Woman wearing a headscarf and brown jacket, sat on a sofa

BOVTS students talk industry diversity

Published on:
23rd November 2020

BBC Politics West recently dropped into Hedda rehearsals to talk to the cast and artistic director Jenny Stephens about diversity in the industry. In light of recent changes to the Oscars to try and be more diverse, our students spoke with Thaddeus Matthews about the ways that the industry can continue to adapt and change to ensure it is representative.

Artistic Director Jenny Stephens referenced how Academy Award nominee alumna Naomie Harris was the only student of colour in her graduating year in 2000 but our recent cohorts have had around a third of students be a person of colour.

Graduating actors Charlie Hall and Issam Al-Ghussain discussed the importance of changes behind the scenes and more diverse voices being needed ‘in the rooms where decisions are being made’. Issam said that, ‘To get more diversity on screen, personally, I think it requires more diversity off screen first’.

Watch the whole piece here from about 21 minutes in, https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000pss5/politics-west-22112020


You can find out more about the initiatives we run to encourage greater diversity across our courses on our Widening Access web page. Our Access and Participation Plan (in conjunction with the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama) can be found here.


I’m constantly delighted by the talent, commitment and drive of our students. Their curiosity and joy in the work gives us all energy and keeps me on my toes! My goal is to ensure that their voices serve their acting - both in theatre and recorded media. They need to be able to project, learn accents, respond to a wide variety of texts and have a voice that is healthy and be able to sustain long tours and tough filming schedules. This involves them working extremely hard – but having fun as well. When the new students see the final year students in production for the first time I know they’ll come into class the next day fully understanding the high standard they’re working to achieve. Carol Fairlamb, Head of Voice