Diversity initiatives for UK theatres

Diversity and Inclusion Resource Library

Projects followed by an asterisk have either been run, supported financially, or provided with resources and promotion by UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT).

Our directory of resources is not definitive. We welcome feedback and additional contributions; please email ukt@soltukt.co.uk.

We have produced a report which sets out SOLT and UK Theatre's current initiatives for improving diversity and inclusion within UK theatres. 

In 2021 we made revisions to both the SOLT and UK Theatre Board Articles of Association, to make the structure of the Boards and election processes more inclusive and give us the flexibility to improve diverse representation at future elections.

The list below outlines some more of our current and past initiatives:   


  • 5 steps to diversify your hiring practises: Filming in England have provided some actions you can take to help diversify your hiring practises
  • Audience Diversity Academy: Helps you and your organisation build long-term relationships with new audiences
  • Armstrong Cameron: Research, evaluation and project development in the arts and culture sector, with a focus on socially engaged practice, issues of equality and social justice

  • Artistic Directors of the Future: Creating change at leadership level in the creative industries  
  • Backstage Niche: A community of technical and backstage theatre freelancers who aim to encourage the involvement of young people in theatre as well as supporting freelance theatre professionals from global majorities
  • Black Ticket Project: An initiative creating cultural access points for Black young people across England
  • Breakthrough: Building Inclusive Organisations: helps leaders and senior management teams understand and overcome barriers to move their organisation on, shift mindsets and enable cultural transformation and growth.
  • Brilliant Routes: Clore Leadership Programme: A strand of programming focused on progression routes for ethnically diverse leaders.  This forms a key part of Clore's Inclusive Leadership delivery for Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership programme, which prioritises activities to address existing gaps in diversity in the leadership of culture

  • Centre Stage (2016): Report commissioned by Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation highlighting inequalities in the sector, and making recommendations for improving the situation

  • Centre Stage (2021): Report commissioned by Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation on drama school diversity

  • Common Purpose: Streetwise MBA: A programme for leaders who want to be more inclusive

  • Creative Access: Helping under-represented communities enter the creative industries and thrive  
  • Creative Mentor Network: Break The WallTrains industry professionals in small businesses in coaching and creating an inclusive culture  
  • East Asian Ticket Club: Social media engagement platform to encourage and increase East Asian participation across the arts in the UK 
  • Gendered Intelligence: A registered charity that exists to increase understandings of gender diversity and improve trans people's quality of life.  
  • Green Park: Specialist recruitment consultants recruiting diverse and inclusive workforces

  • Freedom of Expression Report (2020)This ArtsProfessional survey gathered evidence about the pressures to self censor that artists and arts professionals experience in their working lives, and the ways in which they feel their freedom of expression is curtailed
  • Inc Arts Unlock: Gives arts organisations practical steps to take anti-racist action, and comprises over 100 actions to help creative work places become more inclusive
  • Jerwood Arts: (Team) Work In Practice: Collective insights, ideas, and challenges to drive socio-economic inclusivity in your organisation: For employers and decision-makers in the arts and cultural sector, as well as policy-makers, funders, and all those who are interested in understanding what inclusion means in practice
  • MENA Arts UK: An arts organisation for UK-based professionals who are connected to the MENA+ region (Middle East, North Africa and the surrounding area) - their website features a directory of creatives and technicians from the MENA region

  • Parents and Carers in Performing Arts*: Best Practice Charter Programme: Tools and resources to help you work towards attracting and retaining a more diverse and flexible workforce

  • Race in the Workplace: The McGregor-Smith Review: A review of issues faced by businesses in developing ethnically diverse talent in the workplace

  • Socio-Economic Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts: A Toolkit for Employers (2019): Jerwood Arts and the Bridge Group joined forces for this Toolkit, to support long-term change across the arts sector and encouraging take-up of an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion

  • Socio-Economic Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit: Creative Industries (2021): A practical toolkit to ensure you are adopting an inclusive approach to hiring and progressing staff from low socio-economic backgrounds

  • Spot The Gap: Offer diversity, equality and inclusion strategy, action plans and training as well as advocacy, policy and campaigns strategy for social inclusion issues

  • Stonewall: A beginner's guide to pronouns and using pronouns in the workplace: A blog designed to support staff working within diversity and inclusion roles, looking to better implement understanding and usage of pronouns in the workplace.

  • Stonewall: Getting started with trans inclusion in your workplace: Key actions on trans inclusion to help to create a workplace where trans employees feel free to be themselves and have the confidence to thrive.

  • Straight for Equality: Guide to being a trans allyThis guide will help you learn more about what transgender means, develop competency around talking about the issue, become better informed about the challenges that many trans people face, and know specific ways that you can be a strong trans ally.

  • The Audience Friend: Facebook page connecting theatre with people who either never or rarely consider arts events when making choices for their free time
  • The British Blacklist: An online platform which celebrates African and Caribbean creative professionals on the Screen and Stage, Sound and Literature
  • The Other Box: An award winning diversity and inclusion company educating businesses on bias
  • Theatre Diversity Action Plan*: BECTU's plan includes a guide for employers to give them the ability to identify what can be done in their own theatres. Steps include: carrying out an accurate assessment of the current workforce, setting targets and improving recruitment processes
  • Tonic Theatre: Supporting the arts to achieve greater gender equality and diversity

In relation to the artistic companies listed below, we have focused on National Portfolio Organisations as a starting point. We have tried to get a good spread of companies from around the country, not just London. We have highlighted Black British theatre, British East Asian theatre and South Asian theatre as they have the largest representation of theatrical work from the last few years. We know there will be more organisations, and more groups, who we can represent.

Researching this list has raised some interesting questions for us: what defines a diverse organisation? Some organisations have specific remits and artistic objectives embedded in their values and mission statement. For example, some are focused on presenting work by Black voices, or presenting traditional East Asian stories. Some organisations take an inclusive approach to reflect the stories of their diverse communities on stage. Some organisations have Black, Asian or ethnically diverse leaders at their helms, and others have diverse workforces (see this Arts Council England guidance on defining ‘diverse led’ organisations).

Black and Black British Theatre and Resources
  • Afridiziak: Afridiziak Theatre News is a website celebrating African-Caribbean theatre
  • Alt A Review: An independent print and digital publication pushing the diversity and inclusion agenda across the arts
  • Bernie Grant Arts CentreTottenham-based arts venue developing culturally diverse artists, and championing Black artists telling their own stories
  • Black Association for Arts: A network of Black writers, artists, academics, filmmakers, musicians, scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, theatre-makers, students and professionals who aim to elevate Black creativity through community
  • British Library - Black British Theatre 1950 – 1979: Article introduces several of the most important black playwrights of the period and describes the context in which their plays were staged
  • Blackstage UK: A documentary web series centering black voices in the UK Arts and Entertainment industries
  • Eclipse: UK-based black-led touring theatre company    
  • National Theatre - Black Plays Archive: An online catalogue of the first professional production of every African, Caribbean, and Black British play produced in the U.K   
  • National Theatre - Black Plays 1976-2014: Google Arts & Culture online exhibit  
  • Raising the Bar: 100 Years of Black British Theatre and Screen: Lenny Henry presents a radio series on BBC Sounds
  • Talawa Theatre: UK-based black-led touring theatre company
  • Tangle: A touring theatre company championing African and Caribbean artistic excellence
  • Tiata Fahodzi: The UK's leading British African heritage contemporary theatre company
  • The Anti-Racist Social Club: A registered charity that works to create spaces and resources for education and open dialogue with White people and non-Black people of colour about becoming anti-racist allies
  • The New Normal: A manifesto to create a safe space, free of racism, for the black artist. Created by Fuel Theatre's community of freelancers
  • Utopia Theatre: A Sheffield-based company that produces cross-cultural content that enhances the value of the African community and promotes its recognition and its integration
British East Asian Theatre and Resources
  • BEATS (British East Asians in Theatre and on Screen): A not-for-profit advocacy organisation, including a comprehensive listing of British East Asians working in the screen and stage industries
  • Chinese Arts Now: Producing work that explores Chinese themes, stories and art forms, and work that blends Chinese and other contemporary art forms
  • Exit Pursued by Panda: A collaborative theatre company championing East Asian writing, acting and directing
  • Moongate Productions: committed to creating and developing projects that raise the profile of, and give free reign to, East Asian talent whilst actively challenging stereotypical portraits
  • New Earth Theatre: A national touring theatre company that places British East and South East Asian (BESEA) artists and communities at the heart of all their work
  • Papergang Theatre: A theatre company with the aim of improving the representation of British East / South East Asian culture across the dramatic arts primarily in UK theatre
  • Red Dragonfly Productions: Bringing classic and modern stories from the East to British and European stages
South Asian Theatre and Resources
  • Asian Culture Vulture: An online arts and culture magazine, founded to highlight and showcase creative work by South Asians living in the West or examine work that is relevant to them
  • British South Asian Theatre Memories Oral History Project: Exploring the history of British South Asian Theatre since the 1970s
  • Kali: Presenting new theatre by female writers of South Asian descent
  • Rifco Theatre Company: Develops, produces and tours new plays and musicals that reflect and celebrate British Asian contemporary experiences
  • South Asian Theatre in Britain: A short essay covering the early 1900s to the 1990s
  • Tara Arts: Creating innovative, politically charged theatre through a South Asian lens and championing South Asian voices and artists, identifying new narratives, new ideas and new forms
Theatre and Resources for Diverse Communities

  • 20 Stories High: Making theatre with working class and culturally diverse young people, emerging artists and world class professionals          
  • Arcola Theatre: Creating trailblazing theatre for all

  • Battersea Arts Centre: The world’s first Relaxed Venue, with access and inclusivity embedded across all its activities
  • Belgrade Theatre Coventry: Together with the diverse communities across Coventry and the region, enriching and changing people’s lives for the better through theatre
  • Beyond Face: A performance company based in Plymouth whose mission is to raise the profile and visibility of People of Colour in the Arts
  • Beyond the Canon: An initiative, led by Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway, championing ground breaking, yet forgotten and hidden plays by culturally diverse writers
  • Bush Theatre: Discovering, nurturing and producing the best new playwrights from the widest range of backgrounds
  • Hackney Empire: A variety theatre for the 21st century that embraces a local and global community of artists and audiences          
  • LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre): Bringing international theatre all over London every two years.

    LIFT stands for radical empowerment and inclusion, and promotes international perspectives

  • Parents and Carers in Performing Arts: Research investigating the impact of caring responsibilities on those working on-stage and off-stage
  • Selina Thompson: An interdisciplinary performance company based in Birmingham    
  • Stage Sight*: Case studies from arts organisations working on improving off-stage representation as well as useful guides and documents
  • Young Vic Theatre: Presenting high quality work at low prices for some of the most diverse and engaged audiences in London
Dance Companies 
  • Akram Khan Company: Embracing an artistic vision that both respects and challenges Indian kathak form and contemporary dance
  • Ballet Black: Aims to bring ballet to a more culturally diverse audience by celebrating Black and Asian dancers in ballet
  • Boy Blue: The UK’s most prominent street dance and hip hop performance company
  • Breakin’ Convention: International festival of hip hop dance theatre   
  • Phoenix Dance Theatre: Creating dynamic, diverse and relevant work that embodies the Company’s rich Caribbean history and shines a light on cultural narratives which are often overlooked or untold    
  • Shobana Jeyasingh Dance: Founded by Shobana Jeyasingh, whose work is noted for both its intellectual rigour and its visceral physicality
  • Tavaziva: Renowned for its beautiful and dynamic hybridization of contemporary, ballet and African dance

  • ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company: Ground-breaking storytellers creating original music and dance to inspire the next generation of theatregoers and theatre makers


this needs content in to work - this will be hidden in the css

Get in touch

32 Rose Street
Covent Garden

+44 (0)20 7557 6700

  • Ecclesiastical
  • Yes Plan
  • Theatre Tokens
  • UK Theatre Insurance
  • Spektrix
"UK Theatre" is the operating name of UK Theatre Association, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, whose registered office is at 32 Rose Street, London, WC2E 9ET, Company No 323204.