Is­abel Ado­makoh Young and Oseloka Obi Na­tional Youth The­atre

Gay Times Magazine - - CULTURE -

The West End ac­cu­rately rep­re­sent­ing queer peo­ple of colour... Is­abel: Un­til there’s less stigma around be­ing queer, we won’t know how many queer peo­ple there are in Bri­tish the­atre, and un­til con­sid­er­a­tions like that don’t hold you back in the in­dus­try. I’ve been en­cour­aged in re­cent years, and since com­ing into the in­dus­try, by the new sto­ries that are be­ing told. We have a long way to go in terms of the spe­cific in­ter­sec­tion be­tween race and sex­u­al­ity, but we’re mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion, I be­lieve.

Oseloka: While there are strides be­ing made to rep­re­sent peo­ple, a lot of the rep­re­sen­ta­tions of queer black peo­ple in the­atre are not nu­anced enough, and there needs to be more of a cul­ti­va­tion of in­di­vid­u­al­ity in th­ese sto­ries. Of­ten black queer­ness is stereo­typed and while there is move­ment for­ward, it needs to be in­tri­cate with those sto­ries so there’s dif­fer­ent shades and colours. Dif­fer­ent view­points of black queer­ness and not see­ing it as one thing.

Solv­ing the prob­lem of rep­re­sen­ta­tion within Bri­tish the­atre... Oseloka: Ad­dress­ing the prob­lem at the root and telling all sto­ries. It’d be down to the writ­ers and com­mis­sion­ing more work. Col­lab­o­rat­ing with peo­ple who will tell more sto­ries that will link to them be­ing more black queer ac­tors in the pic­ture...

Is­abel: And look­ing to the gate­keep­ers. While the same peo­ple are over and over again be­ing put in po­si­tions of power, we’re go­ing to keep see­ing the same sto­ries and de­ci­sions be­ing made. It’s im­por­tant to get an as di­verse in­dus­try and there is an au­di­ence... or po­ten­tial au­di­ence. Even the au­di­ences don’t re­ally re­flect at the mo­ment. And get­ting rid of de­faults. So of­ten direc­tors pic­ture their leads as white or straight or what­ever. That’s just ‘the norm’, but if we can move away from those things, it doesn’t have to be main driv­ing fac­tor they’re gay or a per­son of colour, it can be an el­e­ment of their iden­tity which is ex­actly what it’s like!

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