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'Falling Skies' Treva Etienne Joins Chorus Criticizing Lack of Opportunities for Black & POC Actors in the UK

Shadow and Act By Sergio | Shadow and Act July 29, 2014 at 6:00PM

More and more Black British actors are criticizing what they see are the lack of opportunities for themselves in their home country.
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Treva Eitenne

You might remember that, a few weeks ago, I posted an item about Sophie Okonedo and her criticisms of the lack of opportunities, not just for her, but for her fellow actors of color in the U.K., and that she gets many more opportunities and offers in the U.S, than she does in her own native country (HERE).

Well, now joining her (and the many other black British actors who've spoken out about this issue) is actor Treva Etienne, who’s currently playing a major role in TNT’s sci-fi summer series "Falling Skies," which is executive produced by Steve Spielberg.

In a recent article in London’s The Guardian (HERE), Etienne says that many of the current top U.K. actors in demand - such as Damian Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and others - all have two things in common: that they went to the top elite schools in England and, of course, they’re white.

As he says in the Guardian piece: "We will be destroying a generation of actors if we give these opportunities just to one kind of kid at Eton and not to others. And these two kinds of kids are going to meet each other in later life and they are going to see the difference. Acting should not just work for one class of kids. It should work for all kids."

Compared to them, Etienne started his acting career at the National Youth Theatre, the Anna Scher Theatre, the Royal Court and the Black Theatre Co-operative's season at the Riverside theatre in Hammersmith. Unfortunately, several of those acting groups (and more) have lost their funding over the years.

He further continued that, "There should be more diversity to the projects – not just the same tried and tested, familiar things. Otherwise we will get an even greater domination of American television drama."

Which brings up a question that some commenters have posted here on this site - the fear that non-American black actors are increasingly getting roles in American films and TV, as African-American actors are beginning to be shut out.

So do you feel that’s true or not? Or could it be that British black actors are simply better actors with their traditional, rigorous training on the stage, than domestic actors?

What do you say? 

This article is related to: Treva Etienne


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