The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive

Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2021 – September Missive #1
HR & DEI at the Dickens Fair
September 1, 2021

Notes from your Missive Maven:
This Missive is intended to provide an update on the progress of our Human Resources (HR) and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work.



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Cat Taylor
Entertainment Director & Missive Maven
SAVE THE DATE: Look for an invitation to a live Town Hall via Zoom with Hummingbird Humanity, HR Director Martin Bell, and RBP to be held later this month. Details will be sent next week, via our Constant Contact Missive list.
In This Missive:
  • Red Barn's Impact Statement
  • Red Flag Reporting System goes live today
  • DEI at Drive Thru Dickens' London 2021
  • Restorative Justice definition - from Hummingbird Humanity
  • Outreach to Underrepresented Communities
  • Hummingbird Humanity Experience Survey Results
  • TWG and DEI Advisory Roundtable - from Hummingbird Humanity
  • DEI Community Resources
  • DCF 2021 DEI Roadmap Timeline
  • The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Staff Contact Information
Red Barn's Impact Statement
What we do:
For more than 47 years Red Barn Productions (the Patterson family) and The Great Dickens Christmas Fair have educated, entertained, and inspired audiences by presenting creative, one-of-a-kind, immersive theatrical experiences.

What we believe:
People of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and abilities should have the opportunity to share in the process of creating theater. All of our stories are important and deserve to be told.

Furthermore, we believe it is the responsibility of all businesses participating in Red Barn events, as well as those responsible for hiring and casting on behalf of Red Barn Productions, to provide a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels.
Red Flag Reporting System goes live today
Red Flag Reporting provides compliance and ethics hotline services and case management software solutions to organizations seeking to promote safe and ethical behavior. Beginning September 1st, 2021, any former or current Dickens Fair participant may use this system to report incidents of harrassment, discrimination, or safety violations. The system allows participants to speak freely in an independent, safe environment. This system immediately notifies the Red Barn HR advisor and other appropriate staff, and is designed to also allow anonymity if preferred. Additionally, it allows the reportee to omit any management personnel they do not want involved. Follow-up can be communicated anonymously if requested as well. Please view orientation videos here for more information.

To file a report, provide client code RBP and do one of the following:

  • Visit and click on “File a Report”
  • Call 1-877-647-3335
  • Text RFR to 234-231-9005

You may also file a report via the following methods (be sure to be detail-oriented, provide our client code, and indicate if you wish to be anonymous or not):

Follow-up communications and any needed investigation will be done in a timely fashion.
DEI at Drive Thru Dickens' London 2021
The Drive Thru Dickens event will be RBP’s first opportunity to put into practice our evolving DEI practices and policies, including new approaches to hiring, casting, and training that will be required for all Dickens Fair participants going forward. This includes: 

  • Each hired performing group will be encouraged to increase BIPOC representation in their cast.
  • As a condition of engagement, our production and operations partners are expected to uphold the tenets of equity, diversity, and inclusion which will be stated in our hiring policies and contracts. 

All performance groups, external partners, and Drive Thru Dickens staff will sign an anti-racism, discrimination and inclusion agreement affirming their commitment to challenge and expose sexism, ableism, homophobia, and other oppressive systems in the workplace.
Restorative Justice definition - from Hummingbird Humanity
As we take tangible action, we continue to explore how we move forward while also learning from the past. This work includes expanding our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as engaging in experiences that help us understand how we can be anti-racist in our actions. We have also begun exploring how restorative justice approaches will contribute to our work. These learnings will inform the actions we will take going forward.

Restorative Justice emphasizes repairing harm, and is best accomplished through cooperative processes that create space for willing stakeholders to meet and take steps forward together. In this approach, which includes ownership, empathy and action, all parties are involved in the process of repair and healing. The approach can lead to transformation of people, relationships, and communities.

Hummingbird’s approach to building a DEI plan begins with voices from the communities they serve. Their work with RBP/DCF will be informed by (1) information previously shared with RBP/DCF leadership, (2) the Participant Experience Survey, and (3) conversations with DCF community members. The multi-year DEI plan that Hummingbird develops will also be informed by restorative justice and anti-racism concepts, as well as foundational principles that include safety, communication, and engagement.
Outreach to Underrepresented Communities
We want to tell the stories of the 19th century that have been overlooked or systematically written out of Western history. As part of RBP’s 3 to 5 year DEI plan, we will develop and cast a number of specific roles and shows depicting historically underrepresented communities. We are excited about this effort and look forward to assistance from the community in making it happen. Much more on this to come in future Missives!
Hummingbird Humanity Survey Results
We received 565 responses to the 2019 DCF Participant survey. Thank you for sharing your opinions and experiences with us. Your voices are important, and the insights you’ve shared will help as we take steps forward, together.

Hummingbird is reviewing your survey responses, which will play an important role in shaping our DEI Roadmap. Based on your feedback, we also sent the Participant Experience Survey to our DCF Alumni Participants and welcome their input as well.

These are the highest and lowest rated questions from the 2019 DCF Participant Experience Survey:

Highest rated questions:
  • I am proud to be part of the Fair. (4.2 out of 5.0)
  • I feel a sense of belonging at the Fair. (4.2 out of 5.0)

Lowest rated questions:
  • I believe RBP has done enough to create a respectful and inclusive environment for all participants. (2.7 out of 5.0)
  • Participants know what steps to take to share a complaint about harassment or discrimination in Fair spaces without fear of retaliation. (2.7 out of 5.0)

In reviewing these surveys, we also identified an important need to develop a more effective approach to communications with our DCF community, and are currently building a Participant Portal which will be the next step in this effort.
TWG and DEI Advisory Roundtable - from Hummingbird Humanity
A DEI Advisory Roundtable, sometimes called a Council, includes representatives from different backgrounds within the community. The group will meet on a regular basis to discuss DEI at DCF - what’s being implemented, how it's working, and providing the RBP team with counsel on what to do next.

In September, we will be inviting applications from members of the DCF community to join our inaugural DEI Advisory Roundtable. This group will partner with us on the long-term approach of this DEI Advisory Roundtable, in the spirit of the previously shared plan for TWG, and will also provide input on our DEI Roadmap.

We are also exploring how we will engage the Affinity Groups as part of our DEI efforts. These Groups play an important role in our community, and we look forward to enhancing our partnership and developing clearer lines of communication with them as we take steps forward with our DEI plans.
DEI Community Resources
Since the beginning of its DEI work in the Spring of 2020, Red Barn Productions has been researching and sharing important resources relating to social justice, racial equity, and community safety and health. We encourage you to review these resources here, and ask that you let us know what you find useful. If you have suggestions that we may add, email them to Our education in this work is never finished, and building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community is never done. Thank you for being part of this important commitment to helping our company, and our community as a whole, do better.

RBP DEI Community Resources:

Additional DEI Resources from Hummingbird Humanity:
DCF 2021 DEI Roadmap Timeline
July/August - HR/DEI Dept. - Hummingbird Humanity - Assessment (including new participant survey), Analysis, and Report. First Draft of the RBP DEI Plan.

September 1 - HR/DEI Dept. - Red Flag Reporting system goes live.

September - HR/DEI Dept. - The DEI Advisory Roundtable Temporary Working Group (TWG) formed, scheduled, and completed. Aim is to decide on the rules and composition of the future DEI Advisory Roundtable.

September - HR/DEI Dept. - DEI Advisory Roundtable membership, guidelines, and schedule announced.

August/Sept - HR/DEI Dept. - Hummingbird Humanity provides advice and support for DEI Plan Rollout and Implementation.

October - HR/DEI Dept. - DEI Advisory Roundtable - First meetings held.

September 30 - HR Dept. - - Participant Portal (Version 1) to go live.

Sept/Oct/Nov - HR/DEI Dept. - DEI Training for RBP Leadership Team, Directors, and others; begin Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Measures.

Oct/Nov - HR/DEI Dept. -Anti-harassment and DEI education workshops offered online. REQUIRED for all 2021 Gate Pass recipients.

November 5 - HR Dept. - Onboarding for DTD21 Complete.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Staff Contact Information
Seasonal & Part-Time Participant Management Staff

Entertainment Director, Cat Taylor:

Operations & Security Manager, Mark Solum:

Communications & Marketing Director, Shannon Damnavits:

Archivist, Ed Herny:

Costume Director, Liz Martin:

Living History Centre

Education Director, Robert Young:

External Consultants

Human Relations Consultant, Martin Bell:

DEI Consulting Firm, Hummingbird Humanity - Lead Consultant: JD Valladares-Williams:

DEI Consulting Firm, Hummingbird Humanity - Founder: Brian McComak:

DEI Consultancy Firm, Hummingbird Humanity:

DEI Consultant, Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith:

HR Consultants & Trainers, Dr. Tara Rech & Dr. Michi Fu: 2022 courses TBD

The above, as well as additional resources and Red Barn Progress Reports, are currently available on the Red Barn Community page, and will be available through our Participant Portal in the future. Thank you.

RBP Year-Round Staff
Producer & CEO, Kevin Patterson:
Producer & CFO & Vendor Coordinator, Leslie Patterson:
Producer & Production Manager, Andrew Patterson:
Quick Links and Contact Information
Quick Links:

Contact Information
For questions regarding performing at the Fair, please email Cat Taylor
For questions about the Living History Centre and workshops, please email Robert Young
For questions regarding vending at the Fair please email Vendors
For questions the beverage department please email Beverage
For questions regarding costumes, please email Costumes