Devoted and Disgruntled at the Young Vic 26th 2010

July 28, 2010

Does race matter in theatre and if so what are we going to do about it?

This was a very well attended event with some dynamic and stirring conversations shared.

Points addressed included:

  • can policy change people’s hearts? (so the hearts and minds point emerges here – amongst other things – if the mind steers policy then the heart must provide the charge, the sense of imperative for action, for change (like making sure that BME artists, actors, directors and…yes, policy makers are heard, are there at the centre of things).
  • should waiting for central governing bodies be allowed to dictate terms? Shouldn’t people – working as arts entrepreneurs – set about defining the terms of what theatre is made and how it is made? One South Asian director discussed how the changes in policy that have led to sources of funding being allocated to BME enterpries (e.g.Yellow Earth) have been important for establishing effective shifts in opportunity and identity.
  • One older artist said that knowing the history of BME arts practitioners is vital otherwise the risk of achieving only a superficial sense of identity and history is very real.
  • Director Chuck Mike, who co-hosted with Phelim, called for us all to keep the conversations and pragmatic steps to action going.
  • Phelim suggested that people consider the possibility of working on with this theme (or related) as a lead topic for the big annual event  – if that is what seems to be a good way to go.
  • I felt very glad to have been at an event where there was a strong (if not unfragile) sense of shared belonging – equality concerns us all!

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