A quick glance at the Australian arts industry will tell you it’s overwhelmingly white. But if you need figures, a 2015 Australia Council report found eight per cent of professional artists in Australia are from a non-English-speaking background, compared to 16 per cent of the general population.
To help combat this, ActNow Theatre has launched a new workshop series for people from culturally diverse backgrounds. Theatre of the Global Majority recognises that non-white people make up most of the world’s population but are grossly underrepresented in the Australian arts scene.
People (aged 18 plus) from any experience level – from aspiring to professional – can join the workshops, which are led by ActNow associate director Yasmin Gurreeboo alongside local artists Valerie Berry and Mahira Hasanović.
“I’m really pleased this is taking place. It is well overdue,” Gurreeboo said in a press release. “As a woman of colour, I want to see people who look like me on stage, on screen, writing books and creating art for our galleries.
“Even now, while I work as a professional artist, I very rarely see people like me on stage. I’m so excited to help create the platform for this important voice of Australian artists, and to find new collaborators and creatives in the room.”
ActNow Theatre artistic director Edwin Kemp Attrill says it’s “shameful” how mono-cultural the industry is. “We don't need more people like me up on stage; we need people from diverse backgrounds. Racism is a cultural problem that requires a cultural solution. It’s created by the stories we tell our children, the stories we hear on the news, the stories we share with our friends: a feedback loop between unconscious bias and social reinforcement. We want to change that.”
Theatre of the Global Majority runs fortnightly on Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm, from July 19 at Level 2, Station Arcade, 52 Hindley Street. It’s free and operates on a drop-in basis.