Friday 28th May 2021

When Joe McCann approached us with his idea for a new script, we immediately recognised it as a vitally important and responsive piece of work for us to develop and present to an audience. Whilst our original intention was for the play to be staged in a live setting, the pandemic forced us to reconsider that. We decided to develop this piece instead for digital delivery. 

The content and subject matter are deeply challenging and whilst we thought at the time we would be prepared as an organisation to deliver this work and support the individuals involved in its creation, we have learned we are not. 

We have undertaken a commitment to be actively anti-racist and had already begun a journey to be better. Where we originally thought we were further along than we are, we now acknowledge that we are in fact only at the start of this and that we have to do more. We undertook the development of Thing My White Friends Say with the best of intentions, but this project has exposed that our support structure and organisation are not yet robust enough to deliver it in the way that all of those involved envisaged at the start of the process. 

We wanted the decision as to whether the project should be released to be collaborative, inclusive and shared, with the opportunity given to all involved to have their opinions freely and confidentially aired, to be heard and listened to. 

We have also realised that our planned approach is not the right format for the piece and that we need to revisit and develop the project as a live presentation when we are better equipped as an organisation to do so. In our development of this work we have learned that what we were planning to deliver did not capture or do justice to the writing and artistic ideas in the script.

We are sorry that we have not been able to share this project with a wider audience at this stage but are fully committed to doing what is right for the script and the subject matter that it contains. It is too important a work to get wrong.

We are committing to looking inwardly at our organisation to identify the ways in which we can improve and accelerate our journey to become a stronger anti-racist organisation. 

Andy Arnold, Artistic Director & CEO & Sam Gough, Executive Director & CEO