JUL 2022



The following questions were posed by our access committee and answered by members of the community. This roundtable discussion was a great opportunity for us to learn from each other’s experiences.


What is a microaggression?

- Microaggressions are exactly what it sounds like, a micro aggression. You may not even be aware that you are guilty of it in the moment, but that doesn’t lessen the harm they cause. 

- This video provides a comprehensive definition of microaggressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDd3bzA7450


What does intention vs. impact look like in our community?

- It may be well-intentioned, but the impact of an action can spread far beyond the original intention. 

- Sometimes it’s very small things. (Microaggressions) 

- What we are trying to do is find our ‘knowledge gaps’ so that we can deal with them as we need to. 

- Is our intent coming off as we intended? 

- Is everyone being heard?

- The intention may be to make it more accessible, but if the impact separates some people in order for them to access a different version of it, then it is not truly accessible in the first place.

- We use pronouns and land acknowledgements because we are in a different place of learning now. In the past, we weren’t thinking of things like visual descriptions, but we’re getting used to thinking in a more intersectional way.

- We have new information and new ways of doing things.

- It takes a while for that to be a part of our normal procedures.

- Language is important.

- Acknowledging that words like ‘blindspot’ are a form of microaggression.

- Another is when the response to “where are you from?” is America, and yet the inquirer keeps pushing.

- What to do when someone tells you you’ve said something that is a microaggression?

- Acknowledge the impact, identify the issue, apologize, and learn from it.

 How do you apologize to someone after causing harm? What does taking responsibility look like after a mistake has been made? 

- Marginalized communities are NOT responsible for educating individuals 

- They are tired of being responsible for explaining when something wrong happens.

- Ask people in your own circle, watch videos, read, listen to podcasts, etc. 

- Acknowledge that people make mistakes so that there’s room to grow

- We all are ‘speaking in draft’ here.

 - Not being afraid of ‘cancel culture’ allows us to apologize and change.

- If people are scared of being canceled then their immediate reaction will be to defend themselves.

- Art should have a certain sense of joy and comradery.

- Have a personal understanding of why it is important to show up for these conversations and put this work in.

- Accountability culture allows for empathy and deeper understanding.

- How do we acknowledge the intention while also holding ourselves accountable to the impact? 

- How do we get comfortable breaking things down and feel safe having difficult discussions? 

Calling Up Justice: What does being ‘canceled’ actually look like in our community?

- Is cancel culture a form of bullying?

- Most times people in power who are ‘canceled’ retain their power. 

– Theatre strives to be a safe place where we should feel free to share things that might not be widely accepted.

- Cancel culture vs. accountability culture

- Pushing back on someone and letting them know that’s offensive

- They’re NOT trying to ‘cancel you’ when they alert you to harm you’re potentially causing or perpetuating.

- Consequences/being held accountable for behavior

- Accepting that there are consequences for your actions. 

- There is no ‘war on comedy’

- Audience members don’t have to like a joke, they have the right to question it and push back. 

- As creators, we have to be okay with everyone not being okay with what you put out there.

- It is OK to make mistakes.

- Rejecting the impact of your actions by labeling the response “cancel culture” is ignoring, marginalizing, and oppressing members of the community.

- People often mistake ‘cancel culture’ with accountability culture. 

- Particularly those who haven’t traditionally had to reflect, take responsibility, and accept the consequences of their actions.

- Accountability culture

- Some people internalize being ‘called in’ and start to question everything interaction they’ve had.

- In the beginning anxiety can get in the way of your own growth.

- Questioning yourself is going to be uncomfortable, but it is how we grow

 - The power of forgiveness.  

- People have the RIGHT to forgive but they don’t HAVE to forgive — they can choose to do it on their own terms. 

- We often EXPECT forgiveness

- The importance of learning and adapting after being forgiven (or not forgiven).

- Examining WHY we ask forgiveness in the first place

- Recognizing the impact on our own

- Understanding the actions were wrong and need to be corrected

- Being ‘called in’ and taught that those actions caused harm

- Everyone will interpret things differently depending on their background and experiences.

- Whether you meant to say it a different way, the impact could be that someone is offended and hurt by it.

- And their reaction and experience is valid.

- Be willing to be ‘called in’ so our community can put in work to change.

- We have discussions to find resolutions for people who are offended or hurt.

- The only way you can learn is through uncomfortable conversations – especially after people have been triggered or hurt.

- Misunderstandings are inevitable given the diversity at this festival. 

- We strive to find more safeguards to help us all deal with these moments. 

- Providing everyone a safe space to clearly communicate their feelings.

- Whether conscious of it or not, words matter

- What is the motivation? 


What more can we do to educate and empower our community? 

- Something similar to DE&I educational sessions in the corporate world?

- Including and fully explaining our Code of Conduct in more participant emails and events leading up to the festival