Working at Writers Theatre
Writers Theatre is committed to providing a safe and supportive workplace for all—our artists, crew, staff, audiences, stakeholders, everyone. We are presently on a journey of listening, learning, growing, and, most importantly, looking to further fortify and improve the workplace culture of Writers Theatre. To that end, we are establishing this webpage to communicate the action items Writers Theatre is implementing as we move forward into a new era for the theatre.
This webpage will be updated regularly as additional policies and ideas are put into place. A link to this webpage will also be provided to all artists and applicants when contacted about auditions, interviews or job offers, so that there is full awareness of our ongoing work.
UPDATES AS OF October 4, 2021
The Walker Thomas Group (WTG) has begun working with Writers Theatre (WT) on a full organizational assessment. In August, surveys were sent to WT staff and board as well as to actors, directors, designers, stage managers and crew members. The responses to the surveys are being further explored in focus groups, which commenced in late September and are ongoing. WTG will be providing a report to WT leadership after the conclusion of the focus groups.
Maylene Peña joined WT as our Human Resource Business Partner, effective August 1st. Peña audited WT’s existing workplace conduct policies and developed a new Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure, which is now in effect.
On September 10th, Peña led a mandatory all staff anti-harassment training, which included a review of the new policy. Peña will make a video version of the anti-harassment training to be included in the onboarding materials for all new staff.
WT and Peña are now working on developing a presentation and documents for independent contractors (actors, directors, designers, stage managers, crew, etc.) when they begin working on a project. These will be in place before the 2021/22 season commences in November.
On October 11th, WT administrative staff will return to regular in-office hours under a new Hybrid Work Model. Staff whose responsibilities allow for the possibility of remote work will be permitted to spend two days a week working outside the office. All staff and department meetings that benefit from in-person engagement have been concentrated on to certain days when everyone will be in office.
Updates as of August 5, 2021
WT is partnering with The Walker Thomas Group (WTG), a BIPOC and female-led global diversity, inclusion and coaching organization based in Chicago, IL. With WTG, WT has been working on EDI initiatives since last year and will embark on a full organizational assessment that is scheduled to begin August 9. This work includes evaluation of our policies, procedures, and practices to ensure they reflect equitable, practical, and effective approaches in alignment with our values. Surveys, followed by focus groups that include staff, board members, and artists, will also provide valuable information about the experience at WT.
Through WTG, WT has engaged Maylene Peña as our new Human Resource specialist, effective August 5th. With Peña and WTG, WT will enhance our current policies and determine the best institutional solutions for long-term, organization-wide Human Resources structure.
An intensive review of WT's Workplace Conduct and Anti-Harassment policies for the staff and board is being scheduled in the coming weeks. In her new capacity with WT, this presentation will be created and conducted by Maylene Peña. WT will continue to schedule a mandatory annual training on these policies with all current employees, and the theatre will create written documents and a video policy presentation that will be required reading and viewing for anyone who joins the staff at a later date.
WT will revise and enhance the workplace conduct and anti-harassment policy presentation that is part of our onboarding for each production, workshop, reading, and events. Anyone not present for the in-person presentation will be required to review the policies independently upon beginning their employment with the theatre.
The WT staff and board will also formally review and update our Code of Conduct. The review process will be led by WT's cross-departmental Anti-Racism Working Group, which will now become the Workplace Culture and Anti-Racism Working Group (WCARWG). The WCARWG will work to make knowledge of and conscious engagement with the Code of Conduct an integral part of the workplace at WT.
The avenues and mechanisms for reporting a Workplace Conduct, Harassment, or Code of Conduct violation will be clearly communicated in all presentations, videos, and written materials provided to staff, board, and artists. It is important to WT that everyone is familiar with and adept at using the reporting structure. To that end, additional methods of sharing this information are being examined.
Additional workplace culture improvements that are being implemented include:
- Any employee (staff, artist, crew) of WT is entitled to free or reduced cost counseling services with Family Services of Glencoe.
- WT has adjusted its rehearsal/performance schedule to accommodate a 5-day work week.
- A hybrid work policy is being offered to administrative staff.
Writers Theatre's Code of Conduct
Writers Theatre is committed to providing a generous and equitable work environment for everyone involved in bringing its mission to life.
We make this commitment to you as a valued member of the Writers Theatre team, and we expect you to support that commitment through your actions, too. To that end, we have created the following Code of Conduct as a complement to the WT Personnel Handbook to provide you with guidelines on behaviors and processes.
To read our full Code of Conduct, please click here.
Please check back here for future updates, or use this form below to subscribe to be notified by email when an update is posted. We also welcome any thoughts or questions on any of this work to be submitted to email@example.com.