Arts, Culture and Theatre Inclusion Strategy • Vision RCL

Arts, Culture and Theatre Inclusion Strategy

 Redbridge is the 4th most diverse borough in the Country. We recognise and value the diverse communities in the areas we work and are committed to advancing equality of opportunity, eliminating unlawful discrimination and harassment and fostering good community relations.  

This is particularly so for those who are most disadvantaged so that they are able to reach their full potential. Our facilities are a safe place where all our communities can come together to learn, create and thrive. We have a significant role in supporting and demonstrating diversity and equality through inclusion, education and continued learning. We place innovation, new voice and experiences at the heart of our organisation. We believe in being accessible and, as an organisation, aim to be a reflection of the area and community in which we serve, demonstrated through our policy and work. We want to create an environment and culture that recognises, celebrates and values individual and group differences across all protected characteristics and beyond. We aspire to ensure that our policies, processes and procedures reflect this and support opportunity.  

As an operator of cultural and creative services, we will actively seek to support and nurture the most diverse creative talent, attract and reach the widest audience and ensure the relevance of our work. We will engage with our communities, workforce, volunteers, Trustees, artists, athletes to ensure their voices are heard through our work and organisation, that we are a responsive organisation and actively evolve to support their needs and respond to what we hear and see. We will ensure diversity across recruitment panels, commissioning boards, stakeholder panels and similar. As a consequence, Vision will be an organisation that people want to engage with and be part of from all life experiences. 

Vision RCL has commissioned a multi-faceted Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for Redbridge Music Education Hub to help the hub broaden the diversity of children we engage with, particularly those children in challenging circumstances (CCC), to enable the hub to identify and put in place those things that will help them do the work better. The strategy and work will identify what are the working practices of an inclusive organisation, from an audience, creative, teacher, pupil perspective, while also seeing what in their historical role might hamper or slow full inclusion, whether that be public perception or the balance within the offer.  

The strategy sets the foundations to build an inclusive music education culture where all children and young people are valued and recognised for their unique qualities, ideas, voices and perspectives and where they can see their respective Hubs as providing a range of diverse and suitable musical opportunities and progression pathways. The strategy will also pave the way to broadening the Redbridge Music Education Hub partnership, including a deeper relationship with Redbridge Drama Centre and the Kenneth More Theatre and the wealth of opportunities that this presents. The Redbridge Music and Theatre sector is on a similar journey in respect of bringing greater diversity to our work. A focus on South Asian Arts and Music, following the recent ACE Study,  is a common initial area of work that will unite these services and organisations to work collaboratively to make real change.  

Redbridge Theatres are collectively committed to broadening the range of theatre genres and art forms that are presented in our spaces and supporting artists to create new work and develop skills. Our broader programme of theatre work and multi performing art forms has drawn in new audiences and new more diverse artists and is also fundamental to the future sustainability of our venues. In our experience the audience/artist relationship is symbiotic, so our future programme of work will continue to focus on the creative connections between drama, theatre, dance, music and art. Our broadening repertoire gives more access opportunities to audience and more creative opportunities to artists. We will continue to connect with new audiences utilising the enhanced communication channels and reach across the wider Vision RCL portfolio.  

Redbridge Drama Centre’s willingness to encourage new experiences for audiences and participants, drawing on the broadest definition of theatre to allow the diverse population we serve to all have something that they may wish to watch, perform or create at both RDC and the Kenneth More Theatre (KMT).  

RDC’s agility is uniquely placed to respond to programming new work quickly and collaborating with a range of artists and art forms. Strategically we can support artists with experimental and new work whilst underpinning our work with more established companies and a rich participation programme. Across RDC and the KMT we are working and supporting a partnerships with new grass roots organisations and companies, enabling them to develop, premier and grow their work across the two venues.  

Diversity of programming, audience and casting at the Kenneth More Theatre has changed and developed notably since Vision took over the Theatre’s operation in late 2019 and this work will accelerate as we recover from Covid with a new five-year Theatre Development and Business Plan through to 2026. 

Our successful application to Arts Council England’s Creative People & Places programme will also be a key enabler to working more closely with our community. We are in year one (development phase) and will shortly be beginning a significant programme of community engagement which we intend to be used as learning and a wider opportunity for Vision’s cultural services. 

There are currently three priority areas for strategy development: 

1. Sustainability 

A new strategy is being drafted to drive Vision’s commitment to sustainability, combating climate change and environmental impact. The draft strategy is expect in January 2023, to be adopted by the Board in March 2023. 

2. Customer feedback and intelligence 

Vision has commissioned GovMetric to deliver a range of methods to gather customer feedback and intelligence. This project is in the final throes of development, for implementation across Parks and Open Space in January 2023, and subsequent Vision services thereafter. 

3. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 

A new company wide strategy is expected in Q2 2023/4 to encompass the breadth of Vision’s services, but to incorporate Redbridge Council, our major funder, is shortly to also begin work on developing their external Diversity and Inclusion strategy. It has been agreed that Vision and Redbridge Council will work jointly on the engagement and development stages of process, as both commissioner and contractor working together. 

Gareth Morley 

Director of Arts, Culture & Libraries 

Catherine Rowan 

Vice Chair, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure 

Chair, Arts, Culture & Leisure