English theatres act to tackle culture of exclusion

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

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.

report was based on a major study between 1988-1999 which found that only one
in 23 of theatre staff and 16 out of 440 board members came from an ethnic
minority background.

figures prompted a series of conferences investigating the sector.

Hewitt, chief executive of the Arts Council said the findings would lead to a
major drive for more diversity:

imperative to conquer institutional racism and to embrace the diversity of the
world’s culture has never been more acute. The Arts Council is currently
developing a new diversity project which will be launched later this year,” he

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.

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.

By Ross Wigham

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