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National Theatre and LCF unite to increase BAME specialists

INCLUSION: A model on the catwalk during the Palmer Harding London Fashion Week SS18 show held at London College of Fashion, September 2017

THE NATIONAL Theatre and London College of Fashion (LCF) have agreed to partner on a new plan to increase the number of costume, hair and makeup specialists from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The National Theatre, one of three of the UK’s most prominent publicly-funded performing arts institutions, does not currently employ any permanent staff from BAME backgrounds in its costume department.

Carol Lingwood, the head of the department, said: “Our work on stage is changing and it has done very much over the last few years. The artistic content is changing, and how we react to that and play our part in that needs to be one of the things I am looking at as a manager.”

The collaboration between the two organisations is undergoing development but it is understood that the measures to tackle the diversity deficit could take the form of open days, workshops and industry and education forums.

Christiana McTaggart, a second-year hair, make-up and prosthetics student at LCF, said: “I am the only black student on this course, which I think is quite shocking in itself. We are meant to be able to do hair and make-up on all skin types and hair textures but if I am the only black one, how can people practise?”

Karl Rouse, who will lead the programme at LCF, said it could result in the introduction of guaranteed course places for BAME students.

“That would be a bold step, but it’s the kind of step that we want to make,” he said.

He added: “This is a bigger aspiration than just universities. It’s about the kind of theatre we want to see made, and the kind of people we want to see buying a ticket, being on stage or rigging the lights.”

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