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Equity ARC 2017: Actors urge Equity to step up diverse casting fight

Benedict Wong (left) among protesters at the Print Room, London, for the opening night of Howard Barker's In the Depths of Dead Love. Photo: Georgia Snow Protesters at the Print Room, London, for the opening night of Howard Barker's In the Depths of Dead Love. Photo: Georgia Snow
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Actors and stage managers have urged Equity to take a more active role in publicly challenging casting decisions that fail to demonstrate equality and diversity.

It comes after the union condemned London fringe theatre the Print Room for its casting of four white performers in a play set in ancient China.

At the union’s Annual Representative Conference, held in London, members voted overwhelmingly to carry a motion that called for Equity to develop policy and strategy around consistently challenging casting decisions.

Nicholas Goh, from the minority ethnic members committee, said historical inequality meant that condemning productions that fail on diversity and equality fronts was the “right course” for Equity in future.

Actor Daniel York added: “I believe passionately in artistic freedom but artistic freedom has to be assigned equally. There’s no artistic freedom when you’re being erased from stage and screen.

“It’s not about making rules, I just think our industry should exercise some common sense, should exercise some responsibility. Casting directors should play fair, so let’s empower our union to encourage them to do so.”

Full coverage of Equity ARC 2017

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