The idea for Migrants in Theatre grew from the frustration of feeling invisible, the lack of representation and from the nation’s artistic works failing to show Britain as a mosaic of nationalities, cultures and languages.
For many migrant theatre artists, British theatre has never truly embraced that crucial aspect of British life.
This results in migrant theatre artists being absent as a workforce, their stories not being told, and diverse theatrical languages being very seldom platformed.
In early 2019, a small group of people started looking at creating something constructive that could move beyond their frustration to help migrant theatre artists work towards a different paradigm and a cultural shift. A movement. To represent those who share all these very complex experiences and feelings but also to engage with power brokers. To question and challenge the lack of representation and bring to focus the intersection between Britain’s colonial past and its specific contemporary political landscape.
Fast forward to Spring 2020, when the British theatre sector and the rest of the world was forced to a standstill by Covid-19. In April 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, some of the core members had the idea of starting a monthly Zoom call open to all migrant theatre makers, to connect with the community so often forgotten. These were an instant success and brought the wider movement together.
The movement grew exponentially as people needed solidarity at a time of crisis. It gained hundreds of members thanks in part to a survey launched to gain both a qualitative and quantitative picture of migrant theatre artists in Britain and what they demand and expect. It was an outlet for people to share their experiences, but also their dreams for the future.
To conclude, within six months, the movement had grown from a few people meeting in cafes to a movement with hundreds of supporters: strategising, listening, connecting, and drafting comprehensive documents around the main issues.
Migrants in Theatre are here to fight for better representation of migrant theatre artists in Britain, to say who they are, what they can offer, and what actions they would like to see enacted to create real structural and cultural change. MIT encourages the British theatre industry to become allies in building a more inclusive, diverse and outward looking theatrical sector.