We want everybody to know that they are welcome at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

On Tuesday 18 February, Arts Council England published its fifth annual diversity report: Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case, A Data Report.

This year, for the first time, Arts Council England have introduced diversity ratings for individual organisations and have included the ratings for all national portfolio organisations (NPOs) in this report. The RSC is one of the 50% of NPOs rated as Strong.

We want everybody to know that they are welcome at the Royal Shakespeare Company. We welcome and share the call for greater diversity across the industry, and also call for full reporting of current data that includes the whole workforce.

We have a clear plan to ensure that we reflect the diversity of the UK in our audiences, on our stages, and in our workforce, which is championed by our Board. We are making progress, although not always as swiftly as we would like

The RSC specific statistics shared today are from 2017/18, and, as a result of ACE criteria, only consider around half of our workforce over the course of the year. The statistics are different when all our workforce is included, e.g freelance and contract workers such as actors and artists who are employed for different periods throughout the year and who equally deserve to be recognised for their contribution to our work as our permanent colleagues.

If we look at ethnic diversity our current statistics (2018/19) show that for known data 18% of our freelance and contract workers including actors and artists, are people of colour and people from other underrepresented ethnic backgrounds, not the 3% reported for 17/18.  The figure is 45% for our acting company for the period.

For disability monitoring the report states 1% of permanent staff in 17/18, but this rises to 4.7%, based on known responses, in 2018/19 when all our workers are considered.

This year we have:

  • Changed our recruitment process for Front of House and for roles in Marketing, Education and Development to follow an assessment centre approach. Some of our new Front of House Assistants say they would never have followed a traditional application process.
  • Continued to open the talent pipeline to young people from backgrounds currently under-represented in the arts and cultural sector through our Next Generation: Act, Backstage and Direct schemes.  We have 75 people join us Backstage each year, 24 young people in our current Young Company, and 10 young people engaged in our Direct programme.
  • Welcomed 6 special school students onto a supported work experience programme across different departments
  • Increased job applications and appointments from candidates who are people of colour or would describe themselves as d/Deaf or disabled.
  • Increased the number of d/Deaf and disabled actors working with us from 1 (17/18) to 5 (18/19)
  • Appointed Charlotte Arrowsmith as our first Deaf Associate Artist
  • 45% of actors were people of colour, an increase from 33% in 2017/18
  • Been accredited as a Level 2 Disability Confident employer by the Department for Work and Pensions and are working towards Level 3 status (Disability Confident Leader).
  • Regendered 31 acting roles male to female, and 2 female to male.
  • Over 40 Equality and Diversity advocates, who are permanent employees, actively supporting us all to make a change. 
  • Improved our data collection to provide a more accurate picture of diversity for the organisation and enable us to measure our progress.
  • Started collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity since the beginning of 2019, which will be reported in ACE’s 19/20 report. Our current known data shows 9.6% LGBTQ+ representation. Social mobility/diversity data will be collected from 2020.
  • Have a strong diversity of ages working with the Company: 3% age 0-19 and 5% 65+.

Download the report (PDF)