Collective Encounters uses theatre as a tool for social change: to explore problems and solutions and empower our citizens and their communities. We do this by making theatre to excite, entertain and stimulate debate, making new art for new audiences in new spaces that tackles pressing social and political concerns. We recognise that there are significant physical, psychological, logistical and geographical barriers that prevent many people accessing the arts and we are committed to removing these barriers to our own provision.
We accept the protected characteristics identified under the Equality Act 2010 which are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership (in employment), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. We also consider diversity of social and economic background as a crucial component of this plan. This is in line with Arts Council England’s Creative Case for Diversity.
We have adopted the social model of disability which says that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference. It looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for disabled people. When barriers are removed, disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives. We extend this thinking across our work, believing that it is up to us to ensure our work is accessible to all.
Collective Encounters has five key ambitions for equality and diversity in our audiences, participants and workforce. These are underpinned by two principles. Firstly, to provide opportunities for individuals from marginalised background to witness and take part in great art that reflects their experiences as citizens. Secondly, to ensure those from marginalised backgrounds have an opportunity to become a part of the creative industries and workforce.
Our specific ambitions are:
- Encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds to engage as participants & audiences.
- Ensure all work is physically, logistically, economically and socially accessible to those from diverse backgrounds who have the potential to engage either as audience or participants
- Implement working and delivery methods that are sensitive to a diverse workforce, participant and audience base.
- Reflect the diversity of audience and participants within our artistic programme.
- Create opportunities for people from a diverse background to launch and develop a career in the arts.
In order to ensure that these 5 ambitions are met Collective Encounters is committed to;
- Making all our participatory work and performances free at the point of use, so there are no financial barriers for anyone.
- Making sure all our workshops and performances take place in welcoming, accessible spaces that include accessible toilets.
- Removing physical barriers to our live shows by providing scripts in advance, organising one touch tour and one BSL interpreted show for all major productions, including audio description, including captions, providing access to our scripts where possible, allowing assistance dogs, striving to make sure all of our shows are properly amplified and striving to include a hearing loop system to performances where possible.
- Providing hybrid – online and in person – options for participation in our workshops and performances, and using well-ventilated venues where social distancing is possible.
- Reimbursing out of pocket expenses incurred by participants and volunteers in the course of their participation, such as travel, food, childcare, and relevant phone and internet costs where necessary.
- Promoting digital inclusion by providing equipment, training and support for any participant who needs it.
- Always having more than one way to book tickets for our performances.
- Making sure all our printed material is designed with clear readability in mind, in both appearance and content.
- Making our website accessible in line with international guidelines provided by the World Wide Web Consortium.
- Implementing a Universal Design for Learning approach in our participation and learning opportunities
- Enabling participants who are completing formal qualifications with us to apply for reasonable adjustments and special considerations in line with the Open Awards Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy
- Providing any other reasonable adjustments requested by employees, freelancers and participants/volunteers. Such adjustments will be identified through the completion of an inclusion document in collaboration with each staff member or participant on their first contact with Collective Encounters.
- Having a regularly updated Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan