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March 20, 2020 | General,

How A Season Comes Together

Note: we’re currently recirculating some of our best pieces from our blog and from HowlRound’s archives. These stories go beyond show-specific content and reflect our values, shining a light on our ongoing mission. Some references in this piece will indicate that this entry is from a prior season. This note aims to resolve any confusion that arises because of that fact. [3/20/20]

ArtsEmerson artistic director David Dower started a conversation in 2015 that is still ongoing in the theater community. Namely, he wanted to carve out space to a comment on the idea that a theater company’s season, specifically one that reflected very little diversity, was not merely an accidental, random occurrence of happenstance. HowlRound published his revealing peak into the behind-the-scenes process of creating a diverse season in August of 2015.

“There are hundreds of priorities to balance in the process of planning a season,” Dower explained. “The decisions we make reveal the hierarchy of those priorities. It is the season, not the mission statement, that expresses what we believe in, what we fight for, what we privilege right now, in this moment.”

To this day, David Dower, executive director David C. Howse, and the entire ArtsEmerson staff use and consult the diversity grid (seen below) when making the the many, many decisions that result in a complete season. Check out the entire piece over at HowlRound.

A spreadsheet detailing the decision process in how ArtsEmerson puts together a season.

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