Like so many people we have been thinking deeply on the events of recent weeks - the Black Lives Matter movement has shaken the world.
We are aware we are experiencing a consciousness and civil rights shift. As Artistic Director and Executive Producer of a national organisation we know that transparency, accountability, openness to questioning and to being wrong is the key to leading well. We want to stand in solidarity with all those who are peacefully protesting and we hear the demands for change from our staff as well as artists, colleagues, supporters and the wider community.
But making a statement isn’t enough. Beyond expressing solidarity, we want to use this moment to tangibly show up for people of colour on our staff team, Black artists, and artists of colour we work with, freelancers we employ and the audiences we want to do better to reach. We will start by participating in PullUpOrShutUp. We will publish the breakdown of our workforce, board, leadership team and artists under commission.
Our role at the National Theatre of Scotland is to tell Scotland’s stories in all their complexity and diversity. In recent years we have made progress in better representing Black artists and artist of colour on our stages and in artistic development but that work must go much further and must include the makeup of our organisation.
We hold ourselves accountable to action on diversifying our workforce. We will seek external guidance on how we can better our recruitment processes, what succession plans or programmes we can put in place to enable more people of colour to rise to leadership positions within our company and companies like us.
These are not new aims for National Theatre of Scotland. We have a stated objective to become a more inclusive institution that reflects the world we live in now. But progress has not been fast or significant enough, so we are taking a number of actions in response.
Our first step will be to do some real internal retrospection, education and training. We commit to becoming an anti-racist organisation We will identify, acknowledge and work to eradicate systemic racism within our organisation. Members of our staff have already begun to set up an anti-racism working group within the company – sharing resources and discussing them, ensuring we are all on the same page so we can do this work. We need to look back at ourselves and understand the impact systemic racism and white privilege has had inside this organisation. We will do that ourselves as individuals and in groups.
We are doing work and getting training to ensure we're able to hear and receive any complaints and issues properly. We do not expect artists, freelancers and audiences to educate us, we must do that work, but we want to open a channel of communication so anyone who might have felt ignored can now be safely heard. While we are setting up a third party process you can make direct contact with a member of our Executive Leadership team: firstname.lastname@example.org
The intention of this statement is to ensure that we are held accountable for the protection, wellbeing and empowerment of Black people and People of Colour who enter this institutional / organisational space.
This is only the beginning and our first steps; continual education, progress, assessment will be an ongoing commitment and journey for the organisation. We must seize this moment to affect change. We say unequivocally Black Lives Matter.