LONDON, ONT. -- During Black History Month, the Grand Theatre in London today announced it will take a more active role in battling racism and oppression in our community.

“With no performances scheduled to be on our stages for an undetermined period of time, our focus turned to the work we felt needed to be done to address inequalities and racist practices, “ says Artistic Director, Dennis Garnhum.

The theatre started examining it’s own history of systemic racism within our community following the tragic death of George Floyd in May of 2020, and the subsequent public actions via Black Lives Matter. Executive Director Deb Harvey says all facets will be addressed.

“From how we select plays and contracts with artists, to how we market, hire, fundraise, and interact with our patrons and the community at large, “says Harvey. “There are many more hard conversations to be had and much more work to be done.”

Garnhum says they are more deliberate in all processes from start to finish. “We saw more diversity in applications and the 400 auditions were reviewed through a more diverse lens,” adds Garnhum. “It’s a step forward in the right direction with many more steps to take.”

The changes are being made as the Grand is undergoing a 9 million dollar renovation. It’s 2020-21 season was cancelled in June due to the pandemic.