Building a Better Roundabout

In Our Community

Targets & Progress

In September 2021, we shared our plan to build a better Roundabout. Explore our yearly progress and review our original five-year goals below.


35% BIPOC representation in audiences within the next five years

When we launched this plan, we had a more ambitious target. Since then, we have learned more about the current-day challenges that exist in establishing new community relationships and the time it takes to build more diverse audiences.


Create and develop 10 deep, multi-year relationships with new community-partner organizations over the next five years

Our Five-Year Goals


Undertake robust and separate marketing and audience-development strategies to target diverse races/ethnicities, ages, physical abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds, hiring paid specialists and consultants when identities are not represented by our team members

Broaden our sales efforts to include culturally specific groups for all productions, not just the shows that reflect their lived experience

Invite potential partner organizations/associations to performance days with interactive programming and interaction with staff to deepen mutual engagement

Expand media outreach, including opening night ticketing to include BIPOC media—specifically non-reviewing press

Emun Elliott and Marisa Tomei in The Rose Tattoo, fall 2019. Photo by Joan Marcus.
The company of 1776, fall 2022. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Explore and expand how Roundabout Underground can be used to support emerging talent beyond playwrights, to encompass creative teams and backstage staffing

Continue to support the pipeline of diverse theatre-makers by investing in and seeking guidance from existing Roundabout Directing Fellows, Roundabout Directors Group, and Theatrical Workforce Development Program cohorts; and creating sibling programs in areas such as design and stage management

Expand donor outreach to encompass new audiences, including external identity-based giving circles in the community

Provide additional tickets to established critics for mentees from the BIPOC community, to help the media outlets transform their staff composition

Invite BIPOC writers/outlets to press events and give them access to cast and other creatives

Service photos and other media to smaller outlets who might not have the resources to send their own staff

To help broaden the critic/media community, partner with learning organizations in those fields to make tickets available and explore allocating resources

Allocate unsold tickets and available space at wraparound events to benefit community partners

Daniel K. Isaac and Dario Ladani Sanchez in You Will Get Sick, fall 2022. Photo by Joan Marcus.


William Jackson Harper and Eric Berryman in Primary Trust, spring 2023. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Develop and share pre-show materials—pre-attendance and in-venue—to convey to all attendees our initiatives and values around EDI/AR

Solidify and expand audience and donor demographic-data collection, and use this data, along with targeted surveys, to better understand and serve these stakeholders

Educate audiences, ushers, and front-of-house staff about resetting expectations for audience behavior and playing their part to create a welcoming experience for all, particularly underrepresented groups and students

Host Community Conversation events for audiences about new policies of anti-racism and belonging

Network with and learn from existing diverse organizations to share and challenge our expertise and perspectives, both for individual productions and for the institution as a whole

Phoenix Noelle and Jhardon Dishon Milton in the bandaged place, fall 2022. Photo by Joan Marcus.


Share and enforce our EDI/AR values and expectations for all non-staff vendors and contractors; sever partnerships with those that do not adhere; and internally share lists of approved vendors

Codify methods for staff to address and report incidents or behaviors from and between audience members, and create standardized responses to alleviate our staff’s burden of explaining EDI/AR issues

Revise post-show surveys for audiences—including partner-school students and teachers—to monitor and measure experience of belonging in Roundabout spaces

Ensure promotional and communications materials accurately reflect the actual diversity of our programming and do not tokenize any artists, productions, or participants

Ensure press and marketing teams are equipped with vocabulary, strategies, and practices to include BIPOC artists, staff, and students without tokenizing them

2021-22 Season

15% BIPOC ticket buyers for all productions

Five-Year Target: 35% BIPOC representation in audiences

4 Community Partnerships

Five-Year Target: 10 Community Partnerships

Action Points

Partnered with New York Public Library to offer pay-what-you-can tickets for library patrons from communities underrepresented in our audience and artist in residence programming in their neighborhoods

Partnered with Pregones/PRTT on the second year of The Refocus Project, our initiative to transform the American canon

Added a line to every show’s budget for BIPOC-specific audience-development

Coordinated a “Blacks on Broadway” omnibus feature in the New York Amsterdam News

Sharon D Clarke in Caroline, or Change, fall 2021. Photo by Joan Marcus.
The company of Exception to the Rule, spring 2022. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Researched and created new relationships with 20+ BIPOC media contacts

Collaborated with media experts who mentor students and young theatre writers and students to help build a more diverse media pool for the future

Hired a BIPOC-owned fundraising consultant company to help raise funds for our ongoing EDI/AR work, leading to the creation of the Forward Fund, supporting our EDI/AR efforts across the organization

2022-23 Season

18% BIPOC ticket buyers for all productions

Five-Year Target: 35% BIPOC representation in audiences

5 Community Partnerships

Five-Year Target: 10 Community Partnerships

Action Points

Partnered with Ma-Yi Theater Company to promote the third year of The Refocus Project Year, our initiative to transform the American theatre canon

Established new Community Night collaborations with The Open House Project and Breaking the Binary Theatre

Honored Black Theatre United at the 2023 Gala

Conducted focus groups with BIPOC arts patrons to improve our understanding of these audiences and to inform the broadening of our marketing to them

Expanded our discussions with young artists, including our Leon Levy Foundation Roundabout Directors Group, to find ways to encompass directors in our Space Jam support initiative for writers

Jake Ryan Lozano and Sasha Manuel in the bandaged place, fall 2022. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Marinda Anderson and Nate Miller in You Will Get Sick, fall 2022. Photo by Justin J. Wee.

Successfully met and exceeded a $100,000 challenge issued by Denise Littlefield Sobel to launch the Forward Fund, dedicated to supporting our EDI/AR efforts across the organization

Teaching Artists facilitated over 120 classroom residencies at partner schools throughout the five boroughs of NYC

Hired consultants to help us accurately and comprehensively measure our BIPOC audiences beyond mere ticket sales.