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Liverpool branch hits headlines at ARC 2017

23 May 2017

Liverpool & District General Branch is once again in the headlines, winning support for our motion on socio-economic mobility and demanding action on other issues including a motion condemning regional theatres for holding auditions and rehearsals in London.

Both of these motions gained full coverage in The Stage magazine (see below for links to each story in The Stage)

Proposing our motion on socio-economic mobility, Stephanie Greer, branch chair said socio-economic bias was a "problem raised repeatedly" by members.

She said: "It is commonplace for the big stars of our industry to be from wealthy backgrounds, but at a time when we should have bridged a gap between rich and poor I have seen it widen enormously. Given the current political climate, I have concerns this will only get worse," she said.

"Young actors from Liverpool, for example, are struggling to afford to train, they face a prejudice when working professionally and have little in the way of role models, as those at the top of our profession are increasingly from a background far removed from a world these young people know.

"We are asking for equal focus to be given to helping all social backgrounds to be represented in our industry, with an emphasis on the financially disadvantaged members of our society."

 Liverpool branch treasurer Martin Williams said: “We are worried that we are in danger of becoming an industry for elites and people who have a private income.”

In a separate motion condemning regional theatres for holding auditions and rehearsals in London, Stephanie Greer said: 

 “Two years ago we brought a similar motion to the ARC and since then the Liverpool Everyman Playhouse has held castings and has rehearsed its current season in its city, as has Storyhouse in Chester, which are companies that previously did not.

“I was astonished to learn that Keswick Theatre by the Lake had this year changed its casting and rehearsal policy in a way that negatively impacts on actors living outside London, not to mention the economy of Keswick.

“This goes to prove it is absolutely vital that we as a union monitor the behaviour of theatres and hold them to account.”

She added: “Casting and rehearsing productions solely in London discriminates against those actors living outside our capital and feeds an already London-centric economy.”

Coverage in The Stage

Equity ARC 2017: Class bias in theatre will lead to ‘industry of elites’

Equity ARC 2017: Members damn London rehearsals for regional shows

You may also want to read coverage in The Stage of the House of Lords inquiry into the way in which theatre is still dominated by white, rich people. At this link:

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