An open letter to the theatre industry from the Black British Theatre Awards

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THE BLACK British Theatre Awards (BBTAs) are calling to our peers in the British Theatre industry to collectively acknowledge the lack of diversity and institutional racism within our sector and commit to implementing real change. 

These are truly unprecedented times and the deep significance of this must not go unnoticed. The devastating death of George Floyd has been the catalyst for global outrage. Communities around the world are unified in demanding action to end police brutality, injustice and wider structural racism. 

The BBTAs stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and are committed to our role in championing black excellence, leadership, representation and opportunity at all levels within the British theatre community. We are firmly focused on the real transformation of the UK theatre industry, as we believe in being the change we want to see.

Everyone has a vital part to play in moving the UK theatre industry forward. It is paramount that we work together to be part of the solution. We are inviting you to participate and be visible in our 2020 BBTA programme to deliver our digital and youth outreach initiatives that will improve representation and impact across the sector. 

The BBTAs aim to lead the way in driving new thinking and inspire change in the following ways:

Digital Spotlight

The Digital Spotlight Series will feature short films, celebrating Black british trailblazers and contemporary innovators. Produced by young black multidisciplinary artists, we will amplify the Black influence in theatre and the wider creative and cultural landscape. 2020 has seen a global shift that highlights the importance of digital, and we are taking the opportunity to ensure this year’s BBTAs achieves global reach and engagement to redefine black excellence in UK theatre. 

Outreach programme 

The BBTAs will host a virtual Outreach Day in October to launch an ongoing youth programme, providing access and opportunity for young black people, aged 12-20. 

This will be a full day packed with workshops, masterclasses and presentations delivered by black performers, creatives and technicians working in theatre. It is designed to inspire the next generation of Black British talent, ignite their interest and affirm the possibility in pursuing a career in different aspects of the industry.

Virtual Awards Ceremony 

This year, the BBTAs will be a virtual ceremony, broadcast online so that it can be enjoyed by audiences throughout the UK and beyond. It will be hosted by Ore Oduba, and promises to be a joyous celebration. We will celebrate the outstanding black british talent who have made an impact over the past 12 months and acknowledge their legacy of those who have paved the way. 

All aspects of the BBTAs are decided by the public. Online nominations are open for the 28 awards categories that will celebrate contemporary achievements and recognise role models who have been an integral part of the evolution of UK theatre. 

Now more than ever we must come together to reshape, instill and empower a fair and inclusive industry. To participate and be visible in our 2020 BBTA programme get in touch with us at info@blackbritishtheatreawards.com

Yours sincerely,

Solange Urdang,  Omar F. Okai and the BBTA Team


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