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Changing Lives, One Story at a Time…
Northern Stage is a regional theater company located in White River Junction, VT with a mission to change lives, one story at a time.

This mission applies not only to our programming but also to our internal workings with staff and our presence in the community. In December 2018, Northern Stage, along with other local organizations, signed a statement from the Vermont Arts Council to support this mission:

“We have come together to commit our cultural organizations to the vital work of promoting inclusion, respect and change in Vermont communities. We know that the arts and humanities have the power to create and nurture empathy, promote critical thinking and thoughtful reflection, offer healing strategies and advance understanding across differences such as race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability and age. In 2019, each of our organizations will undertake programming that advances dialogue and healing in our communities. We invite other cultural organizations across the state to join us to reject bigotry, work for a kinder and more thoughtful Vermont and build creative, healthy, welcoming communities for all.”

We created our IDEA task force to champion these causes. The work we do may be seen on this page, updated each season with new goals and additional thoughts and information as it becomes available.

IDEA Taskforce Mission Statement

Empowering shared responsibility. To create a workplace that values, supports and celebrates all.

We hope to achieve this mission by developing a strategic approach for Northern Stage related to issues of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access. This approach includes recommending how IDEA content is integrated into Northern Stage’s mission, elevating successful models of other theaters to generate and share best practices, and identifying ways we might support equity and inclusion among our artistic, administrative, and production departments. This can be done by fostering mutual trust, hope, and inspiration, and removing systemic and personal barriers such as ignorance, microaggressions, and inequality.

Key Terms

INCLUSION 
The commitment to value and acknowledge an individual’s uniqueness and worth within a community.
DIVERSITY 
The unique elements that make up who we are: race, color, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or identity, religion, nationality, age, economic class, educational level, language, mobility and ability, geography, marital and parental status, and any and all additional elements of self-identification
EQUITY 
To create equal opportunities, rights, benefits, and obligations through fair and impartial treatment of individuals based on their respective needs. 
ACCESS 
Commitment to foster attitudes, behaviors, procedures, and space to promote equity and diversity, foster inclusion and allow people to maximize their contribution to our theater and community

Current and Future IDEA topics

Northern Stage is currently working on the topic of Personal Pronouns. The following proposal has been submitted to the leadership team.

QUESTION: How is Northern Stage, as a company and organization, going to approach the use of pronouns, externally and internally, while preserving the safety of their employees and allowing discomfort and discourse that will lead to effective and educational discussions?

Based on responses to the IDEA survey that was sent out to the company, the IDEA committee asked, “Where should Northern Stage include personal pronouns?” The majority response was, “wherever people choose to include them.”

PROPOSAL:
To establish free-choice pronouns in Email Signatures and on Name Tags. Free-choice being defined here as an employee may opt in or out of having their pronouns included in these places or may include the phrase “Ask me my pronouns.” If people include pronouns in their submitted bios for the website or in playbills, those pronouns will also be included on the internal Company Contact Sheet. IDEA will create informational and educational tools for company members and guest artists, so everyone can make an informed decision. Information will be available on the Northern Stage website that explains the use of pronouns throughout the company and provides educational tools for those interested.

AUDIENCE for PRONOUNS:
Company Members (artistic, administrative, production, guest artists)
Communities who interact with Northern Stage (White River Junction, the Upper Valley, Theater Industry, Website visitors, etc.)

WHY THIS MATTERS:
The experience of being misgendered can be hurtful, angering, and even distracting. The experience of accidentally misgendering someone can be embarrassing for both parties, creating tension and leading to communication breakdowns across teams. It’s important to remember that gender identity is not visible — it’s an internal sense of one’s own gender.

The next IDEA topic Northern Stage will investigate is mental health at the company. We will update you as we make progress on this topic.