Diversity in the theatre
Theatre director Pınar Karabulut explains why the cultural sector needs to become more female and more diverse, and how this can be achieved.
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Pınar Karabulut (34) is a theatre director at the Schauspiel Köln, among other places. In her work she addresses sexism, feminism and images of women.
“German theatre is still white, male and heterosexual. It is true that there have been some changes, involving for example more women at management level; however, the women in question are also white, somewhat older and from privileged backgrounds. They tend to uphold the patriarchal system because they have learnt that there is only a single place for women* (the asterisk signals that this refers to anyone who defines themselves as a woman) at the top, and that they have to fight to achieve this position. By contrast, the young generation thinks much more in terms of alliances. For instance, if I have the opportunity to propose someone for a particular role, I always try to suggest a woman*. In my directorial teams I work mainly with women* and attempt to give jobs to PoC (People of Colour) and queer people. Our culture and our society need more equal opportunities.
It is important for PoC, queer people and young women* or persons who are read as female to occupy high positions in the cultural sector because there will never be diversity without them. White men are scared of losing their privileges. And yet it’s only about placing a second chair at the table. However, solidarity and acceptance first need to be learnt before they can be lived.
In the cultural sphere, particularly in theatre, many steps are being made towards diversity, but I currently know of no theatre in Germany where this is genuinely embraced. For women* and PoC to reach higher positions, they first have to be listened to and taken seriously. When I talk about my experiences of racism I am often told that the case in question wasn’t in fact racism. This is not something that the person I’m speaking to can judge, however.
I am optimistic that there will be positive changes; we are on a good path, but it is taking too long. The perfect theatre world would be one in which skin colour, hair colour, nationality, gender and sexual orientation no longer play any role.”
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