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Andrew Lloyd Webber Slams Lack of Diversity in British Theatre

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Andrew Lloyd Webber Slams Lack of Diversity in British Theatre

Introducing findings from a recent study of diversity in British theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber has slammed the "hideously white" demographics of workers both onstage and off.

Labeling diversity as crucial to the future of British theatre, Lloyd Webber warns, "I passionately believe that the stage needs to reflect the diversity of the UK population or it risks becoming sidelined".

The award-winning composer published his remarks in an introduction to a report commissioned this year by the Andrew Lloyd Webber foundation, exploring the lack of artists of color working both onstage and off.

His introduction to the report states, "if the situation continues, there is real danger that, not only will black and Asian young people stay away from the theatre as a profession, they will stay away as punters. And without them in the audience, theatres will become unsustainable, as they are forced to compete for a dwindling ageing, white, middle-class audience."

The report findings also state that odds are "stacked against minorities in a profession where the default lead is white unless specifically written for a black or Asian actor"; leaving many actors of color relegated to "secondary roles as hoods, hoodlums and hookers".

Webber also stresses the need for diversity behind the curtain as well, adding. "I've been acutely aware that one of the biggest issues is the lack of trained diverse talent coming through. Casting directors and theatre producers alike often complain that they'd like to cast more BAME [Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic] performers, but that they don't get enough turning up to audition."

The report calls for changes which would foster "a more culturally diverse workforce", including "colour blind" casting and more productions of plays by writers of color.

Webber also urges drama programs to make half of all available slots accessible to students from low-income brackets and for funding organizations to offer financial aid to artists of color.


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