acta exists to ensure people can tell their stories and make their own original theatre. We recognise that there is significant inequality, prejudice and privilege, both within our society and the theatre sector. Our community theatre work seeks to address this, to make change by working with community performers to tell their previously unheard stories. We are based in Bristol, a City built on slavery and violence against black people, in order to maintain the privilege of white European colonists. We understand our responsibilities to share stories, educate and make change. We are aware of the profound influence of historic and contemporary racism, and as a white-led organisation, we are committed to an inclusive approach, and to prioritise work that is led by black and minority ethnic communities.
Most recently, even before the global protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd, we have seen through the Windrush Scandal and a whole series of other struggles, that institutional racism in the UK continues at the heart of our country. We believe that acta’s community theatre work, both locally and globally, can help to make change.
Our work exists to bring people together to make theatre, but also to raise awareness and to engender a better understanding of who we are, and what we have in common. This is an active process and we are always learning and trying to do it better. We know that there is always more to do. We will continue to work with communities to help build their power and a creative platform, a stage to elevate their voices. We are an organisation that makes plans according to need, and we are very aware that the need is increasing.
The work that needs to be done is challenging, and it needs to be for the long-term. We take inspiration and hope from the global protests that are happening now, and look for the action that we at acta can take as we move forward.
What we are doing now, that we can build on:-
- Our new Cornerstone programme commits to develop further our Foundation initiative that has successfully brought in new acta workers from diverse backgrounds over the last few years, and now supports them to lead their own projects as acta associates.
- Our Malcolm X Elders Theatre Company have secured a second Windrush Day grant, and we are working with them through lockdown to share their stories and enable them to share their learning with younger generations. A video collage of their work in progress is available here and at the bottom of this page.
- Our Creative Europe RAPPORT project, with its international group of community performers, continues to meet online through lockdown, working with partners in Spain, Sweden and Poland.
- Other international partnerships include a collaboration with Appalshop in Kentucky, US.
If there are other ways you think we can become better allies and a better organisation, we’re always happy to hear from you: