ALL IN: A National Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Initiative for Canada's theatre sector

The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), in collaboration with Theatre Ontario and the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), is launching a major, highly collaborative program focused on increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout Canada's theatre sector - called ALL IN: A National Equity, Diversity & Inclusive Initiative.

The objective of ALL IN is to develop a national cohort of arts equity facilitators and advocates who collaborate on increasing the reciprocal participation of equity-seeking artists and companies, the potential for equitable cross-cultural collaboration, and the promotion of a truly diverse theatrical landscape.

"Theatre Ontario is proud to participate in the game-changing ALL IN," says Bruce Pitkin, Executive Director at Theatre Ontario. "The initiative will build awareness and provide learning for the promotion of equitable access and opportunity across Canadian theatre by directly addressing systemic and institutional bias. ALL IN speaks directly to Theatre Ontario’s core value of building an inclusive theatre network where we represent, respect and support the diverse needs of our stakeholders."

Key to the success of this initiative has been PACT's collaboration with provincial and municipal theatre associations including Theatre Ontario, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Theatre Nova Scotia, Theatre Alberta, and the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance. These associations came together in January to pilot an adopted EDI framework and training method through an introductory EDI capacity development training session. There was a wholehearted commitment by all to continue with this approach as part of a larger national initiative.

ALL IN continued to be developed through extensive consultation with the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, ADHOC Assembly, and The Deaf, Disability & Mad Arts Alliance of Canada - theatre associations that specifically advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion in the arts.

PACT, in collaboration with Theatre Ontario and the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, presented another pilot workshop in July to assess the efficacy of the training and to begin participation of Toronto cohort members. Participating in July were representatives from a variety of theatre companies including Black Theatre Workshop, Buddies in Bad Times, Cahoots Theatre, Canadian Stage Company, Necessary Angel Theatre, the Randolph Academy, Shaw Festival, Soulpepper, the Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre, the Theatre Centre and Young People’s Theatre, as well as funder and community organizations such as the Associated Designers of Canada, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and the Metcalf Foundation.

Building on the success of the first two pilots, we fully launch the ALL IN program with EDI capacity development training in regions across Canada in collaboration with local cohort leaders. This is Phase I of what one of the participants describes as "a truly unique, highly impactful national arts equity initiative."

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council in making Phase One of ALL IN: A National Equity, Diversity & Inclusive Initiative.

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