FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: [email protected]
(September 22, 2021) — Today, National BIPOC/BITOC Coalition/Commons, housed at the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA), announces the release of survey research on the Impact of COVID-19 Closures on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Theatre Practitioners (BIPOC) and Black, Indigenous Theatres of Color (BITOC). The surveys were formulated and distributed as the pandemic shut down theatres and canceled theatre-maker jobs as the country experienced eruptions naming racism, anti-Blackness, and other discriminations against BIPOC (and/or People of the Global Majority, terms that overlap but are not interchangeable). One survey was designed to understand and widely report the immediate and projected long-term impact of the pandemic on BIPOC theatre practitioners. The other focused on the impact of COVID-19 on BIPOC-identified theatre organizations. Leslie Ishii, Board President of CAATA, comments: “Enormous gratitude to Associate Professor L MSP Burns, UCLA Asian American Studies Center and Leilani Chan, Artistic Director, TeAda Productions, for bringing this project to the National BIPOC/BITOC Coalition/Commons. Designing a survey by, for, with our BIPOC theatre practitioners/BITOCs, People of the Global Majority, was critical in garnering authentic responses, the truths of what is meant by ‘disproportionately impacted’ pre- and on-going COVID. These survey results will support our advocacy for the resources and funding our BIPOC theatre practitioners/BITOCs so desperately need and justly deserve.”
On Monday, September 27, 2021, the survey team will report on the survey findings, offer their observations, and share their recommendations. In brief, the research findings reveal that BIPOC and BITOC experienced a disproportionately high impact from COVID-19 as many were already operating crisis situations due to their having been perpetually under-resourced. The surveys gathered data on timely issues regarding health care, modifications and cancelations of events and activities, income loss, and sources of relief under pandemic-induced hardships. The surveys also asked how participants and their communities were afflicted by the virus and the cultural response to the virus. In addition, the surveys inquired about the intersection between organizational missions and daily operations with organized activism in the Black Lives Matter Movement and other racial justice movements.
The online gathering will also feature Rhiana Yazzie, Artistic Director of the New Native Theatre, and Linda Parris-Bailey, President and CEO of Parris-Bailey Arts, Inc., in a conversation about their experiences as BIPOC theatre artists at a time of pandemic. RSVP for the first gathering at airtable.com/shrfNhFjLfiVYBikO
Two other gatherings will be hosted by the survey team, inviting BITOC and BIPOC theatre practitioners to discuss their thoughts on the current “reopening phase” of the ongoing pandemic. Attendees will reflect on the report findings, discuss the ongoing and long-term impacts of the pandemic on theatres of color, and share their vision of a changed future. The session with BIPOC/individual theatre artists will be on Wednesday, October 6th, 10:00 a.m. HST/12:00 p.m. AKDT/1:00 p.m. PDT/2:00 p.m. MT/3:00 p.m. CT/4:00 p.m. EDT, and the session with BITOC organizations will be held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 10:00 a.m. HST/12:00 p.m. AKDT/1:00 p.m. PDT/2:00 p.m. MT/3:00 p.m. CT/4:00 p.m. EDT.