Words by Elijah Arief
BlackStage UK is a platform which seeks to support Black artists and creators within the theatre sphere, created by Gabrielle Brooks the platform exists to tackle racism and anti-Blackness within the white dominated industry whilst uplifting and supporting Black voices.
The theatre company has released a documentary series on their YouTube page to share the experiences of racism and bias that Black artists have faced, from dealing with the never ending microaggressions to how Black people have coped during the Summer Lockdown of 2020. The channel provides an exploration of just how impactful and hurtful microaggressions and assumptions can be to Black people working within the Arts, and how saddening this can be as theatre is meant to be a safe space for all.
The documentary series focuses on the lived experiences of Black people and is a must watch for anyone working in the theatre industry and wants to understand how to work on their own racism, biases, and assumptions.
A survey conducted by The Stage concluded that 92% of top theatre bosses are white, with 8% of bosses being people of colour. This study included major venues such as the National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Young Vic, and Sheffield Theatres.
The BlackStage UK website is essential to anybody working within the Arts sector, as it contains resources and links to anti-racist education and unconscious bias training with an extensive list of articles, books, podcasts and links to donate to help support anti-racist work.
BlackStage UK also have a blog link on their website which has articles and blog posts about allyship, colourism in the Arts, and UK Representation.
The Arts Industry needs to start listening to voices of Black people and people of colour. White supremacy still exists within every facet of our society, and the feelings and experiences of ethnic minorities are often side-lined to prioritise a white art agenda.
It is key that those who work within the Arts listen and learn from resources such as BlackStage UK and that we give them support and recognition. Diversity, representation, and inclusion are fundamental building blocks to helping combat racism, and it starts with education.
YouTube: BlackStage UK
Image – Black Stage UK