Huge drop in Asian theatre audiences ‘extremely worrying' The Stage reports
17 May 2017
Asian theatremakers have warned that a “severe lack of representation” on stage is resulting in Asian audiences abandoning the arts.
The warning follows the release of a Department for Culture, Media, and Sport report that found Asian audience engagement to be lower than that for both black and white communities, and that it had decreased by seven percentage points over the past 10 years.
Leading theatremakers including Tara Arts artistic director Jatinder Verma have branded the results “extremely worrying”.
Verma said: “This points to the effects of decades of a lack of equitable representation on the stage and media, as much as a disparaging perception of Asians generally in the 'age of terror'. It presents some real challenges for venues, producers, funders, schools and philanthropists to make a concerted effort to draw attention to the centrality of arts in national life for everyone, not least Asians.”
Verma added that theatre companies such as Tara can respond by creating more work that ensures Asian audiences see themselves represented on stage.
He added: “But in the increasingly strained funding climate, placing this burden exclusively on Asian arts organisations will not change the grim national picture. We all need to appreciate that your story is also mine.”