In light of recent worldwide events that have brought issues around systemic racism and racial inequality through the Black Lives Matter Movement, the SAMTC committee met to reflect on what we are doing as a company to support equality and diversity in amateur theatre. We looked at this in the round, considering not only race, but also age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and socio-economic background.
Before discussing more of what we are doing and plan to do in the future, we must first acknowledge that in the past, we have got things wrong and to those who we have failed, we are truly sorry.
WHAT ARE WE CURRENTLY DOING?
We feel it is important to highlight to our membership and audience everything that we are currently doing to promote diversity and equality within SAMTC.
> In 2017 we introduced an Anti-Discrimination Policy.
> We contact local colleges, schools and youth groups with information about auditions for shows with a view to attracting a more diverse membership base.
> We have held fundraising events for Herts Inclusive Theatre (a charity that provides a vibrant educational programme of theatre activities, projects and performances regardless of ability and background.)
> We currently offer reduced membership rates as well as payment plans for those who need it.
> We offer reduced ticket prices for school groups to attend our shows in the hope of inspiring the next generation of amateur theatre.
WHAT DO WE COMMIT TO DOING?
Although the above is a good start, there is so much more we can do. We would like to include all members as we take things forward, so we encourage you to get involved. If you would like to be involved, please contact our Company Secretary Aditi Sawjani firstname.lastname@example.org
Our initial plans are to:
> Take proactive steps to increase the diversity within our membership – in particular, focussing on our BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) representation.
> Review our audition notices to ensure we include a clear statement about our commitment to supporting and encouraging new members of all backgrounds.
> Put together a Diversity Policy for discussion at the 2021 AGM.
> Invite members to complete a diversity questionnaire to give us a baseline against which we can monitor and measure our progress.
We know such changes to the diversity of amateur theatre will not happen overnight. We recognise this is a long-term commitment to changing our company for the better.
We are striving to create an environment that celebrates and includes all different backgrounds and we want SAMTC to be at the forefront of seeing these changes through to the next generation.