Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in Theater

We believe in the power of theater to enhance our humanity, stir us to action, and connect us to each other while simultaneously entertaining us. However, along with many who care about theater and social justice, we are concerned about equity, diversity, and inclusion in theater—on the stage, behind the stage, and in the audience—and what this portends for the future vibrancy of theaters and the communities in which they exist.

Fund for Diversity in Theater

Through our August 2016-August 2019 Fund for Diversity in Theater, the Weissberg Foundation sought to accomplish the following:

  • Engage and expand new voices and audiences in Washington-area theater so it is more accessible, inspiring, and compelling to a broad range of theatergoers now and in the future.
  • Nurture an honest, self-examining community of theater leaders who will be open and committed to working together to share learning and ideas for increasing diversity on stage, in audiences, and behind the scenes.
  • Scan the landscape of, support, and learn hand-in-hand with local theaters engaged in diversity work to inform our foundation’s own grantmaking, governance, and operations.
  • Share lessons learned and best practices generated throughout this initiative with the broader theater community and our peers in philanthropy.

The Fund for Diversity in Theater was a $1,000,000 commitment that included financial and capacity building support to the following theaters.

  • Adventure Theatre MTC
  • GALA Hispanic Theatre
  • Mosaic Theater Company of DC
  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Learn more about our Diversity in Theater Grantees.

Focus on Learning and Collaboration

The Weissberg Foundation has approached the Fund for Diversity in Theater as an opportunity for learning and collaboration for our grantee partners, the broader theater community, the foundation, and our peers in philanthropy. This has included consulting with colleagues in the design of the grant initiative; engaging external reviewers in the proposal review process; seeking feedback from grant applicants on that process; and integrating grantee partner feedback into the content, structure, and facilitation of nine grantee convenings over three years.

Through the end of 2019, the Foundation will be working hand-in-hand with grantees and an external evaluator to design and implement our program evaluation. We anticipate being able to share lessons learned from the program evaluation with the broader theater and funding community in early spring of 2020. The findings from this evaluation will also inform the Foundation’s future arts funding.