Black Theatre Collective Wants Industry Reform and Not "Empty Gestures"


Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

With the Black Lives Matter movement top-of-mind right now a newly formed group of some of Britain's best actors and writers called Black Theatre Collective has sent an open letter to the UK's theatre-makers. They're asking for real change in the industry and not just empty gestures.

This new group includes Paapa Essiedu, Clarke Peters, and Jamael Westman, and along with almost 400 others.

In the letter they say:

...diverse theatre-makers have been failed, and cites examples such as actors being given black tights and being told they are “skin-tone” and the “dog-whistle racist language bemoaning ‘diversity’ in a review”. The letter says actors are often the only people of colour working on productions with offstage roles being the preserve of white employees.

The BTC has now suggested five measures that would create and equal work space for people of color.

From The Guardian:

They call for institutions to hire and retain diverse talent “across all departments”, for reviewers from a more diverse list of publications to be given access to press events, and for outreach programmes to be set up in schools in order to encourage participation in theatre from underrepresented groups.

They've also called for two other measures that would make sure that hair and makeup teams are trained properly on how to work with afro hair by 2021 and that “appropriate skin tone makeup, underwear and physio strapping” is provided to performers.