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Statistics from the Asian American Performers Action Coalition's study.

AAPAC Report: 2015-16 Most Diverse Season in NY Theatre

Casting data show a rise in minority casting, though some ethnicities are still underrepresented onstage.

NEW YORK CITY: The Asian American Performers Action Collection (AAPAC) has released its annual report, “Ethnic Representation on New York City Stages.” The report details the ethnic breakdown of actors working on Broadway and at the 16 largest nonprofit theatre companies in New York City during the 2015-16 season. The report also includes data on the number of performers with disabilities onstage. AAPAC has amassed 10 seasons of data, and the information in the 2015-16 report includes 10-year write-ups on the featured theatre companies.

The report shows that the 2015-16 theatre season in New York City was the most diverse on record, with 35 percent of roles being portrayed by actors of color and actors with disabilities. The data also compare casting between musicals and straight plays, and look at non-traditional casting. While diversity in the overall industry achieved higher numbers, only one Asian-American and one Middle Eastern/North African performer was cast in a straight play on Broadway.

Based on the percentage of available roles, the nonprofit theatre companies that employed the highest number of minority actors includes Classic Stage Company, Second Stage Theater, the Public Theater, Theatre for a New Audience, and Primary Stages. The two least represented ethnicities across the board were Asian Americans, Middle Eastern/North African, and Native American. The full report can be found here.

“We applaud our colleagues at AAPAC for compiling this report and continuing to hold all of us in the theatre community accountable as we strive to create a fairer and more inclusive industry,” said Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing, in a statement. “Much more needs to be done and this report from AAPAC makes that very clear.”

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