Diversity in the arts has been at the top of our agenda since the company started in 2002. A female-founded and led organisation, we are committed to promoting and expanding the role and voice of women in the arts. It is imperative we continue to reach and represent broad socio-economic and culturally diverse audiences.
Diversity runs through the company from the students in our classes and the team behind the scenes, to the artists creating and performing our work.
We actively engage with and encourage the next generation of theatregoers and theatremakers, creating work for younger audiences that is relevant, relatable, entertaining, moving and funny. Theatre, music and dance have the ability to inspire, empower and motivate in a unique way which is why we are so proud of the extensive work we do across the country with young people.
Our impact relies on artistic excellence and we constantly strive to push boundaries.
Black Lives Matter to ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company
As a company influenced hugely by Hip Hop music and dance, we acknowledge that we would not be here today without Black Culture.
ZooNation Pledge Update May 2022
This is an update on where ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company is in relation to the pledges we published in March 2020. These company pledges were created in response to the death of George Floyd and the growing attention and understanding that the Black Lives Matter movement was rightfully, finally, gaining.
As a company whose work and ethos are influenced by Black Culture (Hip Hop) we know we have a responsibility to ensure that we are creating, promoting and maintaining environments where black artists and black culture is respected, understood and acknowledged. We hope that through our pledges we can do more to support Black artists and ensure correct understanding and appreciation of Hip Hop.
If we are to progress our pledges we need to be accountable and for that we need to share what we are doing, hence this update.
What we have done:
- Undertaken company training with artists and staff looking at unconscious bias and anti racism
- Drawn up a pilot Behind the Scenes initiative (to increase the diversity of people performing backstage roles) which we will deliver as part of our 20th Anniversary production (Mixtape) in 2022. We also have included Behind the Scenes initiative as part of all our future productions
- Provided dedicated time and space for ZooNation Youth Company to express their emotions and frustrations alongside nurturing their talents
- Listened to our artists and are seeking to ensure that the specific make up and hair needs of our performing artists are catered for
- Created bespoke educational resource packs to accompany our production work, all of which provide an understanding and acknowledgement of Hip Hop and how it has influenced all our work.
- Created space and opportunities for a number of experienced Black artists to join our team and contribute to company plans and projects which speak to a wider Hip Hop community beyond those already known to ZooNation.
- Financially supported career development opportunities specifically for artists who are Black or come from communities historically underserved by funded culture.
What we haven’t done yet but are still working on
- Regularly convened artists to discuss their experiences. We are conscious of creating a structured environment where invited artists feel safe and moreover not used. We will strive to link this more directly to our work so we can hear views and action change in our work.
We have made progress but understand that embedding these pledges is continuous. We will continue to do the work.
We Want To Do More
ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company has always aimed to create work that breaks down barriers, but we have identified areas within our industry where we believe we can do more.
Behind the Scenes Initiative
We are re-launching a behind the scenes initiative aiming to diversify and support Black Talent in a number of roles including stage management, theatre technicians, lighting design, sound design, stage design, costume design, music composition, theatre and event production, and company management
ZooNation Youth Company
We will continue to offer guidance, support and a safe space to members of ZooNation Youth Company to discuss issues concerning race.
Education and Participation
Whilst we continue our education and participation work with young people across the UK, we are committed to creating more awareness about the history and origins of the dance and music styles that we teach, acknowledging the roots embedded in Black Culture and Black History..
Keeping the Conversation Alive
We will use our online platforms to keep the conversation alive with a regular celebration of Black Talent and Black Culture.
Let’s Talk About It
We will be hosting quarterly talks with ZooNation artists and company members as an opportunity to talk about how race has affected individual experiences within the theatre, film, television and commercial industry.
We will continue to tell stories in the shows that we make that speak to the struggle for equality, overcoming oppression, defeating prejudice and that are actively anti-racist.