25 Oct Letter from the Board of Trustees
This is the third in a series of statements we are putting out to address the circumstances around the resignation of our former Outreach and Inclusion Manager Velvet Wells, the issues that he raises in his resignation in respect to The Nursery Theatre’s Black History Month celebrations, and other concerns that have been referred to by Velvet and expressed by other members of the community.
Black History Month programming
Following a thorough review of the correspondence and notes from meetings of the management team, we think we have identified the issue relating to Black History Month.
Over several meetings starting from July, the Nursery management team decided to celebrate Black History Month by hosting a series of guest electives and events. At the time of this decision, the start date of the next series of regular online courses was intended for the end of October.
Looking back at the minutes and communications from this time, it appears that either those involved did not realise that those regular courses were planned, or did not consider that they could conflict with the Black History Month programme. It was not until after Velvet resigned that this conflict became apparent to the whole team.
(In the course of our investigation, we did learn of a conversation regarding some potential ‘In Real Life’ classes that did not ultimately happen. It was discussed that during October these should be led solely by Black facilitators. Unfortunately, this did not prompt a realisation about the online courses that were already in the diary; this is probably simply because the conversation was focusing on the planned ‘In Real Life’ drop-ins).
Upon learning of the conflict between the Black History Programme and the regular courses, the faculty members involved immediately asked to cancel or postpone the courses taught by non-Black teachers, an action which the management team agreed with.
We remain hugely grateful for the work that Velvet has done for the organisation. We are aiming to communicate and act in a manner that honours that work. We are disappointed that we were not given the opportunity, prior to his resignation, to address and remedy the concerns that he has raised, and we would also value being able to address his other concerns in specific detail and continue to extend an invitation to Velvet to be involved.
Actions continue to be taken to address the concerns and opinions raised by others. Details of these will be offered in future communications, but in outline the following are in process:-
- A series of community Town Hall events for your feedback (some of which have taken place)
- An investigation assisted by third party individuals into broader concerns alluded to in our former Outreach & Inclusion Manager’s resignation
- A follow up Equity, Diversity and Inclusion consultation to examine The Nursery Theatre’s structure and practices to better understand where we are falling short and what we can do to fix it permanently.
To the ongoing activities of The Nursery, as a result of these events the following changes to our programme have been made.
- All of our Black History Month electives have been cancelled at the request of the facilitators.
- All of our upcoming October courses, The Jam, The Garden Party, and the Spotlight Series have been cancelled or postponed. The teachers and organizers have requested the cancellations and the management team fully supports those requests.
- We have made the decision not to cancel the Open Drop-ins, Audio-Only Drop-ins, and we will have some current courses and super electives that will extend in November.
- With fewer courses running, we will be adding a Longform Drop-in, Narrative Drop-in and a Workday Drop-in. We have increased the number of bursary spots in all of our drop-in classes and our BIPOC and Women’s Workshops have been re-listed as free BIPOC and Women’s Jams in November and December.
Please visit the website and the Facebook group for programming details and updates.
We invite your engagement with this statement. Please post your thoughts in the Nursery’s blog comments, or you can email us directly at email@example.com.
Thank you everyone.
Trustee, The Nursery Theatre
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