about In The margin (ITM)
ITM was founded in 2015 by a group of university theatre students wanting to challenge the oppressive and abusive practices that systematically and intentionally deprived marginalized students of opportunities and training. The inaugural ITM cohort pursued justice within their university system by creating and presenting a document that outlined the creative and administrative decisions the faculty and staff had enacted that were inequitable and harmful to the emotional, physical, and professional health of QT,BIPoC students. This document was called the Legacy Letter and it not only brought attention to the harm that was being caused by the university -- it also posed solutions the staff could implement in pursuit of equitable and inclusive practices.
The faculty’s white fragility in response to the Legacy Letter led them to ostracize and reprimand ITM’s founders by slandering them, threatening them, limiting and denying their work-study hours, harsh grading adjustment to work already submitted and credited, retroactively creating policies that would bar them from receiving grant funding, revoking and denying access to university spaces and resources that were made readily available to centered identities, and actively attempting to “blacklist” the founders from entering the theatre industry. Unfortunately, but understandably, this period of ITM’s history was exceptionally traumatic for its founders. It resulted in folx changing majors, dropping out of university, and reevaluating their involvement with the highly problematic theatre industry.
As a result of the adversity set by their alma mater and their local art organizations, In The Margin came together to make their own opportunities by developing and producing their own work. ITM leaned into gorilla style theatre in an attempt to circumvent the oppressive and systemic barriers that were actively placed upon them. In doing so, ITM was reminded of the immense value of sharing and investing resources to produce underrepresented work for, and by, underrepresented people. As the founders ventured into their professional careers and continued education and training, ITM became a means for the founders to produce accessible professional theatre for the communities they hailed from.
Today, ITM is a service-minded, community-oriented arts and advocacy company composed of multifaceted and intersectional: creators, producers, managers, agents, and community organizers.
ITM’s ensemble members work toward carving out space in the ever-changing arts industry to appropriately represent and lead with the hearts of our communities and contribute to the shift of the status quo in favor of compassion, multiculturalism, equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. What began as an isolated incident in an educational institution has evolved to ITM leading and taking part in conversations and action toward equitable practices within the not-for-profit sector, public sector, private sector, and our communities.
To evolve and expand our capacity for compassion and creation within the self, the community, and the cosmos.
Our vision & Purpose
ITM seeks to break patterns and cycles of harm individually, collectively, and globally to carve capacity for the ever-evolving forms of storytelling that inspire a radically inclusive, equitable, accessible, intersectional, and just future.
Through art, education, advocacy, and activism, we work to disrupt the white-supremacist, cissexist, settler-colonial norms that limit opportunities for genuine, non-archetypal marginal representation in the theatre world and beyond. We know that representation without political action does not serve our communities or dismantle oppressive systems, and so we reject the supposed division between art, activism, and education; instead, we see these pursuits as interdependent and necessary for tangible social progress. Our work is oriented by the diverse experiences of our Black, Indigenous, and multiracial community, and rejects the privileges of whiteness, heterosexuality, cisgenderism, ability, and economic wealth. We hold ourselves and our community accountable for these goals, and welcome constructive dialogue in pursuit of a more just world for all peoples.
(Multicultural, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility)
In The Margin is pursuing and expanding our understanding of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA or IDEA) by reframing and centering multiculturalism as an essential component of dismantling assumptions of identity-based, monolithic experiences. Via the exploration of intersectionality and pluralistic values, ITM seeks to foster environments and experiences that can help to further our nuanced understanding of identity. Ideally, this reframing will transform how we can interact at the interpersonal and collective levels. Although ITM is a QT,BIPoC led and founded organization aiming to confront and address adversity, we must consistently acknowledge that we are not immune to influence by the harmful systems we seek to transform.
We commit to standing in solidarity with Black communities and supporting the pursuit and attainment of justice. We hold ourselves accountable in dismantling anti-blackness within ourselves, those we serve, and within our art. We seek to educate others on this history and present of anti-Black racism, and we commit to doing so by centering Black voices and perspectives in the retelling of Black history. As many states wage a war on “critical race theory” in schools, we recognize the impending danger of a public school system that is designed to conceal the roots of Black oppression from new generations. Meanwhile, many of those same states have passed or are working to pass restrictive voting laws that will disproportionately affect Black citizens. Globally, we see the continual devaluation of Black communities and cultures at the hands of Western imperialism. As an arts and advocacy organization, we recognize the overwhelming power of storytelling, and seek to support and affirm Black peoples and communities as we collectively resist the white supremacist agenda in all of its iterations.
We encourage all peoples living on Turtle Island–what is currently known as "The Americas"–to learn of the original peoples and caretakers of the lands they may reside on (https://native-land.ca/). We recognize and illustrate in our leadership that those original peoples are still present, and still hold important ties to this land that should be honored. In The Margin stands in solidarity with indigenous communities because our future on this planet necessitates it. ITM openly pursues indigenous leadership models as a means toward an equitable future that avoids the tragedy of the commons.
We stand in solidarity with Asian and Pacific Islander peoples and communities as they face a history of racism and othering in the United States, and now confront a new and worsening wave of anti-Asian hate as a result of racist rhetoric surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic. We affirm that Asian peoples and cultures are integral parts of our civic and artistic communities, and through our advocacy and education work will continue to support and affirm their right to safety and respect. We also seek to deconstruct and reject Asian stereotypes in artistic and educational pursuits by centering Asian and Pacific Islander voices and perspectives.
ITM, as a queer and trans founded company, believes in the full right of self-determination for all people. Through our art, storytelling, advocacy, activism, we work to complicate and destabilize what is known as the gender binary, or the commonly held belief that there are only two genders. We likewise seek to effectively destroy what is known as heterosexism, or the belief that heterosexual people are inherently better, more normal, or more valuable than non-heterosexual people, and cissexism, the belief that cisgender people are better, more normal, or more valuable than transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people. In our effort to depict intersectional, complex, and nuanced portrayals of human existence, we center queerness as both an identity and political orientation. We resist the simplification or commodification of queerness by the economic system known as capitalism, and reaffirm our right to tell our own stories for our own benefit.
We identify intersecting our efforts with marginalized leaders as an essential function of In The Margin. Through exploration of diverse perspectives and direct action, ITM hopes to promote the needs and actionable solutions for the communities we serve.