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Lloyd Webber commissions diversity report to ward off ‘potential industry crisis’

Andrew Lloyd Webber Andrew Lloyd Webber
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Andrew Lloyd Webber has commissioned a report into diversity in British theatre in an attempt to address where the industry is failing.

The research, which will be published in the autumn, has been commissioned by Lloyd Webber’s foundation and seeks to highlight ways in which theatre can act to prevent a “potential crisis”.

Speaking to the Guardian, the composer said he was deeply concerned about the lack of diverse talent within the industry, particularly in regard to the problems faced in “recruiting trained BAME young talent into musical theatre”.

“The foundation has commissioned this research to see how a potential crisis can be avoided. The stage needs to reflect the diversity of the UK population or it risks becoming marginalised. The arts are for everyone,” Lloyd Webber said.

The research will be led by Danuta Kean and Mel Larsen. Last year, Kean edited a study into the lack of diversity in the publishing industry.

Kean said the new report would highlight where the weaknesses are within the casting process and examine the idea of unconscious bias, as well as looking into arts in education and diversity in areas such as writing and backstage staff.

Kean also warned of the long-term impacts of not addressing the diversity of audiences, adding: “If you’re not actually starting to attract people from ethnic minority backgrounds, you’re going to end up with very marginalised theatre audiences – white, elderly people.”

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