The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program commits to an anti-racist MFA Acting Education.
We are a two-year professional training program that specializes in Acting. The student body consists of two classes of seven students. The MFA program is closely affiliated with The Old Globe in San Diego. As collaborators, we are whole heartedly committed to the Old Globe’s action plan on anti-racism. There is a lot of work to do in order to dismantle all evidence of systemic institutional racism that has limited the progress and inclusiveness of our program in the past. We are educating ourselves and acquiring the tools to change the current outdated model to an Anti-Racist community. We strive to be a Classical Professional Training program, where all in our community can find: a safe space, bring their complete selves, and find their freedom and support to take artistic risks. The Old Globe/USD MFA program, under the new Program Director leadership of Jesse Perez, is grateful for the opportunity to transform this institution into an all-inclusive Classical training program for the 21st Century.
Our Plan of Action:
PHASE ONE: (end of sessions - 6 months)
• Evaluate our history and follow the process of acknowledging, atoning, and taking action towards an all-inclusive Classical training program.
• Develop an accountability and redress plan for past practices that have been detrimental to BIPOC students and that ensure best practices moving forward with the creation of a Current BIPOC MFA Affinity Group that meets with the Faculty to listen and learn. Designated weekly Faculty meeting times will be scheduled to discuss any current concerns and solutions.
• Require Antiracist, Implicit Bias, Anti-Oppression, and Bystander Intervention training for all faculty and staff members. We are engaging a qualified specialist to educate us about Anti-Racist practices and dismantle the Euro-centric structure in place at our institution. Periodic re-trainings throughout the semester.
• Prioritize BIPOC guest artists and guest lecturers.
• Program more BIPOC plays alongside the Euro-centric Classical Canon.
• Cast BIPOC students in multiple Classical and Contemporary leading roles throughout the MFA program season. Their role assignments will not perpetuate cultural stereotypes and there will be clear, open lines of communication for acting students to advocate for roles.
• Hire more BIPOC Directors and Designers to work with our students.
• Diversify our course titles, reading lists, and texts we teach in the classroom.
• Prioritize a search for a BIPOC Intimacy Director/Coordinator for workshops and productions with MFA students and faculty.
• Strive to change the definition and training of “classical theatre.” The relationship of the MFA program with the Old Globe was established in 1987 with Shakespeare as the cornerstone. As a Graduate Acting Program, we have just begun with Jesse Perez, the new Program Director, to engage, create, explore, invest, examine, and reinvent what Shakespeare and Classical Theatre means for the vibrant diversity of the next generation of Theatre makers. We are in pursuit of American Shakespeare through production, conversation, and class work.
• Decentralize discriminatory racist practices and the Euro-centric aesthetic as the default in all teaching practices.
• Begin recruiting in less affluent communities and form relationships with colleges that have higher BIPOC populations. The program will utilize online platforms like Zoom to audition in new communities and locales. All applicants with financial concerns have the ability to waive the application fee.
• Continue the naming and acknowledgement of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian tribal land and its Native peoples who have lived, currently live, and will live on the land where any theatre activity happens. The Traditional and Unceded Territory Kumeyaay Nation and the Citizens of the Kumeyaay Nation, both past and present, will continue to be respected and acknowledged.
• Support and help guide the artistic vision of our BIPOC student actors.
• Continue to respect, educate, and uphold the LGBTQIA+ Artist community and People with disabilities in our MFA program.
PHASE TWO: ( 6 months – 1 year)
• Prioritize the recruitment and retention of BIPOC theatre faculty in current full time and tenure track positions. Serious consideration will be given to professional experience over academic degree.
• Provide all students with a relevant advisor who can properly mentor them from an ethnocultural and artistic perspective. The program will utilize the USD BIPOC advisor network, The Old Globe Staff, and Professional Artists that work on and off stage at the Old Globe. Students will be able to ask what they need of an advisor and we will curate a solution tailored for each individual.
• Prioritize the hiring of a BIPOC Intimacy Director/Coordinator for workshops and productions with the MFA students and faculty.
PHASE THREE (1 year to 18 months) to PHASE FIVE ( 2-5 years):
• Continue to strive to make our program debt free.
• Continue to increase subsidizing housing expenses in the San Diego real estate market.
• Create a Old Globe/USD Shiley Graduate Theatre Program MFA Student Handbook that will include: the Anti-Racist Artistic Practices, student policies, rehearsal guidelines, classroom etiquette, and resources to uphold and cultivate community practices of how we work together.