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Tiata Fahodzi and The Stage launch backstage photo library featuring people of colour

One of the stock images from the library launched by Tiata Fahodzi and The Stage. Photo: Alex Brenner
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A new photo library featuring people of colour in technical theatre roles has been launched, in a bid to improve the diversity of pictures used to depict backstage theatre workers.

The stock photo library has been jointly launched by Tiata Fahodzi and The Stage and is launching with more than 200 images at launch. It is free to use and features stock images covering a range of roles, including backstage, wardrobe and design.

The project was launched in response to the lack of people of colour represented in stock images that had been available to illustrate news stories and features about technical theatre.

Natalie Ibu, artistic director and chief executive of Tiata Fahodzi, said: “When we pay attention to those who are most excluded, to those intersectional identities that are continually missing, then we embrace more people. We acknowledge those who do exist and inspire those yet to make a home in theatre, because if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

“Last year, you’d struggle to find a stock photo of a person of colour in a technical role, now you’ll have at least 200 photos of people of colour (who also represent the gender spectrum, disability and religion) to choose from. It’s a start. Let’s make sure it isn’t the end.”

The initial stock photos available in the library were taken at Watford Palace Theatre by photographer Alex Brenner.

It is intended that the archive will become a resource for the entire theatre sector, with other companies encouraged to add their own representative stock images to the collection under a Creative Commons licence, which will allow publications and theatre to reproduce the photos freely.

The Stage editor Alistair Smith added: “This image library will allow us to better depict the range of people who work backstage, but we were also keen to make sure that the resource be made available to the whole sector and other publishers. We hope that others will add to it and this can become a hugely useful tool for everyone.”

The photo library is available here.

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