BECTU’s Theatre Diversity Action Plan is an innovative approach to tackling the lack of diversity in the theatre workforce.
Bringing together more than 90 theatres that have committed to taking practical steps to increase representation of Black and minority ethnic staff in their workforce, the plan has the potential to change the make-up of UK theatre for the better.
Research carried out by Arts Council England in 2015 found that the BAME workforce was as low as 5% in some London theatres, compared to the London population where 41% of people are from minority ethnic backgrounds.
These unacceptable figures immediately focussed BECTU’s Black Members’ committee, who since then have been working on how best to address this serious issue.
Developed in association with theatre employers in both the public and private sector, the plan aims to give employers the practical tools to increase diversity across the theatre workforce, from front-of-house teams to backstage staff.
The plan includes a guide to give employers the ability to identify what can be done in their own theatres. Steps include: carrying out an accurate assessment of their current workforce, setting targets and improving recruitment processes.
Head of BECTU Philippa Childs said: “Theatres have an important part to play in our cultural life, and it’s essential that stories told in theatres reflect the wider world we live in. For that to be possible, it’s essential that the theatre workforce also reflects the wider world.
“That’s why I’m so proud to unveil this new initiative from BECTU, which will see us working in partnership with the theatres across the country to create more inclusive workforces across the creative industries.
“We are delighted that so many organisations across the funded sector and commercial theatres are on board. Progress across the industry will widen the talent pool for all employers, making it easier for them to recruit, retain and promote BAME talent."
See our programme, the action plan and roll call here.