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Tina star Kobna Holdbrook-Smith: ‘Theatre leaders need to be braver with diversity’

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith says the industry needs to stop talking about diversity and “just do it”
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Tina star Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has accused theatre leaders of not being “quite courageous enough” to bring about change when it comes to diversity.

Holdbrook-Smith, whose recent credits include Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, said the industry needed to stop talking about diversity and “just do it”.

The comments were made at a nominees celebration event for the WhatsOnStage Awards 2019. Holdbrook-Smith has been nominated in the best actor in a musical category.

He told The Stage that there is still a “rolling issue with diversity” in the West End.

“Absolutely everybody wants to see change on the strict condition that everything stays the same.

“It’s not like we’ve got loads of angry racists in charge of everything but people aren’t quite courageous enough to make those shifts,” said Holdbrook-Smith.

He added: “It’s all laid out, there’s organisations left and right, people just need to implement the things they talk about.

“If we want to see more disabled people, put them on the stage, if we want to see more people of colour, put them on the stage, if we want to see 50/50 representation of  women, put them on the stage. Don’t say you can’t, don’t explain why it’s difficult, just do it.”

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