UK Theatre’s vision is to see a well-connected and well-supported theatre sector at the heart of UK life, and our Board is vital to helping us achieve this.
Through our 'Meet the Board' blog series, you’ll get to know our Board members better and find out why they volunteer their time and expertise to UK Theatre on behalf of the industry. The Board help to steer and advise on our work – from how to future proof and diversify our workforce, to exploring new models of funding and income generation, to supporting the health of touring and the regional producing and presenting model.
In this, the fourth edition of our ‘Meet the Board’ series, we meet board member Michèle Taylor, Director for Change for Ramps on the Moon.
"I’m writing these words at what feels like a pivotal moment in the culture of theatre in the UK (bearing in mind that a ‘moment’ in this context could mean at least a decade!): as a disabled person, I am starting to become more accustomed to seeing disabled and D/deaf people in audiences, on stages, behind desks, serving me coffee and guiding me to my seat in mainstream theatres; and to hearing my story and the stories of other disabled people being told on those stages.
This is what I am most passionate about and what I have been working to do as an independent practitioner and consultant for over 30 years. I want everyone working in theatre to understand that this is not about ‘access’ (just getting us into the buildings), or inclusion (opening up existing structures so that we can take part) and it’s certainly not about compliance. This is about making our theatre landscape the richest, most exciting, most innovative it can possibly be - and it can't be that without disabled people’s contribution. This aligns exactly with UK Theatre’s aspirations and I am delighted to be able to bring my passion and experience to my role as a Board member.
As Director for Change at Ramps on the Moon (funded by Arts Council England), I have the privilege of being part of an initiative that is pushing this agenda forward amongst the six mid-scale mainstream theatre consortium partners (supported by Graeae Theatre as a strategic partner) and beyond. Staging annual integrated productions which tour to all the partners, and operating through a network for Agents for Change located in each partner venue, Ramps on the Moon aims to normalise the presence and contribution of disabled and D/deaf people in every aspect of mainstream theatre. Each partner is committed to embedding organisational change to effect that cultural shift, and to sharing their learning and approaches. My place on UK Theatre’s board, alongside representatives from other Ramps consortium partner organisations, means that this learning is being fed into strategic decision-making in the industry.
Alongside my work with Ramps on the Moon, I continue to deliver Disability Equality Training and consultancy, supporting organisations to remove barriers to disabled people’s involvement in their organisations. I’ve worked across the UK as well as further afield, including in Sweden, Estonia and the Western Balkans and with organisations such as The British Museum, the BBC, The Department for Education and Liverpool Museums. I sit on the boards of two arts organisations local to my home in Nottingham - City Arts and Red Earth Theatre, and am patron of Scary Little Girls, a small-scale touring theatre company. I’m a qualified psychotherapist and an accredited coach and I am about to finish an MA in Photography. I think it’s fair to say I thrive on variety.
Sitting on the Board of UK Theatre is significant for me since I experience first hand the organisation’s commitment to equality and diversity, and I get to support the great work UK Theatre is doing to ensure disabled and D/deaf people play our rightful role in the industry."
Read the other blogs in this series:
See who else is on the UK Theatre Board here.