COVENTRY’S Belgrade Theatre has scooped a prestigious award for promoting diversity.
The city centre theatre’s commitment to improving diversity across all aspects of its work – including in its workforce, communications and programming – was recognised at the glittering UK Theatre awards in London.
The theatre’s associate director, Justine Themen, and director of communications, Nicola Young, went to London’s Guildhall to accept the award, which was judged by a panel of theatre and industry experts.
Over the past year, the Belgrade has increased the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in its workforce as well as offering work placements and internships as a platform for young people starting a career in the theatre industry.
In last year, the organisation also recruited a full-time audience development assistant, who acts as the theatre’s main representative for engaging with and attracting diverse audiences.
The theatre also runs a free ten-week playwriting programme, Critical Mass, which aims to develop writers from BAME backgrounds – giving a voice to under-represented communities and telling stories that bear witness to the city’s diverse communities.
Welcoming the award, Justine Themen said: “Theatre and the arts play a crucial role in building understanding across difference, and promoting community cohesion, something that is all the more important in the light of the challenges that the UK faces post-Brexit – so we are particularly pleased to have been presented with the UK Theatre Award for the Promotion of Diversity in this year, 2016.
“We will continue to build on these strong foundations to ensure that the Belgrade Theatre is a home to all the communities of the City of Coventry.”
The annual UK Theatre Awards are voted on by industry experts, and seek to support the arts by promoting excellence, professional development, and campaigning to increase audiences.