Enter Stage Write founder Natalie Edward-Yesufu: ‘Why do people talk about inclusion and take no action?’
How did you start in theatre?
I started in New York, Off-Broadway producing events celebrating new writing and introducing new international talent to the US.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
Build your network and sign up for acting and writing competitions to get on the radar of the right people. Learn the business aspect of whichever creative sector you are in.
What would you change about training in the UK?
We don’t focus enough on the business of the industry or on gaining emotional intelligence and mental resilience.
What is the best part of your job?
Connecting people and creating unity.
And your least favourite?
The politics of the creative sector. As a woman of colour, people automatically think I am going to expose their companies for lack of inclusivity. I am here to collaborate and have fun, not to point fingers. But I don’t understand why so many people talk about inclusion and take no action.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students look up to?
I admire people who are creating opportunities through inclusion, I like how Actor Awareness and Triforce are opening doors for creatives.
What is the one skill every successful theatre professional should have?
Talent goes without saying but beyond that, emotional intelligence and being empathetic.
Why did you create Enter Stage Write?
Not only can ‘industry people’ be sceptical about new work, but audiences made up of only other creatives can be an echo chamber. I wanted to create a platform for new writers that is marketed primarily to audiences who don’t attend theatre regularly, or at all. Entrants can test their work in front of a more diverse crowd while demonstrating to the industry that there is a market for what they are creating.
Natalie Edward-Yesufu was talking to John Byrne