Racism claims lead to theatre shake-up

The
English theatre industry is launching a major overhaul of its diversity
policies following allegations of institutional racism.

The
Eclipse Report, produced by the Arts Council and the Theatrical Management
Association, highlighted poor representation of ethnic minorities on theatre
boards and among its staff.

The
report was based on a study between 1998-99 which found only one in 23 theatre
staff came from an ethnic background, and of the 440 board members, only 16
were black.

Peter
Hewitt, chief executive of the Arts Council, said the findings would lead to a
major drive for better diversity. “The imperative to conquer institutional
racism and to embrace the world’s cultures has never been more acute. The Arts
Council is currently developing a new diversity project which will be launched
later this year,” he said.

The
report called for positive action, heightened awareness and recommended more
up-to-date research on the number of black, Asian and Chinese personnel in the
sector.

The report’s recommendations also included more training for
board members and senior staff, the introduction of a database of ethnic actors
and more funds for equal opportunities initiatives.

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