Plank Magazine today posted a letter by local theatre-goer David C. Jones which posits that our local theatre scene doesn’t accurately reflect the inherent cultural diversity of the city. Mr. Jones goes further to suggest that the lack of actors from non-white backgrounds could constrain the growth of our theatre industry:
Young, diverse high schools students do a field trip to see a show at The Arts Club or wherever. They see an all white cast and no matter how much they are captivated or intrigued by the thought of acting and getting training – they figure – why spend the money for training since I won’t get cast anyway since the theatre is a mostly exclusively white career choice. Then a theatre company tries to cast diverse but there are no trained diverse actors.
The article also reprints an letter sent from Mr. Jones to VancouverPlays.com which continues the discussion. An quick exerpt:
If one of the jobs of theatre is to hold a mirror up to society, then I don’t know what society they are reflecting because it is not like any I have seen anywhere in Greater Vancouver.
What do you think? Do we have a responsibility to our city to be better representing it demographically? Should our companies be choosing racially diverse material reflective of our cultural growth? Or do artists only have a responsibility to produce material reflective of their own tastes and backgrounds?
There’s some great must-read letters about this being reprinted at VancouverPlays.com too…