Our ambition is to be a theatre for everyone in this city and beyond.
In order to achieve this ambition, we recognise that we need to continue to take further steps to become a genuinely inclusive organisation where everyone feels represented, valued, safe and respected, whether artists, community, audiences, staff, stakeholders or partners.
In June 21, The Rep wrote its first commitments statement which outlined our plans for accelerating the pace of change towards being a more inclusive organisation as we reopened post Covid. Scroll down to read the full statement.
Here, we update on what we have achieved since June 2021 and what we will be focusing on this year…
May 2022 Update
By the end of 2021/22…
- Our workforce was 33% ethnically diverse. After recruiting many new people following Covid redundancies in 2020/21, we’ve rebuilt The Rep as a more diverse organisation and have progressed beyond 2019/20 levels.
- Our board of trustees was 31% ethnically diverse. The size of our board increased by 33% last year and we improved diversity of age, disability and sexuality. We remain committed to further increasing the diversity of our workforce and board until they are representative of the population of our city.
- Our artistic programme comprised 41% diverse-led performances.
Governance & Leadership
- Our staff, leadership and board have undertaken anti-racism training.
- Our ethical hiring policing is in development and we hope to embed it before the end of the year.
- We have recruited 7 new board members.
- We have expanded our Board Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee introducing independent members.
- We signed up in full to the More Than A Moment Pledge in June 2021.
- We continue to seek dialogue with all past present and future partners who may have been hurt by our decision to hire our space to the Ministry of Justice during Covid-enforced closure.
- We continue to develop, relationships with more stakeholders who are representative of our diverse city. This has led to 12 new partnerships to widen the reach of our work.
- We are a member of the Disability Confident scheme and are exploring bronze membership with National Deaf Children’s Society. You can learn more about our Ramps On The Moon partnership here.
- Alongside anti-racism training, we continue to scrutinise our practices and maintain increased awareness for anti-racism and inclusion across the whole organisation through ongoing training, internal forums and work with various external partners.
- We overhauled our recruitment processes and completed an accessibility audit to embed an inclusive recruitment strategy across the organisation.
- We have supported 4 Kickstart roles and our first ever Workfit permanent appointment in partnership with the Downs Syndrome Association.
- We will be employing a dedicated pathways role to continue to create ways into the organisation and industry for individuals from under-represented communities.
- Since September 2021 we have produced diverse-led work in all three auditoria, including 3 mainstage productions and 1 presentation in The House before September 2022.
- East is East attracted 23% South Asian audiences; Coming to England attracted 46% ethnically diverse audiences.
- We are actively developing a network of consultees in-house and from across our communities to inform our programming. This will be expanded throughout 2022 to embed an inclusive programming process.
- We are investing in a series of engagement pilots with marginalised communities from across the region, including one running successfully in Cannock Chase.
- Lightpost Theatre Company’s funding is sustained until April 2023 and we are actively fundraising for their continuation into 2023.
- Two-thirds of the creative freelancers (actors, directors, designers, etc.) we employed in 2021/22 completed our EDI survey, of whom 46% were ethnically diverse. We are committed to continuing to increase the number of diverse actors and creative teams employed across all our produced work
- We have employed 4 additional roles as part of the Creative Teams of the Future initiative to accelerate diverse creative talent.
Creative Learning Plans
- We have significantly increased our engagement with refugee and asylum groups as part of our commitment to increasing engagement projects with under-represented communities.
- We have successfully fundraised for Foundry #3 which will rollout this year to train under-represented artists to co-create in community settings.
- We will soon begin delivering a planned programme of activities in schools and Pupil Referral Units for young people at risk of permanent exclusion.
- We continue to increase bursary opportunities for care-experienced young people, to diversify our Young Rep.
- We have begun new schools’ engagements in Cannock, Nechells and Solihull.
- We have worked with more than 50 organisations to provide more than 6300 free and discounted tickets for young people and households who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend.
- We have created an accessible space on site to provide drop in and activities for young people living in our neighbourhood. We’ll begin welcoming people to use it from later this year.
Alongside the next steps highlighted above, we have a working inclusivity and relevance plan which will guide our actions for 2022/23. From the plan, our immediate priorities are:
- Following trials earlier this year to develop a framework, introduce Equality Impact Assessment into our decision making where decisions have the potential to adversely impact on specific communities.
- Recruit and embed a staff EDI working group – the board EDI committee has signed off terms of reference for the staff group and we aim for the committee to be up and running by March 2023.
- Produce 3 diverse-led House productions each year.
- Continue to work to widen the diversity of our audience members.
- Clearly committing to our talented freelance population, working together to create a freelance charter.
June 2021 Commitments Statement
We’re proud of the progress we’ve made over the past few years, which in 2019/20, our last full trading year, meant that…
- Our workforce was 27% ethnically diverse
- Our board of trustees was 40% ethnically diverse
- Our artistic programme comprised 33% diverse-led performances
- Our writer commissions (eight in total) were to 56% ethnically diverse writers
- Our artistic associates appointed (nine in total) were 78% ethnically diverse
We recognise, though, that more and deeper changes are needed in order for The Rep to be inclusive and representative of the hugely diverse city that we serve. To achieve that, we are committing to a journey of culture change as we move forwards.
We will change our policies, procedures and practices so that we can better understand and reflect our community’s wishes and needs. The Rep’s community work over many years, including during Covid, is a solid foundation for us to build upon.
We are committed to the ongoing journey and will dedicate time and resources to it as we move forwards. We are also committed to sharing progress and listening to feedback along the way so that we can be sure we are achieving what we set out to do.
As we recover from Covid, we have an opportunity to accelerate the pace of change in some areas and rebuild our theatre as a fairer and more equitable organisation. We want to make the most of that opportunity.
Below are some of the actions we’re intending to take this year. These are not exhaustive but provide a cross section of new and ongoing actions in our mission to reshape The Rep as an inclusive organisation. All are underpinned by targets and are part of a much bigger equality diversity and inclusion action plan.
Governance & Leadership
- Re-state our values to include an explicit commitment to inclusion and anti-racism
- Undertake anti-racism training with our Board, leadership and all staff
- Develop an ethical hiring policy with our conferencing and events subsidiary and joint venture partner Library of Birmingham
- Recruit new Board members to broaden the diversity of perspective in our governance
- Expand our Board Equality Diversity and Inclusion committee with independent members
- Introduce Equality Impact Assessment into our decision making where decisions have the potential to adversely impact on specific communities
- Sign up in full to the More Than A Moment Pledge
- Continue to meet partners to understand what actions are needed to repair relationships with people hurt by our MOJ decision
- Build relationships with more stakeholders who are representative of our diverse city
- Increase workforce awareness around anti-racism and inclusion through training, internal forums and working with various external partners
- Develop an inclusive recruitment strategy to support the recruitment of more diverse staff especially at management and leadership levels
- Amplify and accelerate diverse talent in our organisation
- Create pathways into the organisation for individuals from under-represented groups
- Deliver an artistic programme that places diverse work at its centre across all three spaces including the House
- Develop an inclusive programming process drawing on diverse perspectives in house and from our community
- Invest in a series of no strings attached micro commissions for artists in the city
- Invest in a series of engagement pilots with marginalised communities in the city
- Amplify the work of Lightpost Theatre Company and fundraise for their continuation as the current funding comes to an end in 2022
- Continue to cast diverse actors and engage diverse creative teams across all our produced work – at higher levels than previously
- Continue to commission a range of diverse writers
- Deliver Creative Teams of the Future initiative to accelerate diverse creative talent
Creative Learning Plans
- Fundraise for and deliver Foundry #3 to train artists to co-create in community settings focusing on artists from under-represented backgrounds
- Increase engagement projects with under-represented communities
- Deliver activities in schools with groups at risk of permanent exclusion including PRUs
- Deliver engagement pilot with targeted schools to further diversify Young Rep
- Extend our community ticket schemes to provide more free and discounted tickets for young people and under-represented groups
- Create an accessible space on site to provide drop in and structured activity for young people especially those living in our neighbourhood
- Providing more bursaries for Young Rep targeting under-represented groups
We will share key statistics showing progress across these areas at the end of the year (March 2022): we aim to show continuous improvement and report on progress transparently.
The Rep belongs to Birmingham and we want the city to shape its theatre. We welcome the involvement of as many of our stakeholders as possible in our journey: audiences, participants, staff, artists, partners and