A Statement in Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement
Following devastating recent events in the US, the ADC Theatre would like to issue a statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. In particular, we recognise that systemic racism is as much a problem in the UK as it is in the US, and that it is a problem in the UK theatre industry.
In 2000, Jamaican-born British actor and Artistic Director of Carib Theatre Company Anton Phillips wrote a piece for the Guardian on systemic racism in the UK theatre industry. In that piece, Phillips stated that ‘racism is so entrenched that people don’t recognise it for what it is’, and in terms that speak presciently to the current pandemic, he added:
‘Most white people are just not interested. It does not concern them. They will never be victims of it. They will have more sympathy if you have the flu, because they can identify with that, but there is no danger of them ever turning black. They are completely immune.’
Phillips’s call for interest in, concern for, and sympathy with Black lives must be answered by the industry. The ADC Theatre is proud to have recently staged a number of plays by BAME playwrights, including Danai Gurira’s The Convert and Arinzé Kene’s God’s Property, but we recognise that we have further still to go. We would therefore like to take this opportunity not only to state our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but also to share some of the resources we are consulting and suggestions for where to send material support. We recognise that words can only go so far, and that both education and donation are vital to the movement.
We would like to point to and take inspiration from the excellent work of BAME theatre companies such as Eclipse and Cambridge’s own Bread Film and Theatre Company, as well as the following educational resources:
The National Theatre’s Black Plays Archive, an online catalogue for the first professional production of every African, Caribbean and Black British play produced in Britain.
The Eclipse Report, a 2001 report on developing strategies to combat racism in theatre.
‘Black British Theatre: 1950-1979’, an article by Natasha Bonnelame for the British Library.
‘Directing The Black Jacobins’, an article for the British Library in which Director Yvonne Brewster recalls how her groundbreaking production of the play in 1986 contributed to the development of Black British theatre.
The Runnymede Trust, Publications & Resources, a collection of accessible papers addressing key race equality challenges for public policy and public debate.
The Institute of Race Relations, Briefing Papers & Reports, a collection of free downloadable briefing papers and reports on race and racism in the UK.
Finally, in normal circumstances, we would have been looking forward now to the end of student exams and to the opening night of the famous Footlights International Tour Show. If you are able, we would like to ask you to consider donating what you might have spent on a ticket or round of drinks at our bar to the Black Lives Matter movement or to one of the following UK organisations:
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to inspire and enable them to succeed in the career of their choice.
Resourcing Racial Justice, which is raising funds to provide financial investment for communities and organisations to redress the impact of COVID-19 and systemic racism on communities of colour in the UK.
The Runnymede Trust, which works to challenge race inequality in the UK through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement.
The Institute of Race Relations, which carries out investigations into pressing issues of contemporary racism in the UK, including police racism and deaths in custody.
The Black Training and Enterprise Group, which delivers programmes for young BAME people, conducts research, operates as a learning partner for funders and provides a voice to government for BAME organisations.