I am a theatre maker, writer, performer, and currently Creative Fellow at Birmingham University’s Shakespeare Institute.
As a white, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle class woman my privilege is huge. And although women are still less represented at higher levels, I see many people like me in the theatre industry. If my privilege is a sort of 'absence of difficulty’, it’s easy for me to forget the importance of representation.
But I was recently reminded of its power whilst watching Hamlet played by a woman in her thirties at Leeds Playhouse. Seeing ‘someone like me’ in that role connected me with Hamlet's mental distress in an entirely new way. As many of us do, I struggle with depression and I heard ‘Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt’ as if for the first time; I felt utterly understood and less alone.
Broader, better representation of all minority groups in art and culture means more people feel heard, understood and less alone.