Rhinegold Photo credit: San Francisco Opera
Charles Chip Mc Neal, new Director of Diversity, Equity and Community

Melissa Bradshaw

San Francisco Opera establishes Diversity, Equity and Community department

2:42, 12th June 2019

San Francisco Opera’s general director Matthew Shilvock has announced the establishment of its new Department of Diversity, Equity and Community.

Charles Chip Mc Neal, currently Senior Curriculum & Program Manager in the company’s Education Department, will lead the new department taking up the position of the company’s first Director of Diversity, Equity and Community on 1 August 2019.

The department will focus on an institutional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) both within the organisation and externally, as well as on continuation of the opera’s ARIA (Arts Resources in Action) Residency and CUE (Community, Understanding, Engagement) programmes.

Mc Neal describes the establishment of the new department as ‘a bold move in a time of critical change in our country’s history’. He comments: ‘The arts and culture sectors have always been at the forefront of social change and evolving sociocultural identity. We must leverage that power in responsible and responsive ways. We are part of a local, state-wide and global movement to address cultural equity and inclusion. We will lead with diversity, embrace equity and strive for inclusivity in all our work, onstage and in the community.’

The establishment of the department is the result of a reframing of the company’s Education department, as part of a larger restructuring of the company’s operations in alignment with its new Strategic Framework. Due to budgetary reductions included in these changes, Director of Education Ruth Nott will be leaving the company at the end of July 2019.

‘Ruth Nott has given extraordinarily dedicated service to the opera and to the broader community for over 11 years’, stated Shilvock. ‘She has led with heart, integrity and vision, and her legacy here will be lasting … Chip Mc Neal will carry forward the education work led by Ruth over the course of the last decade, and he will honour that work through an integrated approach that will connect the company to our community through a lasting, purposeful and meaningful commitment to DEI.’


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