My blog has quite a lot of posts about Samuel West (Julius Caesar, On Chesil Beach and Darkest Hour) and Charles Edwards (My Fair Lady Australian tour and Henry IX).

Sunday, 29 November 2015

A selection of recent articles about cultural, socioeconomic and gender diversity

... in the entertainment industries in the US, the UK and Australia.

In the New York Times, Aziz Ansari has written about the disproportionate representation of characters with a range of ethnicities:
"whatever progress toward diversity we are making, the percentage of minorities playing lead roles is still painfully low... at a time when minorities account for almost 40 percent of the American population, when Hollywood wants an “everyman,” what it really wants is a straight white guy. But a straight white guy is not every man."
Click here to read his article in full (via Act for Change's Twitter, @actforchangehq).

Asian American actors performed some of their dream roles from musical theatre in the Changing the Stats: Asian Americans on Broadway concert (2 November, Symphony Space). Playbill has a compilation of clips from the performance. The concert was co-sponsored by the Actors' Equity Association. Christine Toy Johnson, chair of the Association's Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, said that the "concert of dream roles not traditionally cast with Asian American actors was a true celebration and extension of our tenacity in achieving more and more."

Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands) discusses his career and how Asian characters are represented on screen, in an interview on Slate (via @monkeywonder's retweet). An excerpt:
You didn’t think about trying to come back and make it in Hollywood?
"I knew from growing up that they wouldn’t put my kind of people onscreen. There were no decent roles for Asians, much less Asian males. Even when Jackie Chan broke through over here and people fell in love with him, they weren’t really seeing him as this iconic, superstar actor—they were seeing him as this cute, funny oriental dude who spoke broken English and did acrobatic tricks. As an Asian American male, what they were in love with is everything you hate, you know?"

The Guardian partnered with an academic research team to launch a survey about diversity in the creative industries in the UK (via Samuel West's Twitter, @exitthelemming). The key findings are:
  • At least 75% of people working in the arts have a middle class background, which suggests that it is difficult for people who don't have this financial privilege to break into these industries.
  • White and BAME (black and minority ethnic) arts employees have relatively disparate views on ethnicity. 29% of BAME respondents to the survey believed that ethnicity is very important in getting ahead, compared to 10% of white respondents.
  • On average, women earn 32% less than men
More results have been published on createlondon.org

The Australian Directors Guild has proposed a quota for Screen Australia: to allocate 50% of production funding to projects directed by women. The Guild has called on support from government agencies and the ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) to support this initiative (the Guild's press release).
Thanks to Maddy, who is co-creator of Those Two Duffers.

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