Thursday, 11 February 2010

Writing a Race?

Here at Golden Delilah head quarters we are working very hard on our new spring production 7:1 Beyond Control. We are working with 7 prestigious writers and as we produce new writing which promotes strong female roles we are pleased to be working with writers that share our aims.

But a question of race in relation to theatre has arised. It is funny that theatre in the UK still reverts to stereotypes. I have often attend shows at well know theatres and noticed that whenever the subject matter of the play has anything to do with middle/upper class the characters are always white even though the text does not make any reference to race. Whenever there are issues regarding inner city 'urban' street life the characters are predominately black even though the text has no reference to race.

The first port of call would be to scrutinise the writers background, culture and assume that this is a valid reason for the sterotypes within their play. ERRRRRRRR NO. This is not the case. Unfortunately post colionalism still rears it's ugly head.

As a soceity, we are constantly being put into boxes eg. White upper class man, Council estate working class black girl etc. These boxes are made evident to us from a young age and restrict all members of soceity to develop and change as for most of the UK population, these boxes is all we know, hence why we still get the same set up in theatre.

Why is it whenever there are roles of high professional positions such as Judges, Bankers and CEO's they are always cast as White? Black/Asian and Mixed Race people do also work within these positions......... why is this not acknowledge?

Tom Stoppard is a brilliant writer and his plays are very witty yet constanely performed by white Actors. Is it so unimaginable that there are black people that are actually upper class, enjoy reading Readers Digest and attending the theatre?

Is it so unimaginable that there are white people who talk in south london slang and are also within gangs that carry knifes?

Ok so i'm being a little bit raw, however these things need to be said. When it comes to theatre and race I think we are so use to brushing it under the carpet and pretending nothing happend. This is the problem that theatre faces, until we start to ask these questions nothing will change.

I know what you may be thinking...........there are loads of ethnic people on stage on TV for example Lenora Crichlow in Being Human.

Newsflash, Lenora Crichlow is a talented MIXED race actress, she is of MIXED race heritage. There is a difference between white and black, Asian and Oriental and Black and Mixed race.

We should acknowledge this difference but not focus on it. We should be looking at a future in theatre where, it should be about the story and not the race. So that a black woman can be the love interest of a white man without the focus being on race but more about the relationship between a man and a women.

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