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Theatre roles to be advertised in job centres to boost industry diversity

The Creative Job Studio at Somerset House will be a job centre for young people in the creative industries. Photo: 1000 Words/Shutterstock Photo: 1000 Words/Shutterstock
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Backstage vacancies at 50 London theatres will be advertised by job centres in the capital, as part of a new initiative aimed at increasing diversity in the industry.

Union BECTU has partnered with the Department for Work and Pensions on the scheme, which aims to increase the number of applicants from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to theatre jobs.

The move is part of BECTU’s Theatre Diversity Action plan, which is a scheme set up to tackle BAME under-representation in theatres across the country.

UK theatres unite to tackle lack of diversity offstage

Under the new partnership with DWP, jobs from 50 London theatres that have signed up to the Diversity Action Plan will be advertised by London job centres and targeted towards BAME workers with relevant skills.

The job vacancies, covering roles in backstage areas include costume, technical, lighting and front of house, will be distributed to job centres across the capital, coordinated by Stockwell Jobcentre Plus.

Applications will then be sifted by the job centres, and the best will be forwarded to the employer. BECTU hopes to roll out the initiative to job centres across the UK.

BECTU head Philippa Childs said: “These are tangible and collaborative steps to take direct action to further implement our diversity plan.

“Working with theatres and the job centres, we aim to find new talent and encourage skills transfers from people from diverse backgrounds. London theatre employers are aware that their workforce is not representative of our city’s population and they want to address this.”

Childs added: “It goes without saying that working in the theatre can be one of the best jobs in the world, and we are pleased the industry is waking up to the creative possibilities of a diverse talent pool of skills to sustain its own future.”

BECTU has also announced that 26 theatres in Wales have signed up to the Theatre Diversity Action Plan.

These include Wales Millennium Centre, the Welsh National Opera, National Theatre Wales and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

BECTU learning and development manager for Wales, Siân Gale, said: “The BAME population in Wales is almost 5% and in Cardiff approaching 16%. Therefore, by not employing BAME people, theatres and arts organisations are missing out on a wealth of creative talent across the craft, technical, production, administrative and other exciting behind-the-scenes roles in a growing, dynamic and global sector.”

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