Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Seeks Nonprofit Status, UCB4 to Cede Control Of Operations

This just in from the UCB4 (aka, co-founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade: Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh), a mass email announcing the UCB Theatre is seeking nonprofit status, and once achieved, the UCB4 will cede operational control “to a diverse board.”

The UCB already closed its New York City flagship theater this spring, citing failing economics at the start of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s the email:

Dear UCB Community,

We are aware that the UCB community, like the communities of so many arts institutions across the country, is calling for change within the UCB organization in order to address issues of systemic racism and inequality.  The UCB 4 wholeheartedly acknowledge the need for change, and recognize that the issues under consideration are best addressed by a diverse group of individuals who can view the organization from a fresh perspective, and institute meaningful change with the input of the UCB community, particularly members of its BIPOC and LGBTQIA community.

In light of that fact, and because we feel it will alleviate much of the anxiety our community has regarding how the UCB will move forward, we are announcing that since February 2020 we have been pursuing nonprofit status for the UCB Theaters, and that immediately upon receipt of nonprofit status, the UCB 4 will hand off control over the theaters to a diverse board, under whose guidance, and with the input of our community, will institute far reaching changes in the way the theaters operate. Among many other issues, the board will be charged with addressing the questions of systemic racism and inequality within the theaters. Policies under the nonprofit will include:

UCB Theatres will be turned over to a board of diverse individuals immediately upon receipt of nonprofit status approval.  

The board of the nonprofit will review all current policies and procedures within the theater including staffing, booking shows, and auditions.

In particular, the audition process will have its own advisory committee to revamp that system to make it more inclusive.

In our tracking of and addressing complaints related to race, sexual orientation, and safety we’ll maintain a system that allows for anonymous complaints to be filed and addressed within 24 hours by an independent person.

Effective August 1, 2020 the UCB4 will no longer handle day to day operations of the training center.  The training center will be operated by a leadership team which will include a Diversity Director to be hired with the input of UCB’s BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities.

We know words can be empty, which is why we are committed to a plan of action that will lead to authentic change. UCB will continue to find more ways to discover diverse funny voices, foster a community that reflects the world we live in, and sustain a space where performers build something together that is greater than the sum of the individuals on stage.

Like many theaters and live entertainment venues, we are trying to survive during this health crisis. We look forward to starting again with this new plan knowing that the UCB theater will be better for it.


The UCB 4

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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