Open Theatre Company have now officially signed up to the More Than A Moment pledge. This means, as a company, we are committed to taking genuine action against racism and supporting Black Creatives. More Than A Moment is a West Midlands initiative set up by Culture Central and you can find out more here: https://www.culturecentral.co.uk/mtam/
Through our work with autistic young people and young people with learning disabilities we have come to understand the many ways in which inequality and inequity are embedded in our society. Whilst we constantly work to address inequality and inequity within the context of autism and learning disability, we also recognise that other inequalities and inequities exist within our company that need to be addressed. We acknowledge the importance of working as individuals and as a company to change our thinking and challenge our prejudices in all contexts. We have learnt also that Inclusion is not enough – we need to challenge and create change in the systems that maintain the oppression of people with learning disabilities and other marginalised groups. To be effective, we cannot and must not try to do this alone and therefore we will actively seek out new partners who are keen to collaborate with us as we begin to embed this work within our organisation.
The More Than A Moment pledge is a real and significant opportunity for us to rethink and change our ways of working internally and to work with others to support broader change in society as a whole. We are taking a range of actions to ensure that we fulfill the pledge, particularly by running regular anti-racism group sessions in partnership with Spectra Arts, who are also signed up to the pledge. These sessions seek to deepen our understanding of racism, share experiences, learn and inform action. They are welcoming spaces to come together with members of our companies, both staff and participants.
Doing difference differently, celebrating difference, is at the heart of what we do. It is important that our conversations around the More Than A Moment pledge are made available to everyone in ways appropriate to their individual needs and/or levels of understanding. We recognise the importance of having patience, giving people time to process information, and trying our best to understand each other even though we all communicate in different ways.
The discrimination against autistic young people and young people with learning disabilities constantly informs the way we operate as a company and we believe the core values that we have drawn from this work help us to fully commit to the pledge and instill this in our work. We emphasise that it is important not just to follow rules and tick boxes, but to encourage deep thought and reflection in order to change our attitudes and enable embedded, long-lasting change. This – like our work with young people – is long-term work, and we are determined that it will have an impact in years to come.
We always work in partnership with others and welcome any contact from people and organisations who want to connect with what we’re doing in relation to the pledge and our activism. Please feel free to get in touch – you can contact Mel (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Hazel (email@example.com.)
Our signed copy of the pledge can be viewed here: Open Theatre Company: More Than A Moment Pledge