Cross-racial casting : changing the face of Australian theatre / Lee Lewis Lewis, Lee

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Lewis, Lee
Appears In
Platform Papers
2000-2099; Theater and society - Australia.; Australia.
Mainstream theatre in Australia is very white. Too white. Why are we falling behind the rest of the theatrical world in seeing complex diverse casts onstage in our major theatre companies? When you ask this question of theatre practitioners, an awful discourse of blame begins: agents blame casting directors, drama schools blame 'the industry', everyone blames artistic directors. Talking about racism in Australia is difficult in the climate of indignant denial. This essay argues that aggressive cross-racial casting of the classical repertoire is a strategy for subverting the 'inevitability' of whitecentric theatre. It is an important step in the necessary transformation of mainstream theatre into a profession fully engaged with the perplexities of representing Australia on stage and screen. It offers a practical contribution to the re-imaging of the national identity. Restricting cross-racial casting to marginal roles, as so often seen, is an unwitting management strategy akin to the marginalisation of ethnic groups. Without a comprehensive policy of diverse casting the main-stage theatres and their directors are being silently complicit in realising a future for Australia of Whiteness and exclusion.
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e.g. test cricket, Perth (WA), "Parkes, Henry"

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