Report finds New York City writers, Broadway stages remain extremely white
Published Thursday, October 1, 2020 4:52PM EDT
Theatres line 45th Street in New York on May 13, 2020. (Photo by Evan Agostini / Invision / AP, File)
NEW YORK -- A new report on racial representation on New York stages has found that little has been changing -- there remains an over-representation of white actors, writers and directors.
The annual study, "The Visibility Report: Racial Representation on NYC Stages," from the Asian American Performers Action Coalition, analyzed the 18 largest non-profittheatres as well as Broadway companies in New York City during the 2017-18 season.
Over 61 per cent of all roles on New York City stages went to white actors, a rate double the population of white people in New York City (32.1 per cent of residents). According to the study, 23.2 per cent of roles went to Black actors, 6.9 per cent to Asian American actors and 6.1 per cent to Latino actors. That represents a slight improvement from the previous season, which had 67 per cent white actors, 18.6 per cent Black actors, 7.3 per cent Asian actors and 5 per cent Latino actors.
Overall, nearly 80 per cent of Broadway and off-Broadway shows' writers were white and 85.5 per cent of directors during the 2017-18 season. Last year's report -- on the 2016-17 season -- found that 86.8 per cent of all Broadway and off-Broadway shows were from white playwrights and 87.1 per cent of all directors hired were white.
The 2017-18 season did see some breakthroughs for people of colour -- including Young Jean Lee becoming the first Asian American woman playwright produced on Broadway and the Tony-winning "The Band's Visit," a musical set in the Middle East. But the report warned against celebrating examples that "often serve as the poster child of diversity for a particular season, encouraging a false sense of progress."