We acknowledge the land on which Second Stage Theater stands — the original homeland of the Munsee Lenape and Wappinger Lenape people — and honor and pay our respects to the many diverse indigenous peoples still connected to this land.



MAY 2023

Since its founding in 1979, Second Stage’s mission has been to create and champion plays and musicals from living American writers. Our continued commitment to this mission demands we reexamine the core values of the American Theater and evaluate how we address diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism work within our organization. We must acknowledge and own our past harms on an interpersonal and institutional level. We are committed to creating and maintaining systems of accountability that depict our Core Values across all levels of the organization. Second Stage expects all members of its community to embody these Core Values when in one of our spaces or acting as a representative of Second Stage externally. Second Stage’s Core Values are a living and breathing document that work in tandem with our Code of Conduct and Vision Statement. These Core Values work towards fully shifting Second Stage’s culture — both on and off stage — by ensuring we create spaces where our differences can be celebrated by leading with our most authentic selves.

We honor the authentic gifts, intellect, and talents that everyone brings to Second Stage by demonstrating our value and respect for one another through our words and actions. We affirm that no voice is irrelevant and understand that active listening is the first step towards a greater sense of belonging.

We believe in the spirit and practice of collaboration where there are multiple viewpoints, especially those that differ, as we make better decisions together than apart. We affirm our commitment to creating and sustaining a culture of psychological safety rooted in a requirement to build and sustain trust in one another.

We believe that diversity and anti-racism make us strong, inclusion and equity make us thrive, and systems of accountability help ensure that these values are maintained. We affirm that regularly evaluating our progress and transparently reporting to our communities on our work will bring us closer to lasting change in Second Stage’s evolving culture.


MAY 2021

In fulfillment of our pledge of solidarity, Second Stage has embarked on a path to become an equitable, diverse, and inclusive and anti-racist organization. We are grateful to the Black Artist Coalition, Black Theater United, Broadway for Racial Justice, Asian American Performers Action Coalition, We See You White American Theater and others for raising awareness of inequities and racism throughout the theatre industry. Second Stage acknowledges our failures to uphold and practice anti-racist principles, behaviors and policies which have caused harm. We publicly express our commitment to this work and to being held accountable. This effort is an organization-wide commitment to learning, open dialogue and collaboration. 

Our process is in early phases. We have commissioned outside experts to shepherd this work in partnership with staff across the organization. We have completed an organizational cultural assessment. The Board of Trustees has formed an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee; there is also a staff anti-racism working group. The next phase in this process will include additional assessments from outside and inside the organization.

Using the results of the organizational culture assessment as our foundation, Second Stage leadership, administrative and artistic staff are entering a sustained period of learning, training and dialogue about equity, inclusion and anti-racism. This will drive our work to develop a comprehensive 5-year plan of measurable strategies to integrate inclusive, anti-racist principles throughout the organization. We will share updates as more concrete steps are put in place.

Carole Rothman
President & Artistic Director

Khady Kamara
Executive Director


JUNE 2020

Second Stage Theater is devastated by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dreasjon Reed, and so many others. We stand in solidarity with the Black community, and with the Black artists and theater-makers in the Second Stage family. 

Black stories, Black experiences, Black pain, and Black lives matter. Black lives matter to Second Stage, to the American theater, to our culture - our humanity and our society depend on naming, rejecting, and calling out racism in every artistic and human context.

To make our stance, our position, our institutional standard explicit:

We are not neutral. We reject white supremacy.

We recognize our privilege and responsibility, and we recognize that words are only as valuable as their accompanying actions.

For decades Second Stage has staged plays that address racism and social justice. We pledge to continue to do so. We do this out of a belief in equity and inclusion. We hope that these stories have a positive impact on the people who hear and see them.  

Our stages are dark, and the future is uncertain, but as a community, a family, and cultural standard-bearer we pledge to embrace and insist on a future that is equitable, inclusive, and just. We pledge to center anti-racism in our internal and external practices including unconscious bias training. We pledge to hold space for the experiences and pain of our Black community members.

We recognize that cultural spaces and institutions need to change to become more welcoming, safe, and inclusive to Black people. We pledge to encourage the open discussion of racial inequality, and to foster safe spaces for community members of color and brave spaces for dialogue. 

Our call to action is accountability. Our call to action is visibility. This letter will shape our solidarity statement, will be starred and saved in our emails, re-read in staff and production meetings, and on the first day of rehearsals until racism is eradicated. This is an open channel, and we are listening.

We know we can, and must, do more—and do better—to fight injustice and oppression. And we must be held accountable.

There can be no recovery without justice, and no future without equity.







RECLAIM THE BLOCK — Minneapolis organization reallocating city money away from the police department and toward “community-led safety initiatives".

GOFUNDME for George Floyd's funeral and burial costs, and care for his children; GOFUNDME for Ahmaud Arbery’s mother.


BLACK VISIONS COLLECTIVE - a Black, trans, and queer-led social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

GAS MASK FUND for Black youth activists in Minneapolis is raising money to buy gas masks for demonstrators who’ve faced tear gas during protests.

FREE THEM ALL FOR PUBLIC HEALTH - which aims to free incarcerated people amid the coronavirus pandemic.

BLACK LIVES MATTER - whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities.