Diversity & Inclusion
The Improv Shop is invested in creating an inclusive and safe space for our diverse community. To support that effort, the Improv Shop’s Diversity & Inclusion Board works to create initiatives and programming to both increase diversity and create a culture of inclusion at the Improv Shop. The board is made up of a group of volunteer community members, either students or veterans of the Improv Shop’s training program.
Below is a collection of resources, programs, and initiatives the Shop has in place to support our diversity and inclusion efforts. For any questions about our initiatives or the board, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Becoming an ever more diverse and inclusive space is an ongoing journey, so if you have any thoughts, questions, ideas, or concerns, we’d love to hear from you.
DIB sponsors townhalls, workshops, happy hours, and jams.
- Townhalls – Townhalls are events for the whole improv community in St. Louis. In 2017, we hosted John Gebretatose from HUGE Theatre in Minneapolis to lead an improv community townhall to discuss inclusion efforts at the Shop, understand what efforts and outcomes have happened so far, and discuss options to continuing to become more inclusive.
- Workshops – Workshops include opportunities to learn about inclusive play, handling hard scenes, avoiding/solving for stereotypecasting, working with hard suggestions, and handling difficult players or audience members. In 2017 John Gebretatose, director of diversity and inclusion at Huge Improv Theater, hosted two workshops: 1) Hard Issues and 2) Performing for a Purpose.
- Happy Hours – Hosted by DIB and DIB’s sub-committee the Resource Team, Happy Hours are held at The Improv Shop on the fourth Thursday of the month. Happy Hours allow any community member to meet and talk with DIB and Resource Team members. We are always open to talk about ideas for making the Shop a welcoming place, or to discuss any issues that are coming up for you. IF you can’t make a happy hour, you can email us at email@example.com.
- Jams – The Diversity and Inclusion Board also sponsors jams for under-represented communities. Since improv is so strongly influenced by the lived experiences of improvisors, it’s important to represent a variety of identities. We want a safe space where the realm of possibilities is as wide as it ought to be.
In our efforts to create an inclusive environment that reflects the diversity of the St. Louis community, we invite you to apply for an Improv Shop scholarship. For the pilot program of the scholarship, we are seeking people of color and LGBTQ applicants. To fill out a scholarship application: please click here. We will notify you of the decision at least one week before the next class session begins. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
The Diversity & Inclusion Resource Team
The Diversity & Inclusion Resource Team is composed of folks from the improv community who are present often in the community and have some experience with issues of oppression and some training in doing inclusion work for at least one under-represented identity. The goal is that community members are able to approach folks with a shared identity in a safe context to ask questions or raise issues about anything going on at the Shop.
You are welcome to reach out to a Resource Team member at any time by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Resource Team hosts Happy Hours on the fourth Thursday of every month as an opportunity for community members to meet and talk with DIB and Resource Team members.