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Vicky Featherstone: ‘Royal Court shows are not nearly as representative as they should be’

Vicky Featherstone, artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre. Photo: Mark Hamilton

Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone has said the venue’s work is “not nearly good enough” in terms of representation.

Featherstone told The Stage that the London venue “should be so much better in so many areas”, adding that she has to question her artistic choices every day.

Her comments were made at a launch event at the BFI in London for Snatches [1], a series of eight monologues by female writers that were curated by Featherstone and will be broadcast on BBC4 from June 18 to 21.

“I am somebody with power and I run an institution, and our work isn’t as representative as it needs to be so I have to ask myself that question about what the barriers are,” Featherstone told The Stage.

She added: “The Royal Court should be so much better in so many areas, we are not nearly good enough.”

Featherstone said she has to “question every single day” whether she is taking enough risks with the voices the theatre puts on stage.

“It’s about all forms of representation, and also risk in terms of form, how we create theatre, what theatre looks like, who it’s for, the style of theatre, all of those things, I question it all constantly. Never become complacent, it’s the death of progression,” she said.

Featherstone also argued the industry needs to create an environment where, through conversation, people “feel shame in their theatres” if the work is not representative of society.

“If, through the conversation, the discussion, and the pressure, that shame isn’t enough to create representation across all forms, then I think there should be some kind of outcome from the Arts Council [for publicly funded companies],” she said.

She said funding should only be removed as a “final thing”.