Commitment to Diversity Equity, Inclusion, and Access

Hands of various races in a tight square, red CSC logo in the corner

Our expressed commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility is an iterative and responsive one. Although this presents as a static document, it will change and grow as we do this work in the context of what we currently understand, and it is not all-inclusive of our ongoing efforts. Our hope is to continue to evolve the ideals and accompanying actions of this commitment-expression with insight from you, our community. When you have any insights or feedback about our adherence or departure from the below commitment, please know that we are ready to receive it by any means found on our contact page:   We can also be reached by email at

Updated as of June 2024

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) was founded to provide people from all stations of life access to great theater, and we recognize that in order to truly fulfill that vision we need to take our commitments to anti-racism and anti-ableism further. As the producers of Free Shakespeare on the Boston Common–a highly visible and emblematic part of Boston’s cultural landscape–the choices we make have a magnified impact. We have an ongoing opportunity and an obligation to reflect the demographics of Boston in our theater making and the ideals of our city’s intersectional communities.

To readers who may not be familiar with the context of this commitment, or the most current use of vocabulary herein, we offer these as a reference:

  • Howlround essays and ideas toward an Anti-Racist Theatre
  • Anti-Racism resources gathered by StageSource (archived after their closing)

In 2020, CSC committed to understanding how the structure of our artistic and education programs, our hiring and casting processes, our operations, and our board governance–along with a long history of Eurocentrism in classical theater and specifically Shakespeare–have all contributed to exclusion and racism in our theater community. We continue to commit to transforming the existing structures within CSC that perpetuate such exclusion and harm. We commit to taking anti-racist action to reduce, prevent, and proactively respond to harm experienced by the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community. In 2022, through concerted and continued reflection through the pandemic, we further committed to taking anti-ableist action to reduce, prevent, and proactively respond to harm experienced by community members with disabilities, and renamed our Commitment to Racial Equity to the more expansive and accurate Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA). We are also committed to collaborating with artists and organizations who will advance this work with us and further strengthen our own commitments. 


In 2023, we continued our work with the Wellspring consulting group. This year we specifically focused our work on refining our Safety and Wellbeing policies and to build a series of company trainings for our internal reporting structures and conflict resolution. While this and all DEIA work at CSC is ongoing, here are some of the specific steps we have taken this season:                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  • Continued in our ongoing work to increase compensation for seasonal artists to better reflect cost of living in our area, and mitigate the level of privilege needed to sustain a career in the arts
  • Continued to cultivate strategic and artistic partnerships with diverse organizations and organizations that stand with us in supporting DEIA measures. These measures included: 
    • advocating for open captioning
    • inviting companies to share our space 
    • offering our expertise and artistic connections to increase access and inclusion
  • Evaluated the programs we’ve created to uplift diverse artists and clarified the appetite for these programs, including the creation of a BIPOC Affinity group for summer programming and the continuation of the greatly popular SPARK Apprentice Program scholarships
  • Implemented weekly or bi-weekly Community Check-ins across summer programming
  • Updated / created clear Safety & Wellbeing Policies and Procedures and ensured that all staff and artists were aware of these policies, and made sincere efforts to hold ourselves accountable to following them
  • Trained our staff in the implementation of an official Reporting Structure
  • Created a more sustainable system for all employees and contractors to self-identify with demographic information, including use of demographics in aggregate for onboarding and marketing/PR materials
  • Created a system for all incoming Apprentice students to self-identify with demographic information, lenses, and access needs
  • Added specific language in all audition postings around access needs for prospective employees
  • Optimized our space on the Common for greater accessibility, including a backstage ramp system and open captioning at all core programming
  • Crafted an initial Climate Resilience Plan to begin explorations on where CSC can improve its ecological and social sustainability and environmental impact, which directly and indirectly impacts accessibility
  • Optimized our website for greater accessibility, including: 
    • Reorganization and reformatting of our DEIA information 
    • Reorganization and reformatting for all intake materials, auditions, hiring, ticketing requests, etc.
    • Use of screen-reader enabled text and image descriptions 
    • Utilized Web Accessibility auditing tools to assess and adjust website access as a whole
  • Encouraged feedback and suggestions about our work and how we may improve patron access by adding a clearer path for feedback.
  • Expanded our digital program usage across all productions in an effort toward sustainability and access. By encouraging this digital offering, we have saved 66.26 trees with 16,239 uses, and we saved 6.5 more by decreasing our printing of hard-copy programs by 6,000 programs.
  • Surveyed Teachers and Students in Stage2 about access services (+ open captioning at all shows)
  • Created systems for accommodating access service(s) requests for supplemental programming, such as donor cultivation events and partnership programs
  • Joined the Boston Cultural Leaders Coalition, embarking on a three year exploration, interrogation, and learning journey with other arts leaders centering racial equity and justice in practice within the cultural landscape of our region


We will continue to learn about ourselves and about the insidious nature of racism and ableism, so that we can create deep and meaningful change. We commit to the ongoing and life-long evaluation of how our privilege informs our policies and practices, to the detriment of our BIPOC colleagues and our collaborators with disabilities. Here are some things we continue to consider as we learn:

  • The ways in which our casting, recruitment, and hiring practices favor candidates with certain privileges
  • The barriers to participation in our educational programs, including, but not limited to cost of program and housing, length of work days, etc. 
  • The structures and policies that have prevented people from joining our staff, board, production teams, and audiences in a magnitude that reflects the actual makeup of the Boston and theatrical communities
  • The ways our ableist operational practices, including management, marketing, and fundraising, create an organization and industry that can be harmful to some members of our community
  • The demands we place on our staff and production teams and how they promote unhealthy and imbalanced lives, and also, how these imbalances are especially harmful to traditionally marginalized individuals
  • The ways to quantitatively and qualitatively measure success and collect feedback
  • The ways we reflect, evaluate, and remain transparent
  • The ways we transform our policies and practices
  • The ways we sustain our efforts 
  • The ways we hold ourselves accountable

The best way to continue forward is to keep a record of our past. This Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access will continue as a living document, and we will archive each iteration. We recognize that this is only a beginning and that we must hold ourselves accountable regarding all aspects of inequity, including but not limited to: sexism, ableism, classism, heterosexism, cisgenderism, and areas of intersectionality. We look forward to the work ahead and to the positive changes it will bring to our organization and our community. 


New Goals for 2024:

  • Creation of a DEIA vision statement as a company, that will guide us in our continuing efforts
  • Re-engage with board members around ongoing DEIA work at the board level, including the possibility of a nominated, volunteer Access Advocate
  • Creation of new “Safety and Wellbeing Coordinator” position for summer seasonal staff to aid in HR administration, reporting structures, and Community Check-ins.
  • Creation of a DEIA Agreement, as a part of our engagement with new collaborators, partners, and artists, that outlines our values in a digestible document 
  • Expansion of self-identification to all employees and contractors
  • Creation of a contact log for the organization to track trends in patron experience
  • Reframe our Community Ambassador program to encapsulate Community Groups, in order to welcome more organizations and communities to the Common
  • Create more formal feedback survey for Community Ambassadors and other partners.
  • Make more inclusive considerations in our planning processes, i.e. religious holiday clarity 
  • Re-examine our Land Acknowledgement practice, with the help of a consultant, to ensure that it still reflects our commitment and the needs of our community
  • Create a multi-year strategy for success, so that we are not dabbling in these spaces superficially, but creating truly sustainable programs


Another critical area of upcoming focus is researching, understanding, and incorporating the intersections of DEIA and sustainability that relate to CSC’s programming and operations. In early 2024, we gathered information about best practices in this area, and we will use this research to inform and develop CSC’s DEIA dimension of our climate plan along with an outside consultant. 

We intend:

  • To establish systems for continuously evaluating and improving our efforts in sustainability
  • To incorporate this research and these systems into our existing land acknowledgement and climate justice policies 
  • To engage a climate consultant to help us evaluate our work in the DEIA/climate arena and identify the next steps, areas of improvement, and policies for the organization

We are a small team, but these commitments, goals, and reflections are in the works as we move forward through 2024 and beyond.

With deep respect,

The CSC Full and Part-Time Staff:

Steven Maler

Bryn Boice

Victoria Townsend

Brittney Holland

Alexandra Breland

Corey Cadigan

Isabel Pongratz

Lauren Cook

Katie Meade

Christopher Robinson

Katalin Mitchell

Mark Soucy

Featured Photo: Hands of various races in a tight square, red CSC logo in the corner

Support for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Provided by

Join our E-Newsletter!

Get the latest CSC News, directly to your inbox. From discounts and production announcements to educational opportunities and partnerships.