Theatre Casting Toolkit launched to improve onstage diversity

Theatre Casting Toolkit launched to improve onstage diversity


A Theatre Casting Toolkit has been launched to help make the UK’s stages and rehearsal rooms more reflective of modern society.

Designed for people involved in any part of the casting process – from directors, casting directors and producers to marketers and management – the website offers a set of practical tools, a resources library and reflective ‘food for thought’. 

The Toolkit was developed by Tonic following a commission from UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT), in response to the needs of industry members. Individuals and organisations and theatre companies across the UK theatre industry, including Equity and members of the Casting Directors' Guild, have been involved in consultation and trialling.

Specially created tools on the platform include a complex Tracker spreadsheet developed in partnership with the National Theatre Data Studio, which allows theatre companies to set targets for better onstage representation, record casting decisions and collect nuanced data across multiple productions.

Also available are a checklist for ensuring audition spaces are accessible, a glossary of relevant language and terminology, legal FAQs around discrimination, tips on managing change, a character tool to encourage broader thinking around the casting process, and a ‘what are we watching?’ spreadsheet for keeping track of productions you are seeing and venues you are visiting.

As well as original tools, the Toolkit signposts existing organisations, initiatives and materials, showcasing great work already happening to improve representation in the theatre industry and beyond. These materials are collected into a resource library, which contains everything from a list of legally protected characteristics to instructions on measuring socio-economic background.

Lucy Kerbel, founder of Tonic, said:

‘While there has been much conversation within the industry on broadening casting, conversation alone doesn't make change happen. When UK Theatre commissioned Tonic to create the Theatre Casting Toolkit we jumped at the chance. By creating a hub of resources and practical tools – some designed by Tonic from scratch and others generated by experts from across theatre – we hope to convert conversation into action. The Toolkit is designed to be organic and adaptable, and we welcome feedback and suggestions from users.’


Wendy Spon, casting director and Vice Chair of the Casting Directors’ Guild, said:

‘As theatre casting directors, representation on our stages informs what we do every day and is always at the forefront of our minds, but we can never be complacent, and we don't work in isolation. The Theatre Casting Toolkit is a brilliant resource for everyone involved in the casting process; it encourages imaginative thinking and offers a wealth of tools and information that individuals and companies – large and small – can access in one place.’


Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director at Kiln Theatre, said:

‘I enjoyed being part of the consultation process for the Theatre Casting Toolkit. We’re making progress as an industry but there is always more to learn. In my experience, there are always good intentions to make positive changes in the casting process, but often there are obstacles in the way of carrying this through meaningfully. The Toolkit provides extremely useful, inspiring day-to-day support to make these intentions a reality in a very busy, time precious industry.

Date Published: 24 October 2019
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