Isabel Adomakoh Young and Oseloka Obi National Youth Theatre
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!