ROUTES IN Aims to Help Working-Class People Achieve Careers in UK Theatre

Out of Joint, Hackney Empire and COMMON are inviting decision-makers in the theatre industry and young people from working-class backgrounds to an event taking place on 4th February 2019 at Hackney Empire.

Artistic directors, senior management teams, board members, representatives of unions and more will be invited to discuss with young people and social mobility specialists how organisations can change their practice to ensure that socio-economic background is not a barrier to people considering, entering and progressing careers in the theatre industry.

Class is one of the most poorly represented areas of diversity in UK theatre; an issue worsening as cuts to arts funding increase and the troubling impact of austerity on economically disadvantaged communities significantly rises.

'The proportion of young cultural workers from upper-middle class backgrounds more than doubled between 1981 and 2011, from 15% to 33%, whereas those from working-class origins dropped from 22% to 13% over the same period.' 'Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries' Research Study, Create London, 2018

Guest speakers at the event will include representatives from organisations who have succeeded in actively supporting more people from working-class backgrounds into sustainable careers in other industries, such as Citizens UK, who ran a successful apprenticeship campaign as part of the 2012 London Olympics.

Cultural leaders and influencers in the theatre industry who work to diversify theatre will also lead sessions on the day. Confirmed speakers include Lucy Kerbel, whose organisation Tonic Theatre has been a leader within the theatre industry, examining its lack of gender diversity, plus Creative Access, who work with organisations to Pincrease the number of BAME employees. Also speaking will be Kate Danielson, Director of Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries, with more to be announced.

Out of Joint, Hackney Empire and COMMON are also delighted that members of Hackney Empire's Youth Forum will be in attendance, taking part in discussions and giving their testimonies on entering careers in the arts when coming from a working- class background.

Kate Wasserberg, Artistic Director of Out of Joint, commented:

"We all know that theatre needs to work hard to represent the society it springs from, but the scale of the challenge can sometimes feel overwhelming. ROUTES IN is a positive, practical event that aims to develop a toolkit of solutions to the inequalities in our industry. We want to get together with our colleagues and commit to real, lasting change."

Yamin Choudury, Director of Artistic Programme at Hackney Empire, commented:

"It's great to be partnering with Out of Joint and COMMON and to begin driving into reality our shared aspirations for systemic change in our industry. We support change that is geared towards a more representative future, and will champion the next generation of diverse and emerging creatives and artists, whoever they are and wherever they come from."

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