#BlackLivesMatter – A Statement
At a time when Covid-19 is already challenging UK theatres to think about how they need to change to survive the current crisis, the horrific death in the US of George Floyd, the latest in a long line of unconscionable killings of African Americans reflecting generations of structural racism, has sharpened the focus for all UK cultural organisations on their responsibilities to confront racism, to stand up for what is right, and, above all, to listen to the needs and concerns of black and minority ethnic communities, artists and audiences, and to put those at the heart of the agenda for change.
Notwithstanding concerted efforts in recent years to engage with the diverse communities of Devon and to begin finding ways for the voices, concerns and interests of people of colour, people with access needs and the LGBTQ+ community to help shape the Exeter Northcott programme, we’re clear we still have a huge amount to learn as an organisation and a very long way to go.
We also understand that reflecting the diversity of Devon is just a start; as a leading regional theatre we need to be connecting the communities we serve in the South West with diverse artists, stories and experience from across the UK and beyond, and we’re committed to doing that.
Whilst weathering the storm of Covid-19 is inevitably going to be a painful process for many theatres it also presents the sector with a real opportunity to make meaningful and lasting changes that could reset its relationship with the diverse communities that it serves, and at the Northcott we’re determined to seize that opportunity, to stand shoulder to shoulder with black and minority ethnic communities and to play our part in addressing racism and all forms of discrimination.