Meera Syal backs Arts Council England diversity spending

Arts Council England (ACE) will spend GBP4.6m (€5.1m) to encourage diversity in the theatre sector. The money will be channelled through ACE’s Sustained Theatre and Change Makers programmes.

GBP2.1m will go towards creating and touring new plays by Black and minority ethnic theatre makers. Five companies will receive funding: Talawa Theatre Company, Bush Theatre, Eclipse Theatre, Tamasha Theatre, and Tiata Fahodzi. The project will be overseen by Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

‘This is such exciting news for audiences and actors, a chance to celebrate and showcase our best talent in some of our best theatres,’ said actor and writer Meera Syal. ‘As actress Viola Davies said when she picked up her Emmy, ‘the only thing that separates us from other people is opportunity’, and finally here it is.’

ACE director of diversity commented: ‘Our investment in Sustained Theatre recognises the incredible talent of Black and minority ethnic theatre makers across England. It’s vital that we see diversity reflected both on and offstage, ensuring that diverse talent is given every opportunity to flourish.’

A further GBP2.6m will go towards the Change Makers programme, which provides bursaries for aspiring Black and minority ethnic leaders to undertake training placements at National Portfolio Organisations and Major Partner Museums.

In total, ACE will spend GBP11.8m on diversity projects in 2016 – an increase on the GBP8.5m spent in 2015.