Guest Feature: Arts Council England to monitor diversity in subsidised theatre

Council welcomes Arts Council England's recent announcement that from its 2015 funding round it will require funded theatres to monitor the diversity of its on-stage talent and will publish the results. For many years the Women's committee and Councillors have challenged ACE to monitor the subsidised theatre field, and artistic directors to reveal plans for implementation of their on-stage gender duties but until now have met with resistance and a certain indifference. This news hopefully marks a sea change in ACE's thinking.

Having campaigned since 2005 for greater work opportunities for older actresses to be in line with opportunities available to older actors, Council calls upon the General Secretary In consultation with the Women's Committee to ensure that not only gender Is monitored by ACE but that diversity includes age. Age and gender are a double discrimination for women, as revealed in the 2009 FIA Report on Age, Gender and Performer Employment in Europe in which Equity played a substantial part, and more recently in Harriet Harman's Commission on Older Women in the Media and Public Life. Equity has contributed to both reports and Equity women are proud to have led the way in calling for on-stage monitoring over a number of years.

"I believe it is essential we link the lack of real gender balance in the industry to the dirth of older women represented in the media, particularly in drama and especially in filmed drama."

(c) Jean Rogers 2014

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