RACIAL DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AGAINST VICTORIA THEATRE REKINDLES DEBATE ABOUT DIVERSITY ON STAGE

Actor alleges she was denied opportunity to audition for role in Les Belles-soeurs because she's black

Ravi Jain, founder of Why Not Theatre, says some Canadian directors have long argued that actors of colour aren't appropriate for particular roles. 'It's just not true,' he says. (David Leclerc/Courtesy of Why Not Theatre)

When Ravi Jain heard about the experience of an actor in Victoria who alleges she was denied an opportunity to audition for a role in Les Belles-soeurs because she is black, it was a familiar story.

Jain, who is the founding artistic director of Why Not Theatre in Toronto, says some Canadian directors have long argued that actors of colour aren’t appropriate for particular roles because they are set in a particular time and place that would exclude them.

“It’s just not true. It’s a limited perspective of what that time was and what the power structures were,” he said.

His comments come after a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruling this month that allows a complaint by Tenyjah Indra McKenna to proceed against the Victoria Theatre Guild and Dramatic School and its volunteer director.

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