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Inclusion in Performing Arts, with Natasha, 20 Stories High

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Headshot of Natasha smiling at the camera

As National Inclusion Week 2023 comes to a close, we caught up with Natasha Patel to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion at the award-winning theatre organisation, 20 Stories High.

1. Can you introduce yourself please, and tell us a bit about 20 Stories High?

My name’s Natasha Patel and I am the Producer & Operations Manager at 20 Stories High. My job is split into two main areas, the first is to produce shows and programmes for the company and the second is to look at the organisation operationally. For both areas, this includes making sure we are operating in an inclusive way.

2. Why is inclusion Important to 20 Stories High?

Inclusion is a massive part of our organisation and is one of the key pillars with which we run our programmes and shows. We operate on the basis that “everybody has a story to tell… and their own way of telling it…”. This wouldn’t be possible without making sure people we interact with from youth theatre, staff members, freelancers and audiences are able to access information in the way that they need it. It’s about meeting people where they are and being a learning organisation. 

3. How does the Recite Me Assistive Toolbar help you provide an inclusive experience for website visitors?

It allows us to provide different modes of access in easy ways, enabling audiences to access this information of their own volition without needing someone else to facilitate this. We can provide options for people to access how they need. 

4. Why do you think diversity and inclusion should be a priority in the theatre industry?

It is so important that theatre is representative of our society, and that we actively make way for people whose stories have actively been sidelined historically and in the present. Diversity and inclusion are more than buzzwords – they’re active processes that require our active work. Theatre has the power to reach people meaningfully and allow people to a) see themselves reflected in society and b) see other people reflected truthfully. Now’s the time to let everybody tell *their* story, and that’s a huge part of diversity and inclusion in the theatre.

5. What are your hopes for D&I in the future?

We hope that in the future diversity and inclusion is just commonplace. That it’s in-built into our consideration. For us, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Activism is core to what we do. In future, we hope that we get to treat it as a given. A priority, like health & safety and wellbeing.

Inclusive Leisure and Entertainment Guide

Do you want to get started breaking down digital barriers? Check out our Inclusive Leisure and Entertainment Guide which is packed full of helpful information and practical tips.

Download your copy today to learn more about:

  • Who needs help with website accessibility
  • Why inclusion is important in the leisure industry
  • Website accessibility regulations and guidelines
  • How you can break down barriers 
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