Our Commitment

The Groundlings organization recognizes and acknowledges that we have not done a good enough job in amplifying and supporting the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our school and on our stage. While we have seen the positive effects of diversity initiatives first launched in 2015, we know have a long way to go and are committed to making effective long-term change.

Working with the organization since 2016, Povi-Tamu Bryant at Freedom Verses has been engaged with an increased scope of work to strengthen the Groundlings’ efforts to be an anti-racist organization and further our commitment to change and social accountability. A local strategic planning firm with a specialization in diversity, equity and inclusion practices, Freedom Verses are implementing new framework, policies and practices on all levels of the institution.

We Are Committed

It is important for us to foster an organizational culture of diversity, inclusion and anti-racism by changing internal structures that have sustained a lack of these tenets. Here are some of the ways we commit to achieving these goals:

  • We commit to being actively anti-racist as an organization. We will provide regular anti-racist training for all artists, staff members, and teachers, and take measures to ensure accountability at all levels. 
  • We commit to providing monthly workshops specifically for our BIPOC students so they can experience being a majority in the classroom. 
  •  We commit to ensuring more BIPOC voices will appear on our stage. 
  •  We commit to improve our hiring practices and establish more diversity parity in our artists, staff, and teachers. 
  •  We commit to engaging in a dialogue that helps us amplify BIPOC voices and confront our implicit bias. 
  •  We commit to listening. Write to us and tell us how we can do better: [email protected] 

Diversity Festival

Returning for a fourth year to celebrate and explore diversity and inclusion in comedy and entertainment, The Groundlings Theatre and School is proud to announce their annual Diversity Festival on November 13-15, 2020. Taking place entirely online this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, The Groundlings have expanded their previous one-day event to a three-day weekend extravaganza with full days of sketch and improv classes, panels and shows. The Groundlings also welcome back sponsors NBC and Nickelodeon for a fourth year in a row. 

The festival is also a continuation of The Groundlings’ partnership with NBC. Together they created the NBC/Groundlings Writing Lab Scholarship in 2016 that joined the network’s long-standing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives for onscreen and behind-the-scenes talent. NBC provides full-tuition scholarships to students of diverse backgrounds for The Groundlings’ Upper Division Writing Lab.  

Nickelodeon will support the teen portion of the program by sponsoring the improv training for a select group of teens invited to perform at the Diversity Festival. Nickelodeon and The Groundlings have partnered for the past eleven years to help nurture the development of young talent. For nearly 20 years, Nickelodeon has cultivated a new generation of diverse and creative talent through its unique and innovative outreach programs including the Animated Short Program, Writing Program, Artist Program and Artist Collective. These hands-on programs were designed to provide innovative, inspiring, and educational opportunities for creative and diverse new talent. 

 A line-up of improv shows and panels featuring Groundlings, alumni and special guests will take place each afternoon of the festival. The festival will also host several diversity-related classes, these one-hour workshops are $10.00 each and registration will be open to the public. All shows and panels will be free and open to the public. The Diversity Festival will run daily from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. from November 13 - November 15. The schedule of events and workshop registration is available now at www.groundlings.com/diversity

Diversity and Inclusion Scholarships

Groundlings Diversity Scholarship

The Groundlings organization has invested over $190,000 to fund scholarships since the inception of the program to support Groundlings students of diverse backgrounds. Scholarships from this fund are awarded to all levels of students.

SNL Scholarship: *NEW!*

The Groundlings also announced a partnership with “Saturday Night Live” and the creation of the “SNL Scholarship” to initiate significant steps toward progressive recruitment of diverse applicants. SNL Scholarships are open to any student in the Core Track. 

Gary Austin Scholarship

This Alumni-funded scholarship was created in honor and memory of The Groundlings founder, Gary Austin. Scholarships from this fund are awarded to students who have accepted an offer for Advanced Lab.