We are writing to you today, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, political turmoil, economic free fall, and a long overdue racial reckoning in our country. Our purpose is to inform you of a proposal we received, and to share our response. Many of you do not follow Facebook so we are sending this Missive to ensure all our recent DCF participants are included in important information at the same time as all those who communicate in Facebook groups.
First, let me say that we are staying careful and safe, and sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are doing the same. We are obviously in for a long slog with the pandemic and the severe economic harm it is causing. Each and every one of us must keep our focus on safety, maintaining our health, and finding ways to keep financially afloat until a vaccine can begin to turn this around. Please remember that we are truly connected in Spirit, and the love and support we show for one another makes a real difference.
On Friday, August 7, we received the below linked document (Anti-Racism Initiative) from a group of Dickens Christmas Fair cast members. They are the Londoners of the African Diaspora (LoAD), pronounced “low-add,” and have been participating as such and performing in various casts for a few years. It was LoAd that first brought to our attention the need to go beyond simply pledging our support to the Black Lives Matter movement and instead articulate and create a Red Barn Productions/Dickens Christmas Fair Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) program. We are very grateful they have begun the difficult process of sharing their collective experiences and outlining what a meaningful and impactful program would entail to genuinely address racism and diversity at the Dickens Fair and the wider theatrical community.
We are doing this work now, even with no event for many months, because it is urgent to address the systemic racism in both our daily lives and our institutions. The sooner we begin this work, the better. The entire Theater Arts world, to say nothing of society at large, has put this moment off for far too long. For more on this you may also wish to read: https://tinyurl.com/NotAMomentButAMovement
Red Barn Productions is fully committed to deeply engaging with all members of our community to do this difficult and necessary work. In addition to LoAD, we will be consulting with EDI Arts professionals, our dedicated leadership team, and selected members of our cast to complete a plan that will include the needs of our BIPOC, LGBTQ+, neurodivergent and all other marginalized participants. Once it is ready, each member of the Dickens Christmas Fair community will be asked to acknowledge and agree to our EDI policies, training, and procedures. Together, we will produce the healthiest, safest, and most inclusive Dickens Christmas Fair ever.