When joining COMMON's family as a Patron, we ask these established, working-class artists to write a short comment about our work and what drives them to support COMMON as an organisation. These COMMON: COMMENTS from our Patrons can be read below.
OLIVIER AWARD-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT
"Socio-economic diversity in the arts is a tough fight to fight. It has and continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing theatre in the UK, and our industry is all the poorer for its lack of accessibility and inclusivity of working-class artists.
There were problems, challenges, and impossible hurdles when I was starting out from this kind of background, from a deprived community, but it's only getting harder for the next generation of ferociously talented artists.
I have been so impressed and inspired by the work of David Loumgair and of COMMON, and wish an organisation like this had existed when I was in my early career.
I admire its mission, its punchiness and its ideas. I admire its desire to work with existing companies and venues in fuelling this conversation, and collaborating with them to come up with solutions. I admire its national focus and its commitment to regions outside the capital, working with communities across the UK who have limited access to the arts.
As an artist from a working-class background, I am thrilled to join COMMON as a Patron to support this cause, and can't wait to see what ideas are generated and the progress we can all make together."
SENIOR PRODUCER - KING'S HEAD THEATRE
"'Diversity' is a term which is regularly used in the theatre industry, and across the country people are working hard to create, produce and support theatre which is more reflective of our society as a whole. However, class as an area of diversity has been historically ignored in this national conversation, and by doing so we miss out on collaborating with some incredible artists, learning of deeply inspirational and under-represented experiences, and seeing some truly powerful work on our stages.
If we want the theatre industry to be truly reflective of our society, inclusive of all the communities and classes which live within it, then we must recognise the importance of including socio-economic diversity in this national debate. It is perhaps often overlooked, due to not being a 'visible' area of diversity, however I would argue that it is the area which has the most complicated impact on artist's attempts to build careers in the UK theatre industry.
I come from a working-class background, and was never in as comfortable a position as others around me. Compared to others, it felt like I had to work much harder, or go the long-way round, to be able to do what I was truly passionate about. The barriers never seemed to let up, it was a struggle to get to a point where I knew I could be successful and sustainable. I was fortunate to have access to some generous opportunities during my early career, which helped me reach the position I am in today, but without these I don't think I would be. Sadly, those opportunities which helped me forge a career in theatre are becoming less and less frequent, and this is precisely why I am proud to be supporting COMMON and the urgent work they are undertaking.