What is A Space For Us?
We will be hosting performances during the run of Duck (on Friday 30 June at 20:00, and Saturday 1 July at 15:30 and 20:00) that are designed to create a space and an opportunity for those of us who are usually underrepresented in theatre – both on the stage and in the audience – to feel welcomed, celebrated, and comfortable. We particularly open this space to those who identify with the lead character in Duck, Ismail – Desi, Brown, Muslim.
The 15:30 performance on Saturday 1 July will be followed by an event with figures from the world of sport and academia in discussion with the playwright on south Asian representation and discrimination in sports and beyond.
These performances are an invitation to all of us who are a minority in white spaces, but crucially, no one is excluded from attending them.
Why do this?
Non-white artists and audiences remain underrepresented in theatre. And, for plays that specifically address issues of race, we believe that the environment in which these subjects are presented is extremely important for audiences who identify in similar ways.
In search of meaningful ways to create positive change in this area, we were inspired by the BLACK OUT performances curated and championed by playwright Jeremy O. Harris, who felt it was important for Black theatregoers to be able to experience sitting in a theatre space where the whole audience looks like them. More information on BLACK OUT performances can be found here.
Playwright and producer maatin said: “It is an objective fact that those of us from minoritised identities rarely make up large numbers in theatre spaces, particularly those who identify as non-white. It is my biggest goal to try and change that. To purposefully create ways to invite communities that have been excluded – whether deliberately or otherwise – into the theatre in a way that is welcoming should be seen as a positive act that I hope will be celebrated. Further, this play addresses complex issues of race and identity with a focus on the present-day British South Asian Muslim experience. This will have a significant meaning to those who can relate to similar encounters in their own lives, and my hope is these performances create a safe and healing environment to explore the themes of the play.”
We follow in the footsteps of many other theatres and productions that have also been inspired to host BLACK OUT and other similar curated performances, and hope to inspire future productions to do the same.
What does minoritised mean?
Minoritised means to make (a person or group) subordinate in status to a more dominant group or its members. It recognises that individuals have been minoritised through social processes of power and domination rather than just existing in distinct statistical minorities.
For example, south Asians are not a minority in the global context. But in the UK, those from particular south Asian backgrounds are underrepresented in almost all areas of society as a result not purely of being a smaller segment of the population, but because of discrimination based on their identity.
We recognise that discrimination and underrepresentation exists across all non-white British racial and ethnic groups, hence our invitation to open the space to all that identify as a minority in white spaces – establishing that white British is the majority, in accordance with Government language and guidelines.
Can I attend A Space For Us performances if I am white?
Is A Space For Us banning white people from attending Duck?
Please read and learn from these articles that address the recent ‘backlash’ to a Black Out performance of Tambo and Bones at Theatre Royal Stratford East:
What about other forms of discrimination?
We are active in our attempts to offer performances and ticket prices that create as much accessibility as we can. Please reach out to the Box Office if you require further information and we will do everything we can to accommodate you.
Duck is playing from Tue 27 June – Sat 15 July. Our full performance schedule can be found here.
Minority ethnic Britons face ‘shocking’ job discrimination (The Guardian)
A guide to race and ethnicity terminology and language (Law Society)
Writing about ethnicity (Gov.uk)