Yesterday, The Fairy Princess woke up and watched, via Internet, one of the more interesting and well acted pieces she has ever seen, via Internet, at The Edinburgh Fringe.

It is called “Every Dollar is a Soldier/With Money You’re A Dragon “ and it was a commissioned piece by the Arts Council England, hosted by Chinese Arts Now, written by TFP‘s overseas ‘brother from another mother’, Daniel York Loh – it mixed gaming tech, newly composed music with British East Asian musicians, dance, and drama – and frankly, it was enthralling.

Coming off that delightful piece, imagine how dismayed TFP was this morning to see that the Royal Botanical Garden’s Kew Garden’s location was producing The Wind In the Willows, which is a production paid for by British tax dollars – just as “Every Dollar is a Solider”, only with a much more troubling result.

See if you can guess why TFP would be upset – and keep in mind – these performances are in a public park and designed for children….

What could TFP possibly be annoyed about in this scenario?

Well, first – this is a story about animals.

Thus there is no need for Edwardian or Victorian (aka white white white faces only ) mores and that esthetic should not have made their way into a public park.

England honestly does not look like that anymore, and more to the point – their children do not look like that anymore.

If this is paid for by the tax payers, and the goal is to educate and delight children, how do you justify this?

Especially when this is the makeup that the actors are wearing?

Pretty sure greenface does not have an ethnic component.

This is how they are ‘selling it’ at the Kew Gardens:

Let TFP get this straight – it is about animals, it is magical, it is interactive, and there are no People of Color in this show that was directed by, it must be said, a white man?

This is when TFP does get mad – not at the actors cast, she gets mad at the people in charge.

This is the Director who did this, and it is to him that TFP directs this knowledge.

Sir, please look at this graph, about the population of the U.K. and tell us how your production serves the children of London.

TFP got this graph off of the official government site, and she also screen shot this little nugget of information:

40.2% of London is not white.

40.2% of the children that come to see your show, will not see images of themselves, in any way.

Which means they will feel, on some level, excluded from this oh so very English story.

This show, set in the beautiful Kew Gardens in Southwest London, is designed to ‘save’ the examples of biodiversity that exist, that is their mission – watch:

Isn’t it hypocritical in a place devoted to biodiversity, that there is no diversity on the stage? A stage set in the middle of a park to educate – and yet, what is going on there? Examples of privilege. Examples of exclusion.

Perhaps some of the kids, not seeing themselves on the stage will, like Daniel York Loh, grow up and create really brilliant theater. Daniel HAD to do that – and of course others like Lucy Miller Sheen and Madame Miaow and all the very amazing East and Southeast and South Asian talent – well, the BAME talent you have over there – they HAD to do this because from the GO – from when they were CHILDREN, people like YOU excluded them from the story.

This production is actively hurting the psychological development of 40.2% of your audience, and their Parents who have to ‘explain’ all this when they get home – because of blindness and lack of forethought.

Theaters should reflect their audiences. More people would come

Oh but wait, you say – Kew Gardens has a Japanese Garden installation in August.

So what?

It’s framed as Japanese Gardens, no?

Which is not British.

It’s like The Mikado in a garden – you will showcase all the wonder and creativity of the Japanese concepts of gardening and proportion, but as it is ‘foreign’, it will likely not touch the feelings of belonging that British East, South and Southeast Asians and others in the BAME group need to feel.

That work should start in childhood.

We collectively have a real shot at making the world more accessible and inclusive for our kids, and theater for children is one of the ways in which we do that.

Just think of it this way – whatever your thoughts on Megan and Harry – think about Archie and Lilibet – if THEY came to see your show, would they see anyone on the stage that looked like their Mummy? Would they see anyone on the stage that looked like the friends of their parents or the kids they will attend school with? Or their honorary American Aunties and Uncles? Or the diverse people that attended their parents’ wedding?

No, they wouldn’t.

Seems to TFP, a ‘Royal’ Garden should do better than that, doesn’t it?

When you see what taxpayer dollars can encourage – like the interactive piece “Every Dollar is a Soldier/With Money You’re A Dragon” and how progressive that is, and then you see something like the cast of The Wind In The Willows – which ignores 40.2% of the London population, but proclaims their own genius at education and diversity – well, one step forward and ten back, innit?

TFP fines you 1,000 whacks of the wand and for heaven’s sake – go to diversity training, ya wankers!

TFP out.