Is the world of drama, theatre, and acting losing its diversity with South Asian A-level students in the UK?

Generally, it has always been considered that the creative arts industries have lacked South Asian representation, especially in western countries such as England, mainly for the reason that most South Asian students are argued to follow careers in STEM and academic subjects. For example, GOV.UK has gathered statistics and claims that 33.0% of Asians go into 'professional jobs.' 

Furthermore, even within the selection of A-level subjects, significantly less South Asians are choosing drama and theatre studies compared to other ethnicities. The Cambridge Assessment on the uptake of GCSE and A-level subjects by ethnicity group in 2007 collected data, with only 1.97% of Indian students choosing drama and theatre studies, and the subject was not even available for the data of Pakistani and Bangladeshi students.

This compared to other ethnic minorities such as African students, where creative subjects are more popular, shows an immense difference. Perhaps this underrepresentation is wrapped around the stigma and lack of encouragement for South Asian students to pursue careers in acting and theatre, as most do not hold high status towards drama and it is usually seen as a subject that requires less academic ability. 

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In my own experiences doing drama and theatre studies A-level, I can clearly see the isolation of South Asians in this industry, with being the only Indian person in the whole of my drama cohort of 26 students. Although the number of students is not as large as other subjects, the absence of others who share my culture does greatly impact my attitude towards the subject, often giving me a sense of false hope that the representation of South Asians is rising in a subject I admire so much. 

Although there is a feeling of marginalisation in the community of drama as a whole because many South Asian actors being rejected and stereotyped in the media, I can argue that I still feel extremely welcomed by the drama and theatre studies course that my college teaches, and that my culture is appreciated and acknowledged. 

By the continuation of this, I hope to see an increase of South Asian students following careers in creative industries, therefore releasing the shame and hate that may occur to students as a result.