Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Action and Accountability 

Playhouse Merced recognizes the rich cultural tapestry that is California’s Central Valley.  Our mission is to “ENRICH, ENGAGE, EDUCATE, and ENTERTAIN.”  We understand that to accomplish our mission, we need to embrace, promote, and reflect the diversity of our community through all that we are and all that we do.


Playhouse Merced is committed to the implementation and sustainability of the following ideals:


  • Producing theatre with authentic representations of all groups, inclusive of culture, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, and different abilities.

    • What this looks like…

      • Including works by BIPOC* or LGBTQIA+** authors and featuring BIPOC* or LGBTQIA** characters in our shows and educational curricula.

      • Reversing the invisibility of native peoples by mechanisms such as land acknowledgments and authentic representation on our stages and in our classrooms.

      • Conservatory classroom experiences representative of the diverse communities with a focus on those that are underrepresented. Including the dance, music, and performance traditions of our diverse community cultures and more.  

      • Engaging and partnering with community-based organizations to provide greater access to more diverse audiences. 

      • Assessing audience engagement to identify barriers keeping audiences away and working intentionally to remove those barriers whether they be cultural, economic, social, or other with practices such as “pay what you can”, scholarships, group nights, etc. 

      • Providing creative teams with accurate and extensive dramaturgy to help with honest portrayals/representations on the stage.

  • Providing educational opportunities connected to our diverse programming to help our audiences better engage with our work.

    • What this looks like…

      • Talkbacks, page-to-stage supplements, and online dramaturgy created and led by culturally competent facilitators.  

      • Reduce barriers and provide greater access to school-aged students and home-bound/facility-bound seniors.  (Meeting groups where they are)

      • Recognizing the limited number of shows we can produce on stage; we will provide wider access with more diverse theatrical experiences while also exploring the stories of and by underrepresented Women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ authors in reading groups, virtual tours, and  special events. We will also collaborate with other community arts education and culture organizations to provide a greater tapestry of diverse and enriching programming.  

  • Creating a safe, inclusive, and anti-racist environment for all, and especially for BIPOC* and LGBTQIA+** staff members, artists, audience, and community members.

    • What this looks like…

      • Having a diverse staff and Board of Directors that looks like, and has relationships with, our communities.

      • Having employment and casting processes that dismantle barriers which exclude BIPOC*, LGBTQIA+, women, and other under-represented candidates.  

      • Quarterly training for all staff that includes bystander intervention, de-escalation, and conflict resolution training to provide the necessary tools to address racism and bias when it happens.

      • Require creative teams to undergo anti-racism/anti-bias training at the beginning of each rehearsal or tech process and ensure accountability with signed statements.

      • Having a volunteer on-boarding process that includes bystander intervention, de-escalation, and conflict resolution training to provide the necessary tools to address racism and bias when it happens.


We know that these efforts toward ensuring an equitable, diverse, and inclusive community theatre are ongoing. This statement of ideals will continue to grow and evolve, and we look forward to ongoing conversations with the Playhouse Merced community. 

To ensure we are infusing equity, diversity, and inclusion into who we are, at the midpoint and after each production season the staff and Board of Directors will engage with our Playhouse Community to assess our progress. We will make the adjustments needed and we will persist on this journey.


We are grateful to everyone who was, and will be, willing to speak up and speak out. We recognize the bravery, commitment, and persistence that it takes to engage in these difficult conversations. We believe we are constantly creating not only a better community theatre, but a better and Beloved Community.

*BIPOC:  Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

**LGBTQIA+:  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexed, Agender, Asexual, and Ally community.