Wales theatre industry joins forces with BECTU to increase BAME workforce

18 June 2019

26 Welsh theatre organisations back the initiative with further support from the Department for Work and Pensions.

More than 25 theatres and arts organisations across Wales are joining together with backstage union BECTU to address the under-representation of BAME people in the industry’s workforce. The organisations include the Wales Millennium Centre, the Welsh National Opera, National Theatre Wales and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, along with key educational establishments the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Dept of Drama, Dance and Performance at the University of South Wales.

On Tuesday 18th June BECTU is gathering the industry at the Senedd with Deputy Minister for Culture Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Casualty actor Suzanne Packer, BECTU President Dr Ann Jones and others to launch the union’s Theatre DIversity Action Plan. The plan is a step-by-step guide for employers to help them address under-representation of BAME workers in their workforce. It was developed by the union over two years involving discussions with the union’s black members’ committee and experienced theatre reps to establish how theatres hire their workforces in practice and then developing a route to help them achieve a fair and transparent recruitment procedure.

But the union recognises that even the best recruitment procedures will fail to bring about change unless the theatres are able to attract applications from BAME candidates. So BECTU has created a partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions in which the jobcentres will play an active part in assisting the employers to source BAME applications.

BECTU diversity officer Janice Turner, who developed the Action Plan, has highlighted surveys a decade apart that both show the high level of race discrimination against BAME job applicants in many industries – a key reason for the greater level of BAME unemployment. Many theatre roles are not advertised widely so this intervention will help to bring new opportunities to people who would otherwise have missed out.

The union is also reaching out to BAME-led organisations with the intention of ensuring that BAME people working in the arts get to hear about any vacancies and opportunities for casual work in theatres.

BECTU learning and development manager, Wales Siân Gale, who has led the initiative in Wales, commented: “We’re delighted to work with employers, our members, BAME communities and support organisations to improve diversity in the creative industries. The BAME population in Wales is almost 5% and in Cardiff approaching 16%, therefore by not employing BAME people theatres and arts organisations are missing out on a wealth of creative talent across the craft, technical, production, administrative and other exciting behind the scenes roles in what is a growing, dynamic and global sector”.


Notes to Editors

Welsh employers backing the plan:

Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Arad Goch
Ballet Cymru
Be Aware Productions
Borough Theatre, Monmouth
Cardiff Theatrical Services (CTS)
Chapter Arts Centre
Everyman Theatre
Fio Theatre Company
Learning Links International
Memo Arts Centre, Barry
National Theatre Wales
New Theatre, Cardiff
The Riverfront, Newport
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Rubicon Dance
Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
St David’s Hall, Cardiff
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru
Theatr Iolo
Theatr Clwyd
Torch Theatre, Milford Haven
Dept of Drama, Dance and Performance, University of South Wales
Wales Millennium Centre
Welsh National Opera

BECTU, a sector of Prospect Union, is the UK’s media and entertainment union, representing more than 30,000 staff, contract and freelance workers in creative industries including broadcasting, cinema, film, digital media, independent production, leisure, IT and telecoms, theatre and the arts.

BECTU aims to protect jobs, win new recognition agreements, improve pay and conditions of service. Services to BECTU members include:

* Negotiating pay, conditions and contract with employers
* Personal advice and representation
* Training support and courses
* Networking events and career development opportunities
* Benefits and services, including low cost legal services and insurance

Further information about the union is available at:

For further information, contact the BECTU Communications Team on 020 7346 0900 or email