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Headlong's Jeremy Herrin calls for Sajid Javid to 'put money where his mouth is' on diversity

Herrin was speaking to WhatsOnStage at the announcement of the JMK Award for young directors

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Jeremy Herrin
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Headlong artistic director Jeremy Herrin has joined the chorus of support for new culture secretary Sajid Javid's call for greater diversity among those attending and working in the arts.

But he has cautioned that Javid, who replaced Maria Miller following an expenses row earlier this year, needs to "put his money where his mouth is".

As part of his speech in Bristol last week, Javid said: "More must be done to ensure that everyone with the potential to engage with our cultural industries has a fair opportunity to do so. And when I say everyone, I really do mean everyone."

Speaking to WhatsOnStage at the announcement of the JMK Award yesterday, Herrin said: "I think it's fantastic that the culture minister is interested in greater diversity and I think it will be brilliant if he puts his money where his mouth is.

"All the organisations I've ever worked with have focussed on keeping ticket prices down and making the work and the opportunities accessible, but there needs to be more government support for that. So I applaud him for raising the issue."

The JMK Award saw £25,000 go to young director Kate Hewitt to stage a production of Caryl Churchill's Far Away at the Young Vic.

Herrin has been working with the JMK Trust - set up in honour of director James Menzies-Kitchin, who died aged 28 - to help emerging directors working regionally.

"It's something I'm taking very seriously as artistic director of Headlong," said Herrin, "to find that new generation of directors who don't necessarily come through London... The work the JMK Trust does across the board for young directors is really important."

Herrin is about to start rehearsals for Jennifer Haley's The Nether, a co-production between Headlong and the Royal Court that opens next month in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.