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Michael Salami & Derek Ezenagu in Two Trains Running ©Manuel-Harlan
08.07.2020

Black Lives Matter

ETT stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and everyone fighting against racism and oppression.

We recognise there is systemic racism in our industry, that we as an organisation and individuals haven’t done enough to fight against it, and that going forward our priority is to make change happen. We also recognise that just saying that is not enough. We are committed to listening and working to confront and interrogate our own practises and structures. To creating lasting, sustained change at ETT and in the wider industry. There are so many actions we can take, big and small, that can have a profound impact.

Being transparent and holding ourselves to account publicly is the first step. It’s important we share where we are, and how much further we have to go. With that in mind, we are publishing the workforce data we have available which outlines ethnic diversity across roles employed by ETT in the last 4 years. We have counted each role employed, so if someone has been contracted on different shows in the same financial year or if a show is remounted for further touring/transfers, this has been counted twice. We will share data around gender and disability in the coming weeks.

Our Statistics

Staff: includes all full time, part time and volunteer staff roles on ETT’s payroll during the year

Creatives: includes every creative role working with ETT during the year including: Directors, Designers (Set, Lighting, Sound and Video), Movement Directors, Choreographers, Voice & Dialect Coaches, Fight Directors and Casting Directors

Writers Commissioned: Includes all commissions; full-length, short & digital

Production Teams: includes all production and technical roles including; Stage Manager, Production Manager, Technician, Wardrobe Manager and the Stage Crew we employ for our tours.

Total Personnel: includes every role ETT has employed in that financial year (staff, actor, creative and production teams)

Action Points

While there has been very real progress in the last 3-4 years, our statistics show that there is significant work to be done. We are at the baseline of what we want to achieve, and it’s clear that without putting more rigorous and effective structures in place we won’t get to where we need to. We commit to sharing our data publicly every year on our website so that we can be held publicly accountable.

Staff

We produce from 3 – 6 shows a year, all in co-production with different venues across the UK, as well as a number of other projects. We have a small core staff team so statistics can change quite significantly with members of staff joining or leaving. Our executive team is two people who are both White. Our management team is two people, one is White and one is Asian. 

Ethnic diversity in our core staff team is mostly in junior roles. In recent years we have focused on being a training organisation, and have had a significant number of Black and ethnically diverse staff, who joined the company in entry-level roles, go on to successfully secure permanent roles at other cultural organisations. However, while this is an important function for organisations of our size, it’s clear that we need to make the culture within ETT more open and inclusive, as well as create further opportunities internally, to retain diverse talent and carve clear pathways to senior roles within the company.      

Artists

We want to and we will commission more Black artists. While the percentages of Black actors, creatives and commissions that we work with have improved significantly over recent years there are a few things we must note. Firstly, we have a long way to go if we’re to balance a history that has been predominately and overwhelmingly white. Secondly, that alongside commissioning and making Black-led work, we have to invest more in making our work accessible to Black audiences.

Making touring accessible to all is essential to ETT’s identity and future. We strive to make touring an enjoyable, creatively and socially fulfilling experience for all but we recognise that there are specific barriers that can make touring a less positive experience for Black artists, and we must break these down. We need to look at and interrogate every step of the process of making and touring work and ask difficult questions about what we are currently not doing or getting wrong. We are in the process of creating a paid, advisory panel of Black artists, who have toured with us previously and asked to be involved in this work. We will publish all the learning and action points, and commit to working with other touring companies to create a shared code of conduct and new industry standards. This work will include:

  • Overhauling our accommodation and digs system to ensure every artist feels safe and comfortable on tour, and any specific needs they may have, in relation to their protected characteristics, are met.
  • Commit to only touring to venues willing to sign-up to a shared action plan for audience development and inclusive ticketing initiatives, that have equality and representation at their core.
  • Provide bespoke professional support throughout rehearsals and whilst on tour to black actors and artists when they are working on productions that require them to draw on lived experiences of racism and trauma.
  • Provide all ETT and tour staff with anti-bias and anti-racism training, and strongly encourage all venues we visit to do the same.
  • Create an open dialogue with the venues we tour to about racism, prejudice and micro-aggressions by sharing our anti-racism policy ahead of touring and embedding mutual procedures and practices for both organisation’s to follow.
  • Work to establish a shared complaints procedure and code of conduct that will be followed whilst any of our staff are working with us and on tour at our partner and tour venues.
  • Re-examine and re-write contracts to put anti-racism and representation at their centre. Whilst a commitment to ethnic diversity is written into our co-production agreements and creative contracts, it does not go far enough in drawing up tangible parameters in relation to positive action. We will examine, re-work and implement these parameters by which we can hold ourselves and our partners to account if not met, and give clarity to and empower the freelancers we employ who recruit creative and production teams.

This list is not exhaustive, it’s just the beginning, and going forward we will do everything we can to ensure our Black and ethnically diverse artists feel supported and safe and are able to fulfil all of their potential.

Production and Technical

Statistically this is the area of least representation in our workforce and across the creative industries. We are a long way from representation in these areas and it points to a widespread and profound lack of diversity across the industry in these roles. We will make this an area of priority for ETT and have started to reach out to organisations to begin this work. We don’t know how we’re going to do this yet but we do know that as a national touring company that regularly visits 25 – 35 venues each year, we have the responsibility and potential to make change happen. Every tour will be a chance to meet, listen to and provide opportunities for new diverse talent across the country.

We recently ran a scheme to create new pathways into production management with MGC Futures. ETT will continue with this programme and re-focus it as an opportunity for Black, ethnically diverse and under-represented talent. Alongside this we will work to have trainee production roles on every production, and partner with venues to create opportunities for school and higher education leavers.

Conclusion

We share these statistics and initial action points so that we can be open about where we are and how much further we have to go. But we know that statistics are static, they don’t reveal the day to day experiences, how decisions are made and where power lies in our organisation and the work we have to do to change that. Equality and equity are essential to ETT and the industry we want to be a part of. We must be representative of the nation we serve and the city we’re based in. We must help to build a future that is inclusive and just.

This statement has been written by all the staff at ETT. We have all committed to the actions above and in the coming weeks and months we will release more detail about how we plan to enact this change. It is important for us to state very clearly that these are initial steps to be taken and not an exhaustive list of everything we could, should and want to be doing.