Anti-Racism Action Group
Our Anti-Racism Action Group has now been established. Our members are:
November 2023 Update
Zero Tolerance signage wording has been agreed by the group and posters have been displayed at the Box Office, in the foyers and by the bars.
The wording on the Reporting Racism Mechanism has been updated to clarify the procedure once a report has been logged.
Bystander and Conflict Resolution training is to be implemented for public facing staff members. More Anti Racism training will be delivered. The use of ‘dark’ in Marketing materials was discussed.
It has been decided that ARAG will merge with the Diversity in the Workforce Working Group in 2024. This is due to increasingly overlapping content and to accelerate the impact of the work. Members of both groups will be invited to join the new group.
May 2023 Update
The group debated the previous guideline that all interview panels at the Playhouse should consist of at least 50% people of colour. It was concluded that this can lead to tokenism, intimidatingly large panels and a panel which isn’t knowledgeable enough about the specific role. In agreement with the Diversity in the Workforce Working Group, it has been decided to remove this guideline, allowing those appointing panels to apply common sense instead, whilst still impressing the importance of representation amongst panellists.
The Head of Marketing gave a presentation on how marketing campaigns are created and delivered. The group interrogated the process and made suggestions for how to reach a wider audience.
The group discussed increased issues with audience behaviour in theatres and how to implement a zero tolerance approach at the Playhouse.
February 2023 Update
We are delighted to welcome several new members to the group, including representation from public facing roles such as Audience Assistants and Stage Door Keepers. Existing members have completed a survey on ARAG activity to help evaluate the group’s progress.
Following ARAG’s recommendation, the Playhouse Participation department has written a guiding principles document for the wraparound activities which accompany some onstage productions. ARAG have fed back on the draft.
ARAG has contributed to a new document which will be sent to all freelancers working with the Playhouse, outlining our ethos and expectations. It is also intended to begin a dialogue, encourages freelancers to ask questions and outlines resources available.
An update on any activity via the Reporting Racism Mechanism has been added as a standing agenda item.
September 2022 Update
We have continued to roll out Anti-Racism training across the organisation, provided by Included. This has now been extended beyond the Senior Management Team and Board Members to all Playhouse employees.
On the recommendation of ARAG, we have changed how we monitor and record the demographic of our audience. Going forward, this will be captured via surveys only, allowing audiences to self-define.
ARAG have recommended that the documents which are currently sent to Freelance Directors and Casting Directors, outlining the ethos and values of the Playhouse, be expanded and sent to all Freelancers working at the theatre.
The group met with the Director of Participation to discuss the mechanics of wraparound participatory activities that accompany some productions. One recommendation is to create a set of guidelines which outline the aims for these activities, how we decide which productions we focus on and what the activities should be, including who is involved in these decisions.
A Refugee Awareness Training session was run for Playhouse staff.
July 2022 Update
ARAG and the Playhouse’s Diversity in the Workforce Working Group held their first joint meeting in May. They updated each other on their work, shared accomplishments and work still to do, and agreed to meet again in the autumn.
The Senior Management Team and all Board Members have now completed anti-racism training. This was provided by Included and feedback has been very positive.
The group has been proposing ways in which the Playhouse can better monitor the diversity of its audience, in ways that aren’t open to assumption and unconscious bias.
Members have also fed into the documents which freelance artists receive when engaged by the Playhouse, designed to ensure that the values and ethos of the organisation are made clear and signed up to.
April 2022 Update
Sandeep Mahal updated the group on her new role as Leadership Associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The new Reporting Racism Mechanism is now live on the Playhouse website here. See the January 2022 update for more information.
We are organising a joint meeting between ARAG and the Playhouse’s Diversity in the Workforce Working Group.
The Playhouse Senior Management Team and the Board of Trustees are undergoing Anti-Racism training with Included.
January 2022 Update
The group has continued to complete research based on the workstreams mentioned in the last update.
They have also signed off a new Reporting Racism Mechanism. This is for both employees of the Playhouse and the public, and those reporting can choose to do so anonymously if they wish. The reports are received by a group consisting of Sairah Rehman (Chair of ARAG), Natalie Gasson (Chair of the Diversity in the Workplace Working Group) and Neena Sharma (Nottingham Playhouse trustee and HR specialist). This group decides on an appropriate course of action, keeping the person reporting fully updated and involved.
ARAG members have also voted to extend their membership of the group through to Summer 2022.
October 2021 Update
Members have been completing research based on their workstreams (Community Engagement/ Ethos, Culture, Learning and Development/ Sector Strategy and Engagement) and feeding back to the group.
An advisory document for reporting instances of racism is being agreed.
Extending the first year of activity from Jan 22 to Mar 22 has been proposed, to acknowledge slower working processes due to the pandemic.
A short mission statement for ARAG has been written by members:
The goal of the ARAG is to ensure Nottingham Playhouse is an actively anti-racist organisation. We are doing this by auditing the Playhouse’s current policies and strategies; consulting with a representative range of stakeholders; researching and evaluating best practice both within – and external – to the theatre sector. This work feeds in to our ultimate action: crafting and applying a set of new actively anti-racism policies that are bespoke the needs of organisation; the staff, freelancers, audiences the Playhouse engages with; and the wider communities the organisation seeks to serve. We believe in Nottingham Playhouse being a safe and welcoming space for all. Our progress is regularly reported on the Playhouse website.
May 2021 Update
The group has received Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity training.
The Anti-Racism action plan has been divided into workstreams with subgroups leading on each stream.
They have also begun to interrogate some of the existing HR polices in place at the Playhouse, such as Anti-Harassment, Bullying and Whistle-Blowing, and information that new employees receive.
As planned, the group have now moved from meeting every three weeks to meeting every six weeks, to allow for more work to occur between meetings.
We will continue to update this page with the group’s development.
March 2021 Update
This new working group is made up of Nottingham Playhouse staff and trustees alongside co-opted members, who were recruited through an open process.
The purpose of the group is:
To look at the wider culture and environment at Nottingham Playhouse, and to advise the Executive team and Board of Trustees on matters of diversity, inclusion and equality, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that Nottingham Playhouse is a safe and fully representative organisation, which reflects the full breadth and richness of diversity within our community.
In the first few meetings, the group discussed and voted on the name of the group, appointed Chair Sairah Rehman, agreed the group’s Terms of Reference and have debated and amended the Anti-Racism Action Plan.
The Anti-Racism Action Group will initially run for one year (until Jan 2022) at which point the activity will be reviewed and assessed.
Report a Racist Incident
Nottingham Playhouse does not tolerate any form of racial abuse, including verbal or physical, conscious or unconscious. We are committed to keep listening and to engage in meaningful debate in order to make real and lasting changes.Report an incident here