The founder of IDEA Stages faces suspension because of controversy

Alicia Young is the Founder and Executive Director of IDEA Stages. She won the 2023 Henry Award for acting in ‘The Royale’ at the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. On Feb. 17, a committee from IDEA Stages recommended suspending her.

In May 2020, actor and director Alicia Young started IDEA Stages. The nonprofit aims to promote inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in the performing arts. The theater community faced pandemic challenges. Young wanted performances to focus on inclusivity, equality, safety, and unity.

But last fall, things went wrong for IDEA Stages. Cast members from Vintage Theatre’s “In the Heights” accused Young of bad behavior. They shared a six-page document and text messages as proof of this. Michal McDowell said Young was acting hypocritically.

The theater community was shocked by this news. People questioned IDEA Stages’ core values. An accountability committee investigated the claims. On Saturday, the committee suggested suspending Alicia Young from her position. She is the founder and executive director of IDEA Stages.

The accountability committee made a serious decision. They commit to fostering a healthy and inclusive work environment. Their statement shows they care about IDEA Stages’ long-term well-being. They understand the seriousness of the situation and the importance of taking action.

MiDian Holmes, the chair of the accountability committee, said that the full IDEA Stages board will vote on the recommendation next week. This important moment is a turning point for the organization and the local stage community.

McDowell and “In the Heights” director Jonathan Andujar made the complaint. McDowell thanked the committee for investigating. She recognized how hurtful the incident was and how it divided the local theater community. The theater world is waiting for the board’s decision. They want to know what will happen to IDEA Stages. The recommendation to suspend shows the difficulties in making dreams come true. It also shows how hard it is to create a more fair and diverse performing arts world.