(September, 2020 — Haddon Township, NJ) — Following an uplifting period of passionate, compassionate discussion, The Ritz Theatre Company today introduced a brand-new Diversity and Inclusion Statement, one that will simultaneously drive and define the company’s work in all future endeavors, both on and off the stage.
“We have always felt proud of the diversity of our organization. However, after the death of George Floyd, the demonstrations that followed, and the Black Lives Matter movement, it became clear that we were not done and there is much to do,” says Producing Artistic Director Bruce A. Curless. “We listened. Almost immediately, we formed a focus group of several BIPOC artists that have worked at the theatre during our 35 year history and began to develop a statement that made it clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we wanted and needed to do more. All are welcome at The Ritz and we want and need the entire community’s support.”
While the new, wholly revamped statement is a pivotal first step for the organization in the wake of current, transformative socio-cultural events around the world, it is just that—a first step. Detailed programming plans and community outreach campaigns are presently in development as The Ritz prepares to reopen its doors in the months ahead.
“Due to COVID-19, nothing has happened on our stage, but plans are being made now to ensure that all will be represented in the creation and presentation of our future work,” continues Curless. “We have extended the diversity of our Board and hope to do the same with our staff. This is the new Ritz and we are proud to be part of it.”
Read the entire statement below:
Uniqueness is powerful.
The Ritz Theatre Company is unequivocally and wholeheartedly devoted to celebrating and illuminating a diversity of voices and visions not just on our stage, but beyond our stage. Our continuous goal is to make our theatre as all-inclusive and all-embracing as can be, to create and cultivate an environment of diversity and inclusivity that is both reflective and supportive of the vibrant, multicultural community we serve.
Proactivity is key. We plan on reaching this layered goal by presenting a wide variety of productions and special events that represent ALL walks of life and that are also mindful of everyone’s experiences, values, abilities, emotions, and thoughts. Our aim is to advance, enhance, and empower artists of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds and to celebrate, inform, and entertain everyone that steps foot into our historic building. To that end, we are wholly committed to highlighting more works written and conceived by people of color and members of the LGBTQ community, to employ more diverse performers and production teams (even if that means searching for such artists and artisans), to create community outreach programs for the disadvantaged and under-represented, and to include more diverse works in our programming, expanding into the future with more thought-provoking content and more engaging, socio-cultural subject matter. And that is only the beginning. We will forever strive to showcase diversity and culture via our productions, actors, artisans, audiences, staff, and Board of Directors. The Ritz is a place for ALL to enjoy and take part in the arts.