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A list of useful guides and documents to help you demonstrate best practice for achieving a more representative off-stage workforce.

Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case: A Data Report, 2019-20

This report features data on:

  • The workforce of National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) including the diversity of people in key leadership roles and at different job levels.
  • The Creative Case for Diversity ratings of NPOs against a four-point scale.
  • The diversity of applicants to National Lottery Project Grants and Developing Your Creative Practice.
  • Audience data from NPOs.
  • The diversity of the Arts Council’s workforce, leadership and National and Area Councils.

Read here

The Big Freelancer Report

One year on from the beginning of the pandemic, The Big Freelancer Report maps the problems facing the freelance workforce and makes practical recommendations for change. This report was created by an unaffiliated group of performing arts freelancers, supported by Freelancers Make Theatre Work and funded by Arts Council England. 

Read here


The impact of Covid-19 on jobs in the cultural sector – part 3

In part 3 of our ‘impact of Covid-19 on jobs in the cultural sector’ series, this article written in March 2021 analyses data from the Labour Force Survey from the Office for National Statistics. It looks at the impact of the pandemic on freelancers specifically, and how the effects have been felt unevenly across different demographic groups and different sub-sectors of the cultural and creative industries.

Read here



A little over a year ago, the Young Vic launched YV:IDemystify, a programme of free public events to catalyse debate around issues commonly faced in the theatre sector. 

Curated through a model of informal conversation between working professionals and audiences, YV:IDemystify was a platform for knowledge sharing on challenges in the creation and reception of work for the stage. Today, as YV:IDemystify kicks off with a new series of events, we are publishing a reflection on the insights, questions and thought-provocations voiced in the events so far.


This report was written by Freelancers Make Theatre Work and includes data gathered from over 90 producing organisations throughout the UK.

 The purpose of this study is to gather data on the relationship between performing arts organisations and freelance theatre workers. We hope it will be useful for anybody lobbying the government for further support of the UK performing arts industry and its freelance workforce.

Download here

Freelancers Make Theatre Work : Study – Routes to Recovery

COVID-19: Routes to recovery – an evidence-based study of the freelance theatre workforce

This report was created by an unaffiliated group of analysts and theatre freelancers. It includes data gathered by SDUK, Freelancers Make Theatre Work and Curtain Call through the Big Freelancer Survey, as well as pre-existing Arts Council data.

The purpose of the study was to put the case for freelancers quickly and clearly to government in the week of 29th June 2020 in an evidence-based paper.

This public version of the report has been edited to remove personally identifiable data

Getting in and getting on: Class, participation and job quality in the UK’s Creative Industries

It was recently suggested that the pandemic poses ‘the biggest threat to the UK’s cultural infrastructure, institutions and workforce in a generation’ in an inquiry from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee into the impact of COVID-19. Safeguarding the sustainability of the sector and restoring its position as one of the UK economy’s greatest success stories is a critical priority. But while current focus is offering much needed aid to the sector and unlocking its potential to support the wider recovery, it is important too to consider how we can rebuild the Creative Industries and creative occupations for the better – in a way that benefits more people and places across the UK.

Read it here

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Stage Sight – Drama Schools Working Group

The Stage Sight Drama School working group welcomes new members, especially from students undertaking courses with an offstage focus. If you are interested in joining please feel free to email

Freelancers Make Theatre Work – Future Labs #3

How do we progress and develop work on diversity and inclusion that was started prior to the pandemic?

All of the Future Labs are important, but the third of our pilot series felt crucial, is crucial and remains crucial – gathering around the question how do we progress and develop work on diversity and inclusion that was started prior to the pandemic?  If we are to utilise the pandemic as an opportunity to unlearn the exclusionary inherited practices that dominate our field we need dialogue, commitment and action more so than in any other area as we rebuild.

See here

Mountview Live

Theatre designer Tom Piper and Lighting Designer Paule Constable discuss their work with ‘Freelancers Make Theatre Work’, the situation with COVID-19 and what the future of the industry might look like.

Watch here

Freelancers Make Theatre Work – Future Labs

Freelancers Make Theatre Work have launched Future Labs, a series of solution-focussed panel sessions to discuss ways to support freelancers through the current crisis, engage them in the reopening of theatres, & include them in shaping the future of our industry.

For more information and to take part click here.

Working Safely through Covid-19 Seven Inclusive Principles for Arts & Cultural Organisations

The suite of guidance documents produced by the UK and Devolved Governments to support the reopening of the cultural industries largely focus on headline safety issues. Many Sector Support Organisations have also developed additional guidance but access has often been overlooked.

Arts Council England’s Culture Change Toolkit

Arts Council England’s Culture Change Toolkit

This updated guide outlines what you can do to recruit more diverse talent and a range of good practice case studies showcasing what others have done successfully.
Visit the website

Equity – Guide to good practice with BSL in the Arts

To maintain the integrity and highest possible standard of British Sign Language (BSL) and its representation across the industry, there must be an understanding by those wishing to implement it into their creative process. This is a decision that must be undertaken at the very beginning.

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PiPA – Backstage Workforce Report

Parents and Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA) would like to thank everyone who took part
in this survey and the focus groups. By sparing their valuable time they have provided us with rich data.

Stage Sight evidence to the Theatre APPG

Stage Sight have responded to the urgent call to action and submitted evidence to the Theatre APPG for the need to support freelancers, and highlighted those who reported to be most likely to leave the sector

Read here

Making Theatre Podcast – Tamykha Patterson – Assistant Lighting Designer and Lighting Programmer

Tamykha is an individual Stage Sight member – Lighting Designers James Farncombe and Bruno Poet host conversations about the complex and sometimes messy business of making a show for theatre. We aim to draw in guests from all aspects of production; from directors and designers to actors, stage managers, technicians, makers, builders and producers, to start a broader conversation about all things involved in bringing a show to the stage.

Listen here

Prema Mehta : The Stage ‘Change is coming, but we must work together’

Founder of Stage Sight, Prema Mehta shares her response to the global protests against racism, and says ‘It is not time that will heal the pain, but change.’

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Scene Change Dialogue: Lighting Designers

 Prema Mehta, Founder of Stage Sight speaks at Scene Change: Dialogue in Strange Times in association with The ALD

Speakers includes : Lucy Carter, Anna Fleischle-Marriott, Rory Beaton, Bruno Poet, Sally Ferguson and Vicki Mortimer.

Listen here

Disabled Cultural Leaders

An open letter –

The UK’s vibrant disability and inclusive arts sector is globally recognised as world leading. Across the last four decades a combination of the limitless imagination of disabled artists and essential public funding has led to a never-before-seen flowering of D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled talent on our national stages and screens, in our literature and our galleries

Read here

Mark Dakin – An Open Letter

An open letter from Stage Sight Committee member Mark Dakin, Technical Director of the Royal Opera House written in response to the Black Lives Matter movement – Minnesota – “Your silence is deafening”.

View here

Understanding the Legal Framework around Discrimination

This guidance was created by SOLT and UK Theatre’s legal team for theatre producers, owners and managers using the Theatre Casting Toolkit in relation to performers, so the references and examples within it relate to this. However, the general principles in this guidance can be used by theatre producers, owners and managers who want to obtain and use personal information about their off-stage workforce to increase diversity within discrimination law.

Download the guidance document

Socio-Economic Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts: A Toolkit for Employers, based on evidence from a decade of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme.

Fair access to working in the arts remains one of the most urgent issues facing the sector today, with those from lower socio-economic backgrounds still vastly underrepresented amongst the artists and employees of UK theatres, festivals, galleries and arts organisations of all kinds.

Jerwood Arts and the Bridge Group have joined forces for this Toolkit with a mission to look to the future: to support long-term change across the arts sector by sharing knowledge, providing expert support, and encouraging take-up of an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Visit the website

Photo library featuring people of colour in off stage roles

Tiata Fahodzi and The Stage have launched a photo library featuring people of colour in technical theatre roles, in a bid to improve the diversity of pictures used to depict backstage theatre workers. The project was launched in response to the lack of people of colour represented in stock images that had been available to illustrate news stories and features about technical theatre.

The photo library has more than 200 images. It is free to use and features stock images covering a range of roles, including backstage, wardrobe and design. The initial stock photos available in the library were taken at Watford Palace Theatre by photographer Alex Brenner.

It is intended that the archive will become a resource for the entire theatre sector, with other companies encouraged to add their own representative stock images to the collection under a Creative Commons licence, which will allow publications and theatre to reproduce the photos freely.

Access the photo library

Partnership for London and the Roundhouse’s Self-Made Sector: Working in the creative industries report

This report highlights the many challenges young people, particularly BAME young people and young people from low income households, face in the creative industries.

In the Roundhouse studios, we work with a diverse group of young people, but they’re not reflected in the industry. So this research, led by Partnership for Young London, explores the reasons why young people don’t feel welcome in the industry, or simply don’t know about the opportunities in it. It looks at four areas including, education, representation, stereotypes and the cost – and one of the key things that came out time and time again is that young people feel the only way to get ahead is to do it themselves.

Download the report

Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries

Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries is the first sociological study on social mobility in the cultural industries, and was released by Create London and Arts Emergency on April 16th 2018.

The paper is part of the wider Panic! project initiated in 2015that takes an unprecedented look at social mobility and inequality within the cultural and creative industries in the UK. Led by academics Drs Dave O’Brien, Orian Brook, and Mark Taylor from the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield, the paper highlights the significant exclusions of those from working class origins, women and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds across the cultural and creative industries, which include the arts, music, publishing, advertising and IT.

Download the report.

d&i Leaders reports

d&i Leaders is a network of diversity, inclusion and HR professionals looking to collaborate, network and accelerate their workplace inclusion strategy.

d&i Leaders have a selection of downloadable reports, including: Ethnic Diversity: Learning to Work Together, Four Secrets to Success in Progressing the D&I Agenda, Future Skills of the D&I Leader, LGBT+ at Work 2019 Conference Report, Gender Pay Gap – What Next?, and Inclusive Leadership by Design

Visit the website

Maya Productions’ Pocket Guide to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Role Models and Leaders in the Performing Arts

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic role models and leaders are important for increasing workforce diversity. Seeing BAME artists in the spotlight builds ambition in young people and motivates individuals to step into a career in the arts. Listening to BAME leaders in positions of power inspires confidence in the ability of the industry to reflect the rich tapestry of our society. Including more BAME workers across the industry takes us closer to the creation of great art that can speak to a wide range of people.

This Pocket Guide shares some findings from a Clore/AHRC funded research project, Where Am I? led by Suzanne Gorman in collaboration with Dr Doris Eikhoff and CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, University of Leicester.

Visit the website

Arts Council England’s Diversity Report 2017-18

This report analyses data on:

  • The workforce of National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Major Partner Museums (MPMs), including the diversity of people in key leadership roles and at different job levels
  • The Creative Case for Diversity ratings of NPOs and MPMs, which record how well they respond to diversity through different areas of their programme
  • The diversity of artists and organisations who received investment in the last year through the Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts fund
  • The diversity of the Arts Council’s workforce and leadership
  • The socioeconomic diversity of audiences for Arts Council NPOs

Download PDF

Arts Council England’s Equality Action Plan Guidance

Arts Council England’s Equality Action Plan Guidance

This equality action guide, produced in collaboration with Stephen Lawrence Consulting, will help organisations to address opportunities to diversify their workforce, leadership and audiences.

Visit the website

Arts Council England’s Making a Shift report

Arts Council England’s Making a Shift report

Disabled people are under-represented within the arts and cultural sector workforce in all role types and levels of seniority. This report aims to improve our understanding of why these trends exist, what barriers are preventing disabled people from entering and progressing within the arts and culture sector workforce, and actions that could be taken by the Arts Council and arts and cultural organisations to improve the representation of disabled people in the workforce.

Download PDF

Stage Sight Recruitment Guidance

Stage Sight Recruitment Guidance

Guidance from Stage Sight – suggested procedures for organisations to increase diversity in the recruitment process.
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Equality Commission Employment Code of Practice

Equality Commission Employment Code of Practice

Guidance on discrimination because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. This includes guidance in chapters 12 and 16 on taking positive action to improve diversity and how to avoid discrimination in recruitment.
Download PDF

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