Greensboro, NC - Triad Stage, the professional regional theater located in Downtown Greensboro, is thrilled to open the next act of the organization’s life after a two-year production pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The theater will announce their 20th Season of live, in-person performances at an event on June 4 at Triad Stage. Admission to this Season Announcement is free and you may RSVP at triadstage.org.
Sarah Hankins will lead the organization’s artistic and outreach efforts as Artistic Director. Hankins, who first directed at Triad Stage in 2016 and served as Associate Artistic Director for four years, says, “I am excited about the new direction and focus of Triad Stage and am honored to usher in programming focused on diverse contemporary stories that reflect our community. The past months have been full of intense work to listen to our community, reshape our organization, and emerge as a stronger theater. I can’t wait to welcome our audiences back to a revitalized arts hub that celebrates new work and creativity.”
The Triad Stage Board of Trustees will be under a new structure, with shared leadership among three co-chairs. Shared leadership models are appearing in more leading arts organizations including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and theater companies ranging from Heart of the Beast in Minneapolis to the Roundabout Theatre in New York City. Current Triad Stage Chair, Deborah Hayes, will be joined by co-chairs Cassandra Williams and Sarah Saint. Williams, Educational Coordinator for the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, is also a retired theater educator and an actor, director, and playwright, and has served on the Triad Stage Board since 2019. Saint is an attorney at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey and Leonard, LLP, is active in her support of numerous local non-profit organizations and has served on the Triad Stage board since 2018.
During the pandemic closure, the Triad Stage Staff and Board of Trustees have engaged in an intense process of reorganization and reflection responsive to the events we have experienced in our own community and the world around us over the past two years. This work has focused on creating a stronger and healthier environment for all who engage with Triad Stage and is directed toward rebuilding trust with the community and collaborators.
“Between the pandemic shutdown, the reporting of allegations of misconduct and related investigation, and the resignation of our former artistic director in late 2020, Triad Stage was left with an organization that had to be rebuilt from the ground up,” Hayes said. “Behavior of the nature alleged in the media is antithetical to everything this community has a right to expect us to be - and everything we value to be - as an organization. We want to send a clear message that disrespectful, hostile, or abusive behavior has no place in our culture. So what we have done, and what we will continue to do, is develop every aspect of our reopening plans through the lens of our experience over the past two years.”
“That experience includes not only our own, but that of the theater community as a whole, reflected by initiatives like “We See You White American Theater,” and of the entire country,” Williams added. “We hope that this community, which has supported us so generously for the past 20 years, will give us an opportunity to continue to earn its support on the basis of the work we have done and continue to do.”
With the arts consulting organization Partners in Performance, this work has been guided by collaborative conversations with a planning committee comprised of staff, board, local artists, educators, and community members, as well as one-on-one conversations with key informants. This work reiterated that before Triad Stage could return as a reimagined organization, the company must acknowledge failings and the need for change. This work took time, clarity, and a close look at organizational practices to develop ways of being better stewards of the community’s confidence and its resources.
A hallmark of Triad Stage’s reopening plan is the theater’s recommitment to community partnerships. Williams says that “innovation through partnerships will continue to be a key aspect of our commitment to sustain Triad Stage as a powerful force for creativity and community.” The theater is seeking nonprofit, academic, corporate, and faith- based partnerships with themes in common with their upcoming programming. By creating programs that are relevant to community concerns, identifying thematic partners has been quick work and discussions are underway about several prospective collaborations.
Triad Stage commits to the responsibility of providing and maintaining brave and healthy working and learning environments and is committed to action steps to improve the creative spaces for all who engage with the theater. “To accomplish these goals,” Saint said, “Triad Stage has established community standards and a more robust zero-tolerance harassment policy to guide the artistic and administrative work. There is nothing more important than having a healthy, mutually supportive work culture at our theater. This is something our entire board sees as foundational to moving forward. These enhanced policies reinforce the foundation, but the real proof of our commitment will be in the way we put them into practice as our doors reopen.”
In addition, Triad Stage is introducing a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) Statement to reflect their deepened commitment to addressing barriers to inclusion. The company’s Anti-Racism Statement recognizes systemic racism that has persisted in the theater industry and that Triad Stage can and must do better than in the past to dismantle racism in all forms. The company’s new zero-tolerance harassment policy, the DEIA statement, Anti- Racism statement, and community standards will be posted throughout the theater building as a sign of a commitment to the goals. These, with the specific action steps that the company will take to improve the culture, will continue to be available online at triadstage.org, along with supporting educational documents. Hankins says, “I am proud of the work and the action steps we have taken and will continue to take, but also know this is an on-going process that will demand long-term commitment and deep continuing work.”
Triad Stage is a not-for-profit professional regional theater company based in Greensboro's downtown historic district. Its productions are created in Greensboro using a combination of local and national talent. Through the company’s first 20 years Triad Stage has proven a commitment to ambitious artistic projects and looks forward to continuing to weave the company’s art into the fabric of the Greensboro community.