Accessibility

We feel it is crucial to create an accessible and welcoming environment for all our members. It is also important to us to ensure that our society provides a collaborative theatre space, which seeks to represent a wide range of voices and experiences.

Below you can read our Code of Care which emphasises our position as a committee towards creating a safe space for all our members and outlines how we hope to support you. You can also read our 2020/21 commitments in which we pledge to actively make changes as a society to improve diversity.

If you have any accessibility concerns or questions please do not hesitate to get in contact by emailing accessibility.umds@gmail.com 

2020/21 Commitments

This year, we as the drama society are pledging to include at least ⅓ female led work
whether that be writing, directing or the casting. It is important that we give this space as the work of female creatives is still heavily underrepresented within the industry. A study in 2012 showed that only 36% of artistic directors were women. This has now gone down to 31%, exemplifying that there has been limited improvement in gender representation within theatre in those 8 years. Furthermore, there is still a significant lack of productions written by female playwrights. In the period of December 2018 to September 2019 The Royal Shakespeare Company featured no plays by female playwrights. Likewise from November 2018 to April 2019 only 25% of The National theatre’s productions were written by women. Moreover, it is concerning to know that Women make up just 10% of theatre critics. Ingrained gender inequality is an institutional problem which makes it harder for women to navigate themselves through a theatre industry that is dominated by white men. We want to ensure that the female creatives at The University of Manchester have equal opportunities to perform and put on work to their male counterparts.

To further this, we are also committing to ensuring that ⅓ of our work is BIPOC ( Black, Indigenous, and people of colour) and ethnic minority led across shows, scratch nights and workshops. We feel this is important to support this because it is evident that there is a vast lack of diversity and representation in the performance world. We want to ensure we share a diverse range of stories on stage that educate and open people’s minds to different experiences because the white narrative cannot be the only one told. In 2018 – 2019 the only 10% of writers, 33% of performers and 13% of directors at The National Theatre were People of colour. Again, the lack of diversity in the Theatre Industry is a deeply ingrained institutional problem but this doesn’t mean that on a society level we can’t start putting in the work to change that.

The Stage published a survey this year showing there has been slow progress on diversity in UK theatre. The survey revealed that 92% of top Theatre bosses are white making only 8% of them People of Colour. These statistics themselves are shocking and prove just how fundamental it is to shift our focus towards how we can improve diversity and representation. We as a Drama Society want to make sure that we
give BIPOC and ethnic minority creatives at the University of Manchester the space to share their work, feel represented and welcomed in creative spaces.

Cecilia Alfonso Eaton (Accessibility Rep 2020/21)

Links to surveys/data used:

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/slow-progress-on-diversity-exposed-as-the-stage-survey-shows-92-of-top-theatre-bosses-are-white

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/jan/27/sexism-gender-divide-ingrained-uk-theatre-study-claims

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/about-the-national-theatre/diversity/on-our-stages

Code of Care/Conduct

  • This society is a safe space for all people to join without fear of judgement. We offer everyone an opportunity to be bold and try new things, with this comes making mistakes and things maybe not working out as expected. As a society we are here to support this learning process not criticise it.
  • When you commit to a project you must understand that this is not just an opportunity for yourself you will be part of a team of people all wanting to create something brilliant. If you choose to accept an opportunity from the society, we expect you to fulfil your commitment to your role and do your bit.
  • To all people hoping to direct: although we understand that the standard of work produced by the society is high and that this takes time, you must not place unrealistic expectations on your creative team and cast. We are a university society, and this means striking the correct balance between work and rehearsals.
  • HAVE FUN! All projects should be an enjoyable experience for all. You have your whole lives to work in the professional work and although it is good to pick up good habits make sure that you are creating a fun and friendly atmosphere in your rehearsal spaces.
  • There will be a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of discriminatory or unpleasant behaviour. If we hear of such conduct, we will not permit you to be a part of any upcoming shows for the rest of the year. Contact our Accessibility Rep if you feel uncomfortable or upset due to another cast or creative team member.
  • This year the society will be working with the MHC and SU to ensure we are following all social distancing rules that the university has laid out. We need to trust that our society members will respect these rules. We know that they are not ideal but if our members are constantly caught breaking social distancing rules then we will not be allowed to put on any work for the rest of the year. Given the severity of the consequences we hope you will work with us in this strange time to ensure we can carry one putting on work.
  • You must attend all of your Uni lectures and seminars. This is an extra-curricular society and we cannot allow society shows and events to interfere with your university work.
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