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DST Statement Regarding the Cancelation of Roosters

The Desert Stages Theatre Board of Directors announces the regrettable decision to cancel the production of “Roosters” due to unforeseen circumstances related to casting decisions. 

At Desert Stages Theatre, we are committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone, irrespective of their ethnicity. We adhere to a strict Non-Discrimination Policy:

Desert Stages Theatre does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of governing board, volunteers, actors, and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, governing board, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. This will include the casting of roles, unless otherwise required by the contract agreement for the production.

DST and the Director collaborated on the following casting notice:

This is an adult production. No roles have been pre-cast. Casting 3M/3F. All abilities and ages are encouraged to audition. All of the characters are Chicano/Mexican-American.

Nowhere in the casting notice did it state that ONLY people of Latine heritage would be allowed to audition and be cast in the play.

The Director cast the show and sent a welcome e-mail, which indicated how proud they were to have an all Latine cast. Upon learning of the Director’s intention for an all Latine cast, a cast member came forward to indicate they did not know this was the Director’s intention and volunteered that they were not Latine. The Director then rescinded the casting offer and re-cast the role based solely on race.

Rescinding a casting offer, for the sole reason of a person’s race, is a direct violation of DST’s Non-Discrimination policy. When DST’s Board became aware of this situation, the Board met to discuss the situation. The Board took the following statement, received from the Director, into consideration:

Please know that if we go back to the original casting, I can guarantee you the other actors will not continue with the play, and I would also not continue as director

After a lengthy discussion, the Board decided to uphold DST’s Non-Discrimination policy. While the Board would have preferred the show continue as originally cast, the Director did not support this approach. Therefore, the Board concluded the only path forward was to cancel the show.

DST understands the emotional impact this outcome has had on those who wholeheartedly desired to bring this story to life which represents their unique culture and identity.

The Board apologizes for the delay in making its final decision known to cast members and DST community.

DST is committed to creating an atmosphere where all members of the DST community feel safe, valued and represented. DST welcomes constructive input and partnership from all communities as we seek to improve. We appreciate your ongoing support.

If you would like to provide comments or have questions, please feel free to email the Board HERE