This is fantastic. The UK's Independent Theatre Council—an umbrella group of over 400 independent theatre and performing arts groups—has appointed Topher Campbell as its new chairman. The critically-acclaimed theatre director, writer and filmmaker is the artistic director of The Red Room Theatre Company. Campbell—and R20 friend—also co-founded the Rukus! Federation, which remains the only Black LGBT performing arts organization in the UK.
The Guardian interviewed Campbell about his new position. The director discussed the importance of diversity in the arts ...
[R]acism is still alive and well in all its forms. Meanwhile, the liberal consensus that guided social policy in the UK, including diversity, has now broken down and we find ourselves having to justify everything in terms of its value for money.In this context, there is little space for the cultural value of diversity. Policy is saying black and brown people no longer matter. We need to make the case for recognising and supporting the idea of "different but equal."=
... And the intersection of race and sexuality in his work.
Being black and gay means I've experienced life with an outsider's perspective in relation to the UK's white middle-class cultural hegemony, and also in relation to the black diaspora. Rukus! and Red Room are independently spirited companies dedicated to challenging the idea that mainstream British culture offers all the answers. I mean this in an international sense too. The deference we show to certain cultural institutions and people and the way in which race is marginalised diminishes us all.
There some voices in the world that will always be listened to. We hear them all the time. As a black male my voice is not given the same respect: I am considered aggressive in school, a menace on the streets, and an oddity in some social circles. Prison is my natural home. Drugs are my currency. As a black gay man I have been rendered invisible or worthy of death.That I am now middle-class and educated means I have a more acceptable face. To make myself visible and to stake my place as an equal voice in society is something I'm compelled to do. This is something I know saves lives.
Topher Campbell’s first documentary In This Our Lives premiered at the 2009 London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. He is a regular contributor to The Guardian on politics, the arts and issues in Britain's Black Gay communities.
Campbell is a fellow contributor to For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough, the award-winning and critically acclaimed anthology released in 2012 and edited by New York Times bestselling author/television commentator Keith Boykin. You must read his essay—which describes growing up Black, gay and English in the church, which he has also discussed at The Guardian.
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