Equity & Inclusion

Background image: Public Speaking | TDPS Summer Sessions 2016

Our Commitments

The UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies acknowledges that colleges and universities, including UC Berkeley, are primarily white-led/founded institutions that have long benefited from deep-rooted systems of white supremacy and settler colonialism. We acknowledge this entrenched order to have influenced our curriculum, teaching, casting practices, and performances. We are committed to dismantling these systems and their violence (both silent and overt) within our department, and within the campus community.

As a community of researchers, artists, and educators, we have come together to articulate a vision and to enact change in service of our values on equity and inclusion. We are dedicated to the principles of anti-racism, anti-oppression, allyship, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, and a sense of belonging for BIPOC members of our community. These values insist and depend upon a climate of safety and trust for all. We reject all forms of oppression, including white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, classism, and misogyny.

We recognize that we must confront our own shortcomings and biases on this journey to racial equity and the inclusion of under-represented communities. We accept that this is a sustained effort and we are engaged in a long-term process of learning and growth. Our commitment is to be in continual dialogue with our community and to evolve and change together.

Our Ongoing Initiatives


We are committed to creating spaces and experiences that are welcoming and accessible to everyone. Visit our accessibility section to learn more about our facilities and accessibility features for events. For information about student accommodations for classes, please contact the Disabled Students' Program (DSP).

Equity & Inclusion Committee

Our Equity & Inclusion Committee brings together representative students, staff, and faculty to strategize on actions we can take to support the department's work in anti-racism and anti-oppression. The committee offers feedback on department initiatives in development, helps to facilitate interactions between constituencies, and supports transparency, equitable access to information, and accountability for progress in our department's work.

The committee regularly makes space for department dialogue to surface both climate concerns and promising practices via listening sessions and learning spaces where people can ask questions and share resources that help us to contribute to the department's mission of transformation at the individual, collective, and structural levels.

2023–2024 Committee Members:

  • Senate Faculty: Philip Kan Gotanda (Chair), SanSan Kwan
  • Lecturers: Sima Belmar, Srijani Ghosh, Patrick Russell
  • Staff: Ben Dillon, Jean-Paul Gressieux, Laxmi Kumaran
  • Graduate Student: Rebecca Struch
  • Undergraduate Students: Lilea Alvarez, Rebekah Joy

Communication & Dialogue

TDPS Sounding Board

We invite students, faculty, and staff to use the TDPS Sounding Board form to ask questions, to express concerns, to offer suggestions, or to affirm the things we are currently doing that help to create and maintain an environment where everyone feels valued and supported. Please note that the form requires CalNet login to ensure that we are receiving feedback from current UC Berkeley affiliates, but your name and contact information will not be recorded unless you choose to share it.

Listening Sessions with Students

Our Department Chair, in conjunction with the Equity & Inclusion Committee, has committed to holding a listening session with TDPS undergraduate students each academic year. These listening sessions provide a dedicated, facilitated space in which students can express concerns, ask questions, or offer suggestions.

Season Planning Forum

To create a more transparent and inclusive process for planning our season of theater and dance productions, the Season Planning Committee has committed to holding a forum each academic year to solicit feedback and suggestions from all members of the TDPS community. Students, faculty, and staff may also submit suggestions at any time using this form (CalNet login required).

Curriculum & Pedagogy

Anti-Oppression Pedagogy Resources

A working group of faculty, staff, and graduate students is actively compiling anti-oppression pedagogy resources, including lesson plans, course policies, toolkits, and publications. The group will continue to update the resource page as new submissions are received from members of the department and the campus community.

BIPOC Playwrights Project

Former TDPS lecturer Leyla Modirzadeh established the BIPOC Playwrights Project in 2019 as a resource for theater instructors, practitioners, and students. The project website includes a directory of more than 150 BIPOC playwrights, as well as links to texts and resources that are available through the UC Berkeley Library.

Review of Course Materials

Consistent with collective efforts of the department, instructors have committed to a minimum goal of 60% BIPOC authors/artists in our course materials. The department's Curriculum Committee will share resources, review and revise syllabi, rethink areas of study, and share pedagogical practices towards further balance in the materials and practices we teach.

Education & Training

We have committed to ongoing anti-racism, anti-bias, and anti-oppression training for our faculty, lecturers, staff, and graduate students. Training sessions are oriented toward concerns that are raised during listening sessions with undergraduate students or identified by community members through the Sounding Board form. Beyond personal growth and transformation for members of our community, these trainings are intended to provide the foundations for structural change within the department.

Recent Training Sessions:

  • Fall 2023: Student access needs and mental health
  • Spring 2023: Cultural responsiveness
  • Fall 2022: Equity in the classroom and building a community of care
  • Spring 2022: Supportive accountability and consent culture
  • Fall 2021: Active listening, empathy, and community building
  • Spring 2021: Recognizing and preventing microaggressions
  • Fall 2020: Anti-racism and allyship