The theater industry has hired more actors and stage managers of color in the past four years, but still falls short of reflecting the diversity of the country, according to a new study from Actors’ Equity.
The study, released Wednesday, examined the demographic data of Equity members who were hired on Broadway and across the country from 2016 through 2019. During that time period, people of color received 23.3% of all union contracts, compared to the 15.3% received from 2013 to 2015.
Black members made up 45.7% of that increase, according to Equity. However, the union notes that a large part of that increase can be attributed to multiple productions of “Hamilton,” rather than industry-wide hiring practices.
Further, Equity notes a great disparity among stage managers, with about 83% of all production contracts, covering Broadway as well as on national and international tours, issued to white members.
Among the production contracts, which include both stage managers and actors, 58.3% of all contracts were issued to white members, while 15.9% were issued to Black members.
About 8% of contracts were issued to members identifying as multi-ethnic. Asian members received 2.7% of contracts and Hispanic or Latin Americans members received 2.58%.
Women received 43.9% of production contracts over that time period and men received 55%. That gender divide is apparent across all contracts, even as the number of women hired across the country is increasing, according to Equity.
This is the second demographics study Equity has commissioned and the union has pledged to do more.
“Moving forward, Equity intends to publish a diversity report on an annual basis to hold ourselves and the entire industry accountable,” Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity, said in a press release. “It is our duty to be part of the solution, to work to tear down barriers and rebuild a structure that is truly inclusive.”