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On our Stages

On our Stages

The National Theatre has to be the place where the best artists come to make their best work, and we believe these artists should be a reflection of the diversity of this country.

As part of our plan to increase diversity on our stages by 2021, we set a number of publicly available targets to indicate our progress.

By March 2021:

  • 50% of living writers for our stages will be female
  • 50% of directors working on our stages will be female
  • As an average, there will be 50:50 gender balance on stage
  • 20% of writers for our stages will be people of colour
  • 20% of directors working on our stages will be people of colour
  • At least 25% of performers will be people of colour

In 2017-18, in our theatres:

  • 28% of living writers were female
  • 33% of directors were female
  • 45% of performers were female
  • 19% of writers were people of colour
  • 16% of directors were people of colour
  • 35% of performers were people of colour


In 2017-18, we made real progress against our targets for working with more directors, writers and actors from BAME backgrounds, supported by new writing such as The Great Wave and Barber Shop Chronicles. However, we saw a dip in the number of female writers and directors year on year, something we will work to rebalance in future programmes. Despite this, it was still a strong year for representation of women on stage, with leading roles including particle physicists, soldiers, biblical activists, lawyers and diplomats.

We convened a roundtable discussion with key disability arts figures to help us develop measures to support greater presentation of d/Deaf & disabled artists on our staged. With Spotlight, we launched ProFile, a video database for casting directors designed to champion and showcase d/Deaf and disabled talent, which had 6,000 visits from 1,000 unique visitors from across theatre, TV and film in its first two months.