Bristol performer calls for more diversity in the theatre

Pariah believes not enough is being done to encourage more BAME people into the arts Credit: Henry Palmer

A performer from South Bristol says more needs to be done to get young people interested in taking to the stage.

Pariah Khan has been touring with his one man show 'An Indian Abroad' for the last year, but says the lack of diversity in the industry puts most youngsters off.

The show is the story of a young Indian student on a gap year to Britain to find himself, playing on the stereotype of gap year students going to India to 'find themselves'.

Pariah says his background means he can bring something different to the stage that couldn't be genuinely represented by other actors.

I've had the fortune of being born in Libya, living in India and living in Britain. I've seen the things that bring them together and just the weird intricacies and little details that probably separate them as well. So I wanted to kind of use all of that information to not only create a show which explores all those themes but also kind of looks at the experience of south Asian people in Britain today.

Pariah Khan
Boomsatsuma is the lead delivery partner for the Bristol Works project Credit: ITV West Country

The Arts Council's trying to change the lack of diversity in the theatre but their latest data shows there's still about half as many Black And Minority Ethnic people with permanent jobs in the industry compared to the working population of BAME people living in England.

Boomsatsuma, the post-16 education provider has a specific contract with Bristol City Council for the Bristol Works project.

They work across the city with unrepresented communities and students from different and some disadvantaged backgrounds and finds ways they can be involved with projects and meet employers.

The Bristol Works contract [is] probably the thing we do that would be easiest to fall into box ticking and I think how we're trying to work with employers and working with schools is to just keep it genuine. So that we're not just saying get this number of BAME students in this workshop for example it's actually who will this benefit and can you tailor select who you think this is good for and who you think will thrive in that project.

Elliot Lamb, Boomsatsuma

An Indian Abroad is being performed at The Rondo Theatreon Wednesday 6 February.