The first question asked was what is Intersectionality?

[I often quote this to help explain the term:

'Intersectionality is a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism etc) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. The concept first came from legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 and is largely used in critical theories, especially Feminist theory, when discussing systematic oppression.']

These were are the comments from the group present:


Deaf actors should be hired to play deaf characters.

With intersection you can be queer AND black AND disabled
- you cannot just have blanket solutions for the challenges of the individual

There are artists out there making these stories BUT they are not on the main stages.

If you don't fulfil particular boxes, you can face challenges of being Arab OR gay, not both.

How do these artists get support?

Hitting blocks at the mainstream.

People should be allowed to explore their identities. Intersection can be cultural AND sexual - giving voice to those people and their stories. Cultural intersection is often missed.

But to counter this: the stories we do see are often "trauma porn." Why can't these be stories about people who just 'happen' to be black or gay etc Why is it just stories about trauma? Where is the celebration of life? The joy has to be seen through the lens of that trauma.

The industry is staked against these stories - they think no one will be interested. Eg: Hamilton the Musical - why is Hamilton so successful? The American Dream myth. Audiences want this - the producers are less willing to take the risk.

Some plays don't translate from region to region Eg A show that is a success in Birmingham, doesn't have the same impact in a London venue.


"The racialisation of risk" - institutions are reluctant to take 'risks'.

The flipside of this: the funding you are eligible for often pressurised you to bring in 'new' audiences Eg The Sikh community

Decision Makers - who and how are appointments made? Their view is often short term gain, not long term investment in an artist. The fear - that certain programming won't bring in new audiences. The work is there. But they are reluctant to programme it unless it meets that specific criteria.

Casting Directors say to say 'I would love to have more black women of your age on my books' but they are limited roles for black women in Musical Theatre. A black professional Musical Theatre performer has said that after her current role on the West End, 'she is done with musical theatre.' She only get offered roles for black parts, she is never offered an audition of Wicked for instance.

Why can't people be themselves on stage?

In 25 years of professional acting, this past year at Edinburgh Festival was the first time I used my normal Midlands accent, otherwise it has always been Arabic.

I'm an actor, but they want me to write and produce my own work. It is exhausting mining your own life for a play. I shouldn't have to do that to be seen.

The problem is systemic. How can you create plays if you don't know/support women of colour. There is never an introspection on the part of the Institutions.

You have to label yourself before you can get funding.

We can only comment on our own issues.

The next play I want to write is not about my experience as a trans man. I want to write other stories. I can get hired to write think pieces about my Identity. But how much can I give of myself? Once again it is 'trauma porn.' Funding shouldn't be conditional on this.

What is the way of getting around Arts Council Criteria? BUT this puts a lot of pressure on the artist to do this! We need to put pressure on the system to change.

Trying to subvert the system, playing the game and then make systemic change from within.

White middle class Artistic Directors have said to me, 'you are black, use it,'

But this fuels the criticism of the 'PC-gone-mad' stuff.

And it is an echo chamber - we're just agreeing with each other.


Labels - when you don't fit into the 'feisty black woman' character. Why is there such an emphasis on this?

Who is writing this work?

How do we put our own identities on stage?

Do I want to fit into a system that just wants me to tick boxes - there needs to be a shift in perspective in terms of content.

I shouldn't have to burn our in order to get work.

The Intersection of Motherhood - our identity in society. Becoming a parent makes you hyper sensitive to the world and how my son will navigate it

Normalizing versus Diversifying

Some people take up too much space.

Accessibility of Drama courses - class was not touched on in the session as we ran out of time

Childcare - there is no childcare funding for mothers on Post Graduate Courses

Schools need to supply bursaries/funding - brings up 'ticking the box' issue again

The Equality Equity Problem - equitable participation


Bristol Company - a Cooperative Model - they have pooled their own financial resources and have a little bit of funding - they spread the costs and the roles within the organisation

But we are performers, not producers.

13P in New Work (13 playwrights set it up to produce each others work)


Open a public dialogue on what ticking boxes means - its value to creativity if at all. Can we break through the box ticking?

Setting up an Intersectional Theatre Festival

Setting up an FB group that exists on-line and also meets in person quarterly, as well theatre trips
Being a pressure group to highlight problems and to make change.
Showcasing people/projects that are being ignored by the mainstream.
Utilising the power of the hashtag.
We settled on #BeyondtheBox A facebook group has been set up, and a twitter hashtag is now in circulation. Please use it. It's purpose is to Amplify Voices.

Create a Casting Agency.


Gatekeepers are the way they are. There is space for new work to be made. We need to make it and support each other in the process.

The next play I want to write is not about my experience as a trans man. I want to write other stories. I can get hired to write think pieces about my Identity. But how much can I give of myself? Once again it is 'trauma porn.' Funding shouldn't be conditional on this.

What is the way of getting around Arts Council Criteria?


You need an organisation committed to deep change to organisational structure and understanding

Writing letter to Big Institutions Eg The National inviting them to D and D next year. Imagine if they got over 100 invites!

Also write to your local theatres and organisations!

Write to your local representatives.

Support each other - constantly feed the chain - and then spread it out

Practice Radical Generosity - no need to be so protective - there's power in the collective. Online and in person.

Individual Power is also very important. Personal Agency.

How can we keep the conversation going outside of D and D? Regular meetups, go to eachother shows, commit to seeing more Intersectional Theatre.

Get on Advisory Boards - Eg Creative Industry Federation

Join the Facebook Group UK Theatre Producers - lots of great resources on there

Having a representative to do all this work - highlighting how this can benefit an organisation

Check out: The Diversity School

Become An Advocate!

Meet Ups can be a place of support, a place to check in with each other

Set up a D and D satellite?

Join GAP Salon (Gender and Performance) at Theatre Deli - a boardroom in Broadgate that we can utilise.


Crowd Sourcing - food, tea, ideas, support

Invite Producers

KASHI - South Asian Women set up a group that allows them to write about ANYTHING they want

Check out the FB group Conscious Casting

See Session at last years D and D