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National Theatre host a second Creative Access Masterclass

National Theatre host a second Creative Access Masterclass

mc-speakersFollowing the huge success of their event in 2015, on 9th November 2016 the National Theatre hosted their second Creative Access masterclass.

The evening was hosted by Martin Prendergast, Director of Communications and we were joined by a panel of industry experts; Rufus Norris, Charlotte Bevan,Emily Lim, and Rishi Coupland.

Rufus Norris, the Artistic Director at National Theatre, opened the night by affirming the organisation’s plans to lead the way in diversity both on and off stage stating, “we have to believe that individually and collectively we can all make a difference”. The company currently have a five-year plan with aims to have a 50/50 gender split and a 20% target of BAME candidates throughout the organization, including living writers, directors and actors by 2021.

Praising Creative Access, Rufus also said, ‘”Creative Access is having a huge impact on the workforce and has introduced us to talented and bright people who otherwise might not have found a career in the creative industries. Creative Access has helped us to find some very, very talented people.”

Charlotte Bevan, Creative Diversity Lead at National Theatre, spoke about her role to boost diversity throughout the organisation. She has facilitated discussions and opened conversations about ethnicity, gender, disability and sexuality and she is constantly trying to find ways for improvements.

She encouraged our interns to “be brave and present ideas to your boss, no matter how big or small they may be. Make it easy for them, and let them know that you will do all the work – that way it will decrease the chance of you getting a ‘no’.”

Rishi Coupland, Head of Data Intelligence at National Theatre, spoke about his analytical work and how he analyses the 35,000 audience surveys that are completed per annum to create perfect data, which he claims “helps you to be bold not rash”.

In his view, the biggest change to theatre over the past ten years has been the defraction of the media. The silos that individual creative industries historically worked in, have collapsed and there is much greater crossover between each sector. A great example of this is the National Theatre live initiative, where audiences can view plays not on a stage, but in the comfort of their local cinema.

Addressing Creative Access and interns at National Theatre in particular, he said, “The diversity agenda at the National Theatre is enormously empowering. The effect of Creative Access is both visible and invisible. Creative Access interns have been a brilliant addition to the organisation – they are a group of people who ask really intelligent questions.”

Emily Lim, the Resident Director at National Theatre, spoke of her journey entering into the theatre industry and praised the National Theatre for welcoming her; “My own journey was dependent on that special – but familiar – cocktail of luck and graft”.

She spoke to the room about how although getting her foot in the door may have been the hardest step at first, it didn’t mean her work stopped there. She said, “My job is not to assimilate once I’ve been brought in, but to remain innovative and encourage fresh thinking”.

The evening was rounded off with a Q&A with our interns, addressing issues about diversity in particular.

Rufus responded by saying “we are a national theatre, we are open to diversity. The biggest challenge in theatre, is making people from BAME communities feel like they are invited into the industry”.

We’d like to thank all of our speakers as well as the events team at National Theatre for their continuous support of Creative Access and for hosting yet another wonderful evening.

If you’d like to watch Rufus’ opening speech, you can do so on our Facebook page here.