A group discussing how we can bring people together, increasing venues access to marginalised artists, and bringin those artists into contact with those gatekeepers.

Session called by Sara Hill (Theatre Deli, Sheffield) and Kamaal Hussain (The Thief of Baghdad Theatre Company).

There was much discussion covering old ground of accessibility in the industry for BAME/LGBTQ+/Neurodivergent Artists/Disabled artists.

The call to action was to create space for these people to connect with programmers and venues, especially in cases wheere the artists themselves often don't submit proposals to those programmers/venues, as they don't feel that those spaces belong to them.

The idea is to create a working group, led intitally by Sara and Kamaal, so that a 'joint' offer can be made to bring these comminuties into those spaces. This in turn could be rolled out across all those groups, by recruiting to the forum an artist member, who would act as community outreach, whilst the venues provide space, and contacts with their peers in any locality to meet with each other.

It was felt that this should not necessarily be a pitching session, for particular shows or season programming, but more of a conversation about the types of programmes venues with to pursue, and artists discussing their work in more general terms, such as theme engagement, form and style etc - thus removing the stress of a 'sales pitch'.

There was also discussion about call outs from programmers and venues, and the need for more specificity in those things, as an approach to breakdown a sense of homogenisation of those groups. The forum could be a conduit for that, in providing guidance around the language used in call outs, and the specificity of requirements.

Sara committed to bringing this concept up when she attends Venues North, and will feedback on that.

Kamaal committed to approaching Arab artists he knows, and provding feedback on their views for such a forum.

We are seeking people from other diverse groups to become a 'lead' person for their specialism, who can take on the roles of being a conduit between those artists and the forum. Additionally, we are seeking other gatekeepers who would be willing to offer space/time and contacts towards this endeavour.

For more information, and to get involved please contact either Sara Hill [email protected] or Kamaal Hussain [email protected]