “10 out of 12” technical rehearsals.
  • Uptown, we have created and held space for the following affinity groups for staff and board, led by members of Playwrights staff: People with Disabilities, Members of the Global Majority, those who identify as Jewish, and a “White” Learning Space.  Downtown at PHTS, we have integrated an hour into the weekly class schedule for Student Affinity Groups, which are student-led and organized along with regular meetings with the school’s director over the course of the academic year. 
  • We have formalized our process to receive consent prior to sharing images and/or stories in our marketing materials, ensuring that artists are informed of how we will represent their work and their image and to what ends.
  • PHTS has created an online resource page for current students, faculty, and staff, providing links to mental health resources, pathways to classroom accommodations, and complaint reporting protocols and forms.
  • Using demographic information from immediately prior seasons, we are ensuring that all marketing materials honestly reflect the racial diversity of our onstage work.
  • PHTS faculty and staff have assessed and revised its curriculum and teaching methodologies to deliver more diverse understandings of theater as an art form, and to invest in new approaches to teaching theater practice that do not perpetuate harmful legacies from mainstream 20th century training.
  • To support people with disabilities and to make our work more accessible both Uptown and Downtown, we will conduct accessibility assessments of our spaces to look at the artist, staff and audience experience of navigating our two locations. We are also hiring an ADA consultant to make sure we are fully code compliant. In addition, we are continuing the work we’ve begun to make our website more easily readable, and will add information for people with disabilities to make it easier for them to travel to and visit our spaces.


  • We have continued to contribute to playwrights’ health insurance, and to compensate playwrights for pre-production work and rehearsal weeks. 
  • Beginning in our 2021-2022 season, we will compensate artists for participation in fundraising activities and special events, when in addition to contractually agreed upon events for playwrights and directors.
  • At the start of PHTS’s last academic year, faculty pay rates were standardized with the base rate increased by 23%. In the upcoming academic year, the pay rate will increase again by 6.25%.
  • Beginning January 2021, participants in our Theatrical Fellowship Program began earning a daily stipend of $75, increased from $50. Additionally, beginning next season, administrative fellowships will run four days per week down from five, ensuring Fellows will earn more money for less time. Each Fellow will continue to receive a monthly unlimited MetroCard, along with financial support (approx. $250) for continuing professional development. Candidates who self-identify are also invited to apply for supplemental Multicultural Scholarships; in the past, these have ranged from $5-10k.
  • Beginning July 1, Playwrights increased our compensation for all artists engaged in our New Works Lab to $75 per day. We will cap our days at five hours, ensuring that artists and practitioners receive no less than minimum wage. We will continue to compensate all writers/composers with a fee of $100 per day.


  • We have scheduled a public Town Hall on January 24, 2022, to address our progress toward the above commitments and to outline future objectives.
  • The demographic data we collect in the course of a year, using our newly overhauled process (outlined above), will be shared publicly at the end of each calendar year.

Our journey to become an anti-racist theater will be ongoing, and it is foundational to our current work and future vision.  Our practices and protocols will be expanded and fully integrated into our current and ongoing strategic planning efforts for the organization. We will release our next progress report in January, in conjunction with a public Town Hall on January 24, 2022.   As we continue to share our progress, we welcome your feedback, comments, and questions.  We hope you’ll be part of this progress, and we invite you to reach out to us with any thoughts or questions at EDIworking@phnyc.org.
Thank you for being in community with us,
Playwrights Horizons