Black lives are in danger, black stories are unrepresented on stage and black faces are missing from our workforces

A blog regarding the Black Lives Matter movement from WhatsOnStage’s COO Sita McIntosh

Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo & Gbolahan Obisesan in The Mountaintop, designed by Rajha Shakiry and lit by Lizzie Powell
Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo & Gbolahan Obisesan in The Mountaintop, designed by Rajha Shakiry and lit by Lizzie Powell, which will be performed virtually next week
© David Sandison

Since I began my tenure at WhatsOnStage I am proud to say that the team has always been committed to equality, diversity and inclusion both in the UK theatre industry and beyond. In light of recent events we have been watching the reaction of organisations and companies with huge interest.

We chose not to post a statement at that time deciding instead to carefully consider how we could use our platform to support the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK. Personally speaking, I felt that it wasn't enough to simply state our support of anti-racism (shouldn't that be a given anyway?) and that words are great but actions are even better. Also it didn't escape my attention how many organisations that posted support of BLM don't have a single BAME employee on their payroll. But hey-ho.

Thankfully things have moved on since the days I was told (off the record) that I was the wrong "skin tone" to work at a large theatrical organisation, but we still have a lot of work to do. Social media is positively fizzing at the moment but if we want lasting change then that energy needs to manifest itself into positive action. We risk being caught in an echo-chamber particularly on the Book of Face if we simply choose to post a black square to appease our conscience and then move on.

Institutional racism is real in all walks of life and to those that experience it daily, or even occasionally, it sucks. White people who say that they can never truly understand are right – you can't, but what you can do is use your privilege to facilitate change; educate yourself, watch/read/listen then protest, demonstrate or at the very least donate. It can't just be the black community that speaks up and takes action.

At WOS we support Black Lives Matter and before anyone bleats All Lives Matter, we KNOW that! However it's currently black lives that are in danger, black stories that are unrepresented on our stages, black faces missing from our workforces and so on and so forth.

To that end, the team has compiled a substantial guide for our readers, directing them to a plethora of online resources, charities, institutions and individuals enabling them to donate, learn or simply amplify the many voices out there. It will be updated regularly and sit as a constant resource for anyone looking for direction or guidance. Please check it out here and if you have any constructive feedback as to how we can improve the content we'd love to hear from you.

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