Minority theatre companies are being forced to compete “Hunger Games style” for Arts Council England regular funding, Equity’s LGBT+ Committee has said.
Actor Giovanni Bienne, of the union’s LGBT+ Committee, said he had conducted his own superficial audit of ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations for 2018 to 2022, looking at more than 800 theatre and dance companies.
Bienne said he found one theatre company focusing on black work, one on work from the African diaspora, two on work about the South Asian community, one East Asian-focused company, one led by disabled artists and two NPO’s that are explicitly LGBT+.
“What this means is that we engender fierce competition between companies that are trying to do minority work to begin with and now have to subject themselves to a sort of Hunger Games-style competition between siblings in order to become Arts Council England’s favourite child,” he said.
Bienne added: “The implication is that only one or two companies really reach the bar of excellence set up by Arts Council England.
“Either it’s that and only one or two are good enough, or it’s a box-ticking exercise.”
Bienne was speaking to propose a motion at Equity’s Annual Representative Conference, calling on the union to conduct an audit of LGBT+ theatre companies and venues as well as Pride organisations to ensure relevant Equity rates are being paid.
The audit will also look at Arts Council England funding to “determine whether sufficient support is being given to the LGBT+ voice”.
Members at the conference voted to pass the motion.
For more coverage of the Equity Annual Representative Conference 2019, click here.