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London event to be held to address East Asian actors’ concerns

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Arts Council England, Equity, the Society of London Theatre and the Theatrical Management Association are to host an event next year to address the issues surrounding work opportunities for East Asian artists in UK theatre.

East Asian Matters will take place on February 11, 2013 at the Young Vic in London. Organisers say it is “deigned to increase opportunities for East Asian artists”.

The move follows outspoken protests against the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Orphan of Zhao, with several East Asian actors complaining that only three Asian actors have been cast in the play, which is billed as “the Chinese Hamlet”.

A group of East Asian actors had published a statement calling for a public forum to discuss their concerns. At the time, actor Daniel York, a spokesman for the group, said: “This exclusion has been going on for far too long within the British stage and film industries. Colour-blind casting is a wonderful concept, unfortunately, it’s all one-way traffic. Something has to change. We are asking for fairness and a level playing field.”

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