Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Towards Diversity: La Boite Unlocked

Last night, La Boite Theatre Company hosted a fascinating forum called Towards Diversity. It linked two areas of current interest in the Australian theatre: gender equity and cultural diversity. Both, of course, speak to one of the leading questions of the forum: What are the forces that prevent our theatres from adequately reflecting the society in which they operate? 

These two topics arise at this time because of special circumstances. On 24 April, the Australia Council released a report on Women in Theatre. It highlighted a very real problem of gender equity within Australian theatre. It's been a much spoken about topic since the announcement of Neil Armfield’s final season at the then Company B in September 2009, at which the sight of a stage full of bright young men, and just one woman, got people talking. The second topic springs from the upcoming appointment of a two year, fulltime Theatre Diversity Associate, to be shared between La Boite, Queensland Theatre Company, Metro Arts and BEMAC, Queensland’s lead agency dedicated to identifying, developing, presenting and promoting artists from diverse multicultural backgrounds. This appointment was one of the top 10 recommendations of the 2011 Australian Theatre Forum to the Australia Council, and is funded by the Australia Council and Arts Queensland. The aim is to increase our collective engagement with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) artists and audiences.

I was joined by Jo Pratt, the Director/Executive Producer of BEMAC, and Kate Foy, an actor, former academic and former Chair of QTC. It was terrific to be able to share thoughts about these areas of concern. Kate has uploaded her contribution to her blog, Greenroom. It's well worth a read. My contribution can be found here.

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