The British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database is now available and is accessible without charge, to students, scholars, teachers and the general public.
The Multicultural Shakespeare in Britain 1930-2010 project seeks to document and promote the work of black and Asian Shakespearean actors in the UK and British-born performers' work abroad.
A primary output of this research is a database that demonstrates the growing contribution of black and Asian performers to UK theatrical life, particularly in classical theatre.
This database has been custom- built on a Drupal platform and draws on performance archives, production reviews, documentary evidence and personal interviews with practitioners and members of the BAME (black and ethnic minority) community. The database contains multiple searchable fields, which cover actors and their biographical information, roles, plays and contains infographics used to summarise and present for maximum impact overall findings.
The data also chronicles the changing attitudes in the media to BAME performances of Shakespeare, including critical reception. The database supplies not only documentary evidence of this important and largely under-examined aspect of the theatrical eco-system but will also serve as a major research tool for academic study of Shakespeare, theatre history, performance and cultural studies, the sociology of race. It provides statistical evidence of black and Asian performers' under-representation in middle- and leading Shakespearean roles, effectively a glass ceiling in casting, for use by lobbying groups currently fighting for diversity in theatre, television and film.