So, on Monday 11 January, we offered a safe and comfortable place for colleagues to have an honest conversation around diversity in the performing arts in Somerset.
Over 25 performers, participants, promoters and venue managers joined us at our office to get the ball rolling and talk. The event was led by Ruth Kapadia, a Relationship Manager for Arts Council South West, with a specialism in Diversity. She encouraged us to explore the diversity barriers in our work and how we might overcome them. Ideas included developing a shared language, training and support needs, and building an audience development toolkit.
We plan to look at how, between us, we can begin to implement some of these suggestions, particularly the role we can play at Take Art about widening the debate and supporting further networking opportunities. Towards the end of the afternoon we welcomed company members from Tangle, South West England’s African Caribbean Theatre Company, who presented their beautiful new commission Steering by Stars. Performed in a township theatre style, it featured a cappella songs that took the audience on metaphorical journey around the Atlantic Circle. The company performed later that evening at the Royal Oak pub in Crewkerne, a great example of how Tangle is building relationships with local communities in Somerset.