Dear Los Angeles Times Entertainment & Arts Section,
The Los Angeles theater sector deserves to be represented by Black, Indigenous, People of Color critics in order to have fair and unbiased critique that is not filtered through a gaze that has supported white supremacy and Euro-centrism in the arts.
Producers and theatres of color in Los Angeles demand that the Los Angeles Times hires BIPOC theater critics to its staff. The lack of diversity in theater criticism means that the narratives and work created by BIPOC artists is often negatively received, and saddled with biased perceptions and stereotypes. Employing BIPOC critics provides artists with a chance to be understood, receive nuanced reviews, and have fair representation in the media.
This is not only to advocate for theater artists, but also BIPOC theater critics who deserve to have opportunities to write for institutions like the Los Angeles Times and cover diverse theater in the region. Their individual life experiences and cultural understanding can only add to the richness of the Times’ coverage of our local theater.
Theater criticism affects a production’s opportunity to receive funding or transfer to larger stages. The Los Angeles Times, in its staff and coverage, has a responsibility to reflect its city. Hiring BIPOC theater critics–as full-time or freelance writers–would create more authentic and refined coverage, which would further educate and enrich the lives of Angelenos.
Malcolm Barrett, Ammunition Theatre Company
Julia Cho, Stefanie Lau & Marie-Reine Velez, Artists at Play
Sara Guerrero, Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble
Josefina Lopez, CASA 0101
Michael A. Sheppard, Celebration Theatre
Oanh Nguyen, Chance Theater
Armando Molina, Company of Angels
Michael John Garces, Cornerstone Theater Company
Rodolfo Ramos, DOMA Theatre
Snehal Desai, East West Players
Elisa Bocanegra, HERO Theatre
Jose Luis Valenzuela, Latino Theater Company
Marco Gomez, LA Stage Alliance
Gregg Daniel, Lower Depth Ensemble
Randy Reinholz & DeLanna Studi, Native Voices at the Autry
Beatrice Casagra, Ophelia’s Jump Productions
Jon Lawrence Rivera, Playwrights’ Arena
Ben Guillory, Robey Theatre Company
Nancy Cheryll Davis, Towne Street Theatre
Bruce A. Lemon Jr., Watts Village Theater Company