Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at BATS
This page provides an update on BATS’ ongoing work to build and maintain an equitable, diverse and inclusive community and to become an anti-racist theater. We will provide updates here to keep our community informed about progress to date, priorities, and forthcoming plans.
Catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd, and the national reckoning with the ongoing and devastating impacts of systemic racism, and the light this shone on institutional racism within the theater sector, BATS Improv commits itself to internal examination and reinvention to succor the eradication of racism and white supremacy that is endemic within theater in America and its manifestation at BATS. Our work has been informed by ‘The Living Document of BIPOC Experiences in the Bay Area Theater Community,’ and more specifically by the ‘BIPOC Equity Action Plan’ published in summer 2020.
We recognize and apologize unreservedly for allowing existing systems and biases within BATS that have contributed to upholding white supremacy within the organization to have gone unexamined and unchanged throughout our history. We apologize to our community members who raised such concerns and whose voices were ignored. We are sorry for the harm that our behaviors and practices have caused to our BIPOC community members.
Following the demands and advice set out in the ‘BIPOC Equity Action Plan’ we are committed to taking the steps necessary for positive change to ensure that BATS becomes a “diverse, equitable and inclusive improvised theater community that fully affirms and celebrates all artists, especially BIPOC artists.” We strive to create an anti-racist, healthy creative community that embeds spontaneous and creative risk taking within a safe and inclusive environment for improvisers, staff, coaches, students and audience members, as well as our leadership and board.
In Summer 2020, we started the process of building a stronger, more equitable, more inclusive BATS. We began by having conversations around how we do what we do as a performing company and undertook training to help us prepare to make changes.
We formed an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion task force which consists of representatives of all parts of the organization and community. We have been meeting weekly since July 2020 and discussions to date have focused on defining what success would look like for us as a group and for BATS as an organization. This fed into a sense of priorities for the organization and informed our Equity action plan. This plan captures priorities, works in progress, and long-term goals and actions so that we can track progress and be held accountable. We recognize that this is complex and important work and have made a commitment to truly embed anti-racism within the organization for the long-term.
In undertaking this work we uphold the BIPOC coalition’s demands upon Bay Area Theaters to produce strategic actionable plans to confront white supremacy and our process in cultivating an equitable environment. .
We have increased our awareness of current practices and behaviors that may be limiting or damaging. Our self-awareness as a performing company and organization is growing.
As can be seen in our Equity Action Plan, since then we have taken several actions, led by our EDI taskforce and with specialist support from expert trainers and consultants. We are committed to being accountable, and to changing organizational systems and culture to to truly embed equity across and within BATS.
The BIPOC Equity Action Plan informed the first version of our BATS Equity Action Plan dated October 2020. We have recently updated and the most recent version, dated March 2022 is available here:
(This document will be updated as we progress)
We will continue to share updates and look forward to receiving your feedback. You can reach our EDI task force at firstname.lastname@example.org
EDI Taskforce members
Erica Anderson – EDI chair and guest artist
Angela Perez – EDI secretary and guest artist
Ethan Karson – company member and board member
Rebecca Stockley – company member and coach
Zoe Galvez – company member, board member and coach
Hannah Henderson – Managing Director
Stephanie Allen – Staff Member, Head of BATS School of Improv
- Benny Garcia – Staff Member, Production Supervisor and coach
BATS Improv respectfully acknowledges the Ramaytush Ohlone as the original inhabitants of what is now the San Francisco peninsula and greater Bay Area. As a reminder, the process of colonization is ongoing and still adversely affects the indigenous peoples of the United States of America. Native American communities have lived in and moved through this land over hundreds of years and many nations make their home in this region today. Please join us with the privilege and honor of this experience on their ancestral territory.