London’s Royal Court Theatre has committed to ensuring that 45% of its cast and creative teams are people of colour each year, as part of a series of measures announced to combat systemic racism in the industry.
The theatre has released an ’Anti-Racist Reflection and Action’ statement on its website, which acknowledges systematic racism in the theatre industry and sets out a number of actions the organisation is taking in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Other commitments include:
• Ensuring that black people joining the organisation at trainee level have clear pathways through to more senior roles.
• Increasing representation across all areas of the workforce, aiming to be "truly representative of London" in four years.
• Creating a justice system for anyone working with the Royal Court to raise experiences of structural racism, discrimination, micro-aggressions and injustice. This will replace the theatre’s previous grievance procedure, which it says is "no longer fit for purpose".
• Holding unconscious bias and anti-racism training annually.
• Creating opportunities through lectures, audits and other works to begin a "vivid re-examining of history [...] and a deep understanding of the way our cultural institutions have developed".
The Royal Court said: "We are living through a historic moment with the Black Lives Matter movement.
"It is our responsibility as guardians of a theatre with the important and influential mission of developing and supporting writers, to build on this and make lasting change happen.
"We acknowledge that theatre in this country, including the Royal Court of course, is institutionally racist. We understand that every time we communicate our anti-racist solidarity or ally-ship there are people who have experienced racism and discrimination at our hands – we acknowledge that and must take responsibility for it."
It added: "This demand for change, born of George Floyd’s murder, is about being black, and the unique injustices against the black community from Britain’s civic institutions: the police, the criminal justice system, schools, higher education, media and culture. We recognise this unique pain."