Tara Arts

Amount Given:

£91,525 over three years (grant made in 2016)


Arts with a social impact

Alison Holdom,

Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation


Through Black Theatre Live, Tara Arts is aiming to address issues such as: the low number of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) led arts organisations in the UK and BAME theatre being disproportionately represented in London. We were happy to fund this broad network of venues and organisations offering support in touring, marketing and audience development. The programme has the potential to support artists, venues and audiences by broadening the range of work available and nurturing audiences to see it.

Jonathan Kennedy,

Executive Producer, Tara Arts


The Black Theatre Live (BTL) consortium has been established to transform the national touring landscape for BAME companies and artists. BTL aims to achieve its ambition through a structured and systematic programme of small and mid-scale touring, and audience and sector development, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn.

The BLT consortium, encompassing a range of eclectic venues and led by Tara Art, has an inclusive programme of touring, marketing, outreach and audience development, including rural and urban locations; market towns, seaside locations and inner cities; producing theatres and receiving-houses; theatres and arts-centres nationwide; Arts Council England funded and un-funded organisations. Taken together the range of expertise and knowledge across the BTL venues represents a considerable contribution to actively support and develop touring opportunities for established and emerging BAME artists and companies.

Through BTL we are aiming to achieve change to the touring theatre landscape over the long-term by providing ground-breaking opportunities for BAME artists and audiences. In running a structured and systematic programme of audience development, review and evaluation, we aim to bring together a wide cross-section of white and BAME audiences. In doing so, we aim to guard against a mentality of ‘black theatre for black audiences’ and ‘white theatre over black theatre’.

By engaging actively with a diversity of audiences across England, in partnership with our venues and specialist consultants, we aim to change hearts and minds to ensure all our audiences gain an appreciation for the theatre of the BAME artists BLT seeks to support, profile and promote.

To achieve this we will tour, collaborate and co-produce seven national tours, and commissions eight regional BAME companies.

Cathy Tyson,

Actor and Producer, Pitchlake Productions

BTL has helped me expand as an actress and as a producer. As an actress I experienced being on stage by myself for thirty minutes. This increased my confidence and love of my job. It allowed me to embrace auditions that involved a lot of line learning, with surety. BTL has been my first experience of producing. With their guidance I approached theatres and asked them for dates and guarantees for our show. It was exhilarating speaking to the programme bookers, many of whom were men, and begin to overcome the fear of talking about money. 

The whole experience of BTL has given me deeper insight into all the aspects that go into a production. I am indebted to BTL for helping me develop as a creative.

A young black actress I saw recently said she had never experienced a part of that size before. I watched her look of self-belief as she came off stage. I want Pitchlake Productions and BTL to continue to be powerful role models for other young black theatre talents.

We have toured to rural areas that do not get a chance to experience what life is like for black people. We have started a positive dialogue with these regions. With Pitchlake Productions and BTL I hope to help create and sustain relations between all diverse peoples through theatre.