PRESS ON COMMON
‘LYN GARDNER: MORE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES WOULD CREATE BETTER DIRECTORS AND SHOWS’
“But as David Loumgair, Founder of COMMON, told me last year: ‘It’s an unspoken thing in the industry that you do unpaid work that builds networks and relationships with venues, and eventually you start to get low-paid opportunities. The unpaid work and those low-paid jobs might lead to better opportunities, but they might not. And if you come from a working-class background, the potential rewards don’t marry up with the potential risks because you have no financial safety nets.’”
GET INTO THEATRE
‘Will being working class impact on my success in becoming a theatre professional?’
One organisation whose work you might want to follow is COMMON, the leading national arts organisation supporting the UK theatre industry to achieve greater intersectional class diversity. They aim to make theatre widely accessible to those from working and under-class backgrounds, whether they’re artists, audiences or communities, and strive for greater equality, inclusion and representation across the industry.
'RACE TO THE BOTTOM’
“The widespread expectation that young people are able to complete unpaid internships, says Loumgair, is one example of the kind of structural barrier that prevents people from lower income backgrounds entering and building careers in the arts sector. And, he says, the psychological pressures created by low or non-existent pay continue beyond internships into early career roles, where wages are often too low to support a sustainable lifestyle.”
‘WORKING-CLASS REPRESENTATION IN THEATRE
STUCK IN THE 1980S’, INDUSTRY PANEL ARGUES.’
“Working-class representation in mainstream theatre is ‘stuck in the past’ and reinforces outdated stereotypes, industry figures have claimed… [arguing] that an 'updating needs to happen' in terms of the stories being told."
WORKING-CLASS VOICES ARE UNDER-REPRESENTED IN THEATRE (YOUR VIEWS)
The Arts Council has always been a massive wealth grab from the working class to the middle (‘Is British theatre guilty of failing the working class?’). As the son of an electrician in a biscuit factory, raised on a council estate, I studied for my A levels at a comprehensive. I have spent my entire life staring at brick walls where other people have found doors.
There is a massive, unacknowledged ‘us’ in this country, defined by subtle clues of language, background, leisure and social activities. If you’re a member of that ‘us’, you will encounter doors. If you aren’t, then you either have to hope that you belong to their current pet ‘them’ or get used to hitting walls. This attitude is everywhere, and is in control of the arts.
‘LYN GARDNER: IS BRITISH THEATRE GUILTY OF FAILING THE WORKING-CLASS?’
“It was the absence of working-class voices in theatre and the lack of acknowledgement of the challenges faced by working-class theatre-makers that led director David Loumgair, who recently revived Abi Morgan’s ‘Tiny Dynamite’ at the Old Red Lion Theatre, to set up COMMON.”