New Vic kicks off project to tackle racism

Published: 19 March 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

“Important opportunity to make a real difference”: the New Vic Theatre Credit: Andrew Billington

A project to tackle racism and unite communities through the power of football and the arts has kicked off in Staffordshire, with Newcastle-under-Lyme theatre the New Vic and three other organisations aiming for a home win.

It's Not As Simple As Black and White is working with groups of young people across Stoke and Staffordshire, trying to spark meaningful conversations that challenge prejudice and hate as well as helping to unite communities.

The New Vic’s Borderlines department, which works to change the lives of the most disadvantaged members of the community, has teamed up with Port Vale FC Foundation Trust, Sporting Communities CIC and the Mackman Group.

More than 700 people from 55 groups have taken part in the project to date. A short film, inspired by discussions so far, will be released on Saturday 20 March, ahead of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Sunday 21 March.

The £220,000 project is funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government's Faith, Race and Hate Crime Grants scheme.

New Vic Borderlines director Susan Moffat said, "we recognise the scheme as an important opportunity to make a real difference. The arts and sport have a unique part to play in bringing communities together and exploring issues in ways that people may not have encountered before.

“The project uses a football analogy to look at what skills and tactics we can use to challenge racism and counter negative narratives. We’ve had a fantastic response so far and have seen positive engagement by schools, teachers and young people. This is something we hope to build on."

The film will be available on the New Vic and Port Vale Foundation YouTube channels from 12PM on Saturday 20 March.