Baroness Young of Hornsey;

”The hidden histories of people from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean are just beginning to be revealed. Preserving the material that will enable more people to disseminate information about the complex, multifaceted past of this country and the place of these artists in it is vital.

Thanks to the efforts of historians, writers, practitioners and researchers, at least a few people will be aware of the theatrical achievements of Ira Aldridge, the 19th century African American Shakespearean actor who performed extensively on the London stage. The names of other artists from that period and earlier have yet to become known to a wider public. Even the record of the more recent history of the presence of African, Caribbean, Asian and Eastern Asian artists in the arts and cultural life of the Britain has not been secured.

There is now no excuse for not being aware that the history and the presence of people of African, Asian, Caribbean and East Asian descent in Britain stretches back over several centuries. In spite of that long, complex and intertwined set of histories – many of which involve arts and cultural exchange and appropriation – there is little that has been profiled on how these artists, their work and stories have impacted on and changed the nature of the arts in England today.

From 1948 onwards, Britain has attempted to come to terms with its changing demography in a variety of ways. In the 30 years since Naseem Khan’s report on ‘The Arts Britain Ignores’ was published where the artistic landscape has changed it has been largely due to the magnitude of human effort made by arts practitioners of African, Asian, Caribbean and East Asian descent.

The need for personal and community stories to be told, and histories to be shared, was summed up in the Whose Theatre….? Report (2006)”.

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