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San Diego Rep apologizes to past cast members following allegations of racism, misogyny

Sam and Doug @ original Lyceum.JPG
San Diego Repertory Theatre
San Diego Repertory Theatre co-founders Sam Woodhouse and Doug “D.W.” Jacobs in 1982 at the original Lyceum Theatre in downtown San Diego, Calif.

San Diego Repertory Theater has admitted "errors" and offered a "sincere apology" in response to allegations of racism and misogyny at the theater by the cast of the recent show, "The Great Khan."

Days after the Rep announced last week that a financial crisis is forcing a temporary closure beginning June 19th, the cast and crew members of the Rep's recently closed production, "The Great Khan" issued an open letter on Instagram alleging racism and misogyny at the 46-year-old theater.

"It took more than COVID to close these doors for now,” said the letter, which was written by actress Mikayla Bartholomew and director Jess McLeod and signed by other members of the cast and crew, including: Brittney M. Caldwell, Jerome Beck, Molly Adea, Brian Rivera, Dylan John Seaton and Kira Vine.

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Beth Accomando
San Diego Repertory Theatre artistic director and founder Sam Woodhouse in a Zoom interview. June 12, 2022

“From poor financial decisions to rampant racism, misogyny, misogynoir, mismanagement, predatory efforts to take advantage of newly unionized BIPOC creatives, discrimination and disrespect, racial profiling of hired artists, physical intimidation, ill care following injury, lack of support for BIPOC artists and artmaking and the constant refusal to acknowledge that you were and are the root of the issues at hand; we see only ... the tip of the iceberg," they said.

Then on Sunday the Rep's artistic director Sam Woodhouse read a prepared statement to KPBS that did not directly respond to the open letter.

"First of all, we're very proud of the production of 'The Great Khan,' particularly of the work of the company, (it) was a first rate production,” Woodhouse said in the prepared statement. “I can say we remain committed to our mission to create work that promotes an interconnected community, nourishes progressive values, and celebrates diverse voices. Our goal remains, and we have much work to do towards this goal, to become a fully inclusive, equitable, anti-racist, multicultural organization."

On Wednesday, after KPBS published its report on the allegations, the Rep emailed an additional statement from artistic director Sam Woodhouse.

“We are thankful for the bravery of those who voiced their concerns and offered honest feedback over the course of this production. We are regretful that their willingness to engage with us on issues required additional emotional labor on their part, especially recognizing that much of this learning occurred at the expense of BIPOC artists. To all of those who were affected during the making of ‘The Great Khan,’ we offer our sincere apologies," Woodhouse said.

Statement from the San Diego Rep
On Wednesday night the San Diego Rep emailed a statement from artistic director Sam Woodhouse in response to KPBS' story.
To view PDF files, download Acrobat Reader.

The Rep shuts its doors at least temporarily on June 19. It retains its lease on the Lyceum Theatre and may hold events in that space. But the future of the theater remains uncertain.