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Why i’m over the word ‘Diversity’ in theatre.

Because quite simply,  it still really means fuck all in the long run.  That’s all.

This one has been sitting on my heart for a while, why? Because as a Black British playwright who happens to be female, the subject is extremely close to my heart.

Why? Because it just is init.

Let me explain.

Starting with the basics, because the basics always helps .

Diversity seems to be the new buzzword in creative arts at the moment, buzzword in the sense that it creates this false buzz of ‘inclusiveness’ but really and truly means: not a rass ting.

Not to be a negative nancy but I definitley roll my eyes these days when I see submissions  for scratch nights that go out of the way to say ‘We specifically would love to hear from BAME writers and BAME stories’ Because honestly, what the fuck does that even mean anymore?

Where are the Black British female playwrights?

*Waves hands furiously*

We’re here and we’re ready to take over the stages, but like…you have to give us a chance first.

I believe theatre should be more culturally inclusive in regards to the stories shown on stage; I know many Black British females that actively go to the theatre and enjoy the work being shown but how great would it be to have our own stories on stage?

PROGRAMMED INTO THE ACTUAL MAIN SEASON OF THEATRES NOT JUST AS INDEPENDENTLY PRODUCED ONE OR TWO DAY SHOWS.

Stories that do not focus around pain or suffering but simply the experience of being Black and British? From our perspective, because you know… we do kind of live this life.

When I tell certain people I want to be a successful playwright its heartbreaking that their surprise is often due to the fact that they are so removed from what theatre *potentially* could be that they think I must crave to write pre-historic love stories about white people OR Jamaican pantomime.

I can only imagine the amount of people that would be compelled to ‘give a theatre a go’ knowing that they could actually go into one of these theatrical establishments and see work on stage (that doesn’t cost half a mortgage but thats a different story) that represents us, the Black British individuals.

I submit my work to scratch nights a lot, sometimes I get my worked picked; thats always nice. Honestly it is, no shade.

But after a few successful 10 minute pieces, (successful in the sense that the majority white audiences received the jokes well),  I wanted to show my work in a ‘safe space’ and so ‘The Noir Narratives’ was born. I teamed up with two other Black British female playwrights and we produced and sold out a scratch night dedicated to work by … guess who? Black British female playwrights.

It was a lovely experience, but it makes me wonder.

Will these opportunities only happen if we create them ourselves? 

Because lets be real, until ‘diversity’ and ‘female empowerment’ became a thing; theatres were ok with not extending the olive branch past white male playwrights in regards to programming work; but alas all is solved now; as theatre companies have suddenly realised female playwrights exist; alas only if their white.

WILL THERE EVER BE A FESTIVAL FOR BLACK BRITISH FEMALE PLAYWRIGHTS AT A MAJOR THEATRE ? 

Food for thought.

 

 

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