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Theatre is still struggling to include working class


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Campaign group Actor Awareness is calling for Equity to "take a step up" in terms of working class representation in theatre.

Found of Actor Awareness, Tom Stocks is asking for the union to create a committee that will help working class actors by providing more opportunities. 

The difference in audition fees is also being targetted by Actor Awareness. 

During Equity's Annual Representative Conference, Stocks spoke on a panel and said: “I understand that all different committees need to put forward different motions, however get a class committee and we’ll do it for you, we’ll fight the class things.

“I believe Equity needs to take a step up in terms of fighting for working-class talent across the industry, and tackle those drama school fees.”

Stocks acknowledged that in May 2016, Equity said that in would work on drama school fees in a publication in The Stage. 

"We are now two years on and that has not happened. I understand maybe you can’t abolish them, but why does one drama school charge £80 and one charge £30,” Stocks added. 

Stocks has requested a flat rate of £30, with an additional opportunity of a full day wrokshop and adequate feedback after the audition. 

During the panel, which took place dring the conference's lunch period, Stocks commeneted on the low number of attenedees: “I find it ironic that we are here to talk about class, and this room was full half an hour ago, and look what we are now.”

A spokesman from Equity said: “Equity understands Tom’s frustrations on this subject. How the union can better represent working class people was raised in speeches by both president Malcolm Sinclair and general secretary Christine Payne at the conference. This is an issue firmly on the union’s agenda.”

Class within theatre is increasingly being spoken about, whereas before the largest issues were in terms of race and gender representation.

Writing for The Stage in May 2018, Lyn Gardner questioned whether British theatre is "guilty of failing the working class". 

BAME Playwright Sabrina Mahfouz claimed on her twitter that class is currently "the biggest obsticale [...] in UK theatre right now"

When Emma Rice was removed from the Globe Theatre she attributed class issues to her departure in a radio interview: "It’s possibly more to do with class than gender. I got two A levels and went to a comprehensive school in Nottingham.” 

Equity is a UK trade union resprected nationally for the work it does with it's professional and creative pracitionors. 

Actors Awareness is a group dedicated to fighting for more equaity, diversity and working class talent and provides a voice for those in the arts. The group has been esablished for two years, according to their website. 

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