‘It’s dangerous not to see race’: is colour-blind casting all it’s cracked up to be? | The Guardian

Casting actors regardless of their heritage may seem to allow for more diversity on screen and in theatre. However, a growing number of critics believe we should be considering race rather than ignoring it “After I left drama school, I never thought that I would be in a period drama,” says Rosalind Eleazar. “There’s a misconception that people of colour didn’t exist in those times.” But, much to her surprise, in the five years since she graduated from Lamda, the actor has now appeared in four costume dramas, including the TV series, Harlots, about sex workers in 18th-century London, and Armando Iannucci’s Dickens adaptation, The Personal History of David Copperfield.When she landed an audition for the role of Agnes, Copperfield’s friend and confidante, Eleazar didn’t believe it. “I thought, ‘Yeah right, as if this role would go to someone that looks like me’,” she says, having seen many actors of colour cast as maids, servants, and other largely non-speaking roles in period dramas. “Whilst there is nothing wrong in playing a maid, their stories on the whole never develop. But Agnes is ‘the girl the boy ends up with’ – and a full character who is integral to the development of the story. That sort of part usually goes to a white woman.” Continue reading…

Casting actors regardless of their heritage may seem to allow for more diversity on screen and in theatre. However, a growing number of critics believe we should be considering race rather than ignoring it

“After I left drama school, I never thought that I would be in a period drama,” says Rosalind Eleazar. “There’s a misconception that people of colour didn’t exist in those times.” But, much to her surprise, in the five years since she graduated from Lamda, the actor has now appeared in four costume dramas, including the TV series, Harlots, about sex workers in 18th-century London, and Armando Iannucci’s Dickens adaptation, The Personal History of David Copperfield.

When she landed an audition for the role of Agnes, Copperfield’s friend and confidante, Eleazar didn’t believe it. “I thought, ‘Yeah right, as if this role would go to someone that looks like me’,” she says, having seen many actors of colour cast as maids, servants, and other largely non-speaking roles in period dramas. “Whilst there is nothing wrong in playing a maid, their stories on the whole never develop. But Agnes is ‘the girl the boy ends up with’ – and a full character who is integral to the development of the story. That sort of part usually goes to a white woman.”

Continue reading…


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