A FIVE-YEAR goal to support 500 Black people into and “up” in Scotland’s creative industries has been launched.

While Scottish-Rwandan actor Ncuti Gatwa (below) has made headlines as being the first Black Doctor Who, there is still ­“significant underrepresentation and misrepresentation” of Black people within the arts sector.

Yet the talent is there, as was made clear when Amazon Prime asked ­charity Be United to help find 200 Black actors for their new ­adaptation of the Neil Garman novel Anansi Boys.

The National: Ncuti Gatwa arrives for the premiere of Doctor Who. His introductory scene has been nominated for a TV Bafta (Ian West/PA)

“We built a database of more than 1000 people so that really speaks to the ­interest of the people wanting to work in the sector,” said Be United ­executive director Emma Sithole. “There are more Black people ­working, or wanting to work in the creative industries, than some may think there are.”

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That applies to every aspect of the arts – creating, performing, producing, working behind the scenes and in leadership positions – and it is why Be United has set the five-year goal to support 500 people into or “up” the arts scene in Scotland.

If successful, Sithole (below) points out that it will lead to Scotland being a “much richer cultural nation”.

The National: Emma Sithole.

“The benefit of our work is ­immense because the whole cultural landscape in Scotland becomes so much more vibrant and rich when there is a huge diversity of people, voices being heard and of work being produced,” she said.

Be United delivers a series of ­programmes to support, develop and showcase Black creative talent in Scotland, working with ­organisations across the country including ­Edinburgh International Festival, Fruitmarket, STV Studios, Amazon Studios, Creative Scotland and The Royal Lyceum Theatre, among others, and is keen to partner with more organisations.

One of Be United’s programmes centres on event management for people working behind the scenes and it is intended to turn this into an accredited course which will run online to achieve a wider reach.

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There is also a creative partnerships project that brings Black creatives from all the recognised industries in Scotland together to encourage ­collaborations and connections.

“We are creating a collaborative web and we would like to see more people at the top of arts organisations in paid roles and on boards,” said Sithole.

The launch of the five-year goal comes alongside the appointment of four new board members, ­including Scottish Mauritian Veronique AA Lapeyre (below).

The National: Initiative aims to bring 500 Black creatives into cultural industries

“As someone of mixed heritage ­assuming this role, I am deeply moved by the opportunity to ­represent and uplift the voices of our diverse community alongside a fully BPOC [Black and People of Colour] board,” she said.

“Our organisation’s mission to ­advocate, nurture and ­champion Black people working in the ­performing arts, screen and events sectors resonates profoundly with me, and I am committed to ­ensuring that our leadership reflects the rich tapestry of identities within our midst.

“Together, we will harness the power of our shared experiences, perspectives, and strengths to drive meaningful change and address the unique challenges facing our community.”

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She added that she was excited to lead at a “pivotal” moment for Be United which would “ignite a new era of changemaking and impact” by supporting Black Scottish creatives and producers to achieve their ambitions.

“With dedication, empathy, and collective effort, we will empower our community and make a tangible difference in the lives of those we ­support,” she said.

Other new trustees are Olubukola Popoola, Ben Chinchen and Louis Parker-Evans.

Sithole said it was a “significant” moment for Be United which was set up in 2014 and has steadily grown.

“The diversity of skills, ­experience and perspectives on our ­board ­enriches our organisation and ­ultimately our work,” she said.

“Our board continues to be reflective of the communities that we seek to serve – this remains of paramount importance to us, and the development we as an organisation have undergone in the past 12 months is a testament to the drive and ambition that we have to positively impact and influence the Scottish cultural sectors.

“We are in a very strong position, which will ensure we can continue to meet the challenges and opportunities that come with our work and continued growth.”

Sithole said this meant that Be United would reach further across Scotland with its programmes and launch new elements of its creative programme to reach and work with more Black creatives.