Almost 200 actors and theatre creatives — mostly of east Asian heritage — attended this unique event in London on Monday 11th February 2013. "Opening the door" was facilitated by Improbable in association with Equity, TMA/SOLT, Arts Council England, ITC, CDG and the Young Vic Theatre, and galvanised by the British East Asian Artists group.
Up for discussion: how do we end the marginalisation of east Asian actors in British theatre?
An event for east Asian actors had been planned last year, before the casting controversy concerning the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "The Orphan of Zhao" erupted. The British East Asian Artists led an international protest over the RSC giving 3 minor roles out of 17 to east Asian actors for a play championed by the theatre as "the Chinese Hamlet".
As a result, the Open Space day took on a new urgency and drew a capacity crowd attracted by not only the opportunity to discuss the issue of our exclusion from theatre and our own culture but also the chance to find ways to take action and solve the problem. It was thrilling to see so much talent in evidence from an overlooked minority, and we were delighted to see the theatre representatives who turned up taking notice.
It's the role of the revolutionary to make visible the invisible— and you can't get much more invisible than us.
The British East Asian Artists are planning an online laboratory/playground facility at our website for writers, actors and creatives to network and get together to try out ideas — a platform for artistic collaboration from informal readings and experiments to formal readings and performance.
Please join the BEAAs at:
Michelle Lee's report on her session: Who are the gatekeepers?
Daniel York's report: The racial purity pecking order
Lucy Sheen's report: In The 21st Century Why Are British East Asians Still Portrayed Using Prejudist, Racist Victorian Views?
Amanda Rogers' report: What do casting directors actually look for?
Paul Hy's report: Positive Discrimination - Would It Be A Good Thing To Press For?
Full story of the RSC The Orphan of Zhao controversy.
Video shot and edited by Anna Chen