Wac Talks: Diversity
Daisy May is a 2nd year full-time Wac Arts student on the Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre. The Wac Arts Weekender 2018 is inspired by and created with young people. Daisy May wanted to have a different conversation about Diversity. Come along and join her and others to discuss Diversity in more detail. Come and have your say!
Wac Talks: Diversity
Thu 22 March 2018
“Hi. I’m Daisy-May. I’m currently studying the 3-year full time Professional Diploma in Musical Theatre at Wac Arts and see myself on stage in the West End, doing what I love, but I have some questions on Diversity that I would like to share please come along to my talk to speak and listen.”
Hi. I’m Daisy-May. From my name, you’d guess that I’m female, but not necessarily that I’m nearly 17, born and bred in Camden, identify as white British, am heterosexual and don’t have a disability. Neither would you know that I still share a bunk bed with my little sister *cringe*. I’m currently studying the 3-year full-time Professional Diploma in Musical Theatre at Wac Arts and see myself on stage in the West End, doing what I love, but have some worries about diversity as I think about the industry that awaits me.
From my profile, you might wonder why I care about diversity in the performing arts – the odds are stacked in my favour to follow the career I want. There are loads of young, white girls in musicals, which is why I have to dig deeper into who I am and find what makes me, ‘me’. I feel privileged to be challenged to do this at Wac Arts alongside my fellow students, most of whom have very different profiles on the surface, but, really, we all want the same thing. It’s no secret here at Wac Arts that diversity is celebrated, and all of us taking part in the programmes and training feel like real diversity is part of our day-to-day experience. And it works – it helps us recognise our individual shapes, sizes, colours, life experiences, abilities, disabilities, strengths and flaws, and consider how we use them to be better performers, better people and stand out from the crowd, even when everyone looks the same. I know I can’t avoid being judged on first sight – that’s just how humans work – but I do wonder why ALL the things that make me ‘me’ don’t count for as much out there in the industry as it does here at Wac Arts. Why don’t other training centres seem interested in ‘the individual’ and why aren’t West End producers developing more new productions that support real diversity?? Do they think no one will come along to see the stories I can, and want to, tell on stage? Are they ashamed of it? Are we ashamed of who we really are? I’ll graduate in July 2019, which gives me just over a year to make sense of my diversity (my speciality?) and figure out how I’m going to get on and get work when people will just assume everything I have to offer. My worry is that whilst theatre is so preoccupied by race, disability and gender – the things we can usually see – the other features that make up our identities will be ignored. I know I am privileged in many ways, so this isn’t a ‘most under privileged’ contest. I know not everyone will agree with me and it’s another indication of how Wac Arts works inclusively by helping me share my thoughts in this way.
So, that’s what I think and what I’m starting to worry about. If you think you have something to share that will help me work out how to approach my final year, or have some good examples of similar issues that can shed light on all of this for me, (and others in my position) please come along to my talk to speak and listen.
PS – it doesn’t matter what you look like, sound like, or wear, or whether you sit in a chair, stand up, lay on the floor or arrive in a spaceship. You’re all welcome.