Earlier this month, at a diversity panel discussion, British actor and activist Fraser Ayres dropped a bombshell by declaring that UK Theatre is “actively racist” in its casting and programming. He went on to say that many of their biggest theaters were led by people who were completely clueless in how to address the issue.
The event, “Casting: Who Holds the Net?,” was a debate on the issue of diversity and inclusion in the Theatre. Other panelists included BBC casting director Julie Crampsie, Theatre Royal Stratford East Executive Director Deborah Sawyerr, and UK Theatre head Cassie Chadderton. The panel was chaired by Deborah Williams, Executive Director of Creative Diversity Network, a UK broadcast industry organization pursuing the mission making the case for diversity and inclusion, on and off screen.
Fraser Ayres is an English-born actor as well as Managing Director and Co-Founder of TriForce Promotions, an organization focused on developing diversity and ‘inclusivity’ in the UK entertainment industry. Alongside this work he has turned his diverse talents to directing, writing and tutoring, as well as producing and managing events and projects on a variety of scales.
Fraser has an extensive body of work spanning TV, film and theatre, movies such as Patrice Chereau’s Intimacy (2001), Alex Cox’s Revengers Tragedy (2002), Noel Clarke’s Adulthood (2008), to playing Barabbas in Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s epic Son of God (2014).
Onstage, Fraser has performed with The Royal Court, Stratford Royal East and many other theatres throughtout the United Kingdom, receiving numerous accolades and awards for his performances including; Time Out Best Performer: Herald Angel Best Actor Edinburgh Festival and a Fringe First, as well as being named as one of The Guardian’s “Top Performers of 2013”.