Ahead of this weekend’s Pride celebrations the incredible cast of Olivier Award-winning Kinky Boots teamed up with MasterCard to promote inclusion, diversity and acceptance in the workplace.
As headline sponsor of the Olivier Awards and West End LIVE, MasterCard is a huge supporter of London theatre and this weekend, for the first time, a group of 50 MasterCard employees will march in the Pride in London Parade, the biggest LGBT+ parade in the UK. Setting off from Portland Place and moving down Regent Street and through the West End until they reach Whitehall Place, they’ll be donning #acceptancematters t-shirts to show their support.
Last week Kinky Boots cast members Killian Donnelly (Charlie) and Arun Blair-Mangat (Angel, understudy Lola) dropped into the MasterCard offices in Canary Wharf to talk with staff about why diversity and acceptance are so valued in the theatre industry and central to their show’s inspiring true story.
Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the shoe factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in the need of some sturdy new stilettos.
Phil Down, of MasterCard’s Pride Business Resource Group, said, “It was amazing to have the Kinky boots team visit our office to assist with our Pride in London: living life with #nofilter event. It caused a lot of excitement before and a great buzz after the event. It gave our staff a Priceless experience. Everyone who attended enjoyed the event immensely and it helped us increase membership of our Pride group by 35%, as well as lots of people eager to see the show. Thanks again to the Kinky Boots team. MasterCard will be walking with Pride on Saturday to show London that diversity is at our core.”
Killian and Arun said of their work with MasterCard, “It is so great to see huge corporations like MasterCard taking the necessary steps to ensure that their LGBT staff members can just be themselves in their working environments. We’re very lucky that the arts is an open and welcoming industry for all and it’s amazing to see other industries following.”
This year’s Pride campaign asks you to do something very simple: live your life as you. MasterCard’s employee Pride group is keen to ensure that their colleagues and cardholders hear this wonderful message and hope that they can help put an end to LGBT+ people filtering their behaviour or hiding who they are.
So, whether you’re wearing a pair of thigh-high red stiletto boots or sensible office shoes, be proud, be bold, be you. #nofilter
Kinky Boots will be performing on this year’s Pride in Trafalgar Square stage at 12.15pm on Saturday 25 June. The show plays at the Adelphi Theatre and is booking until 14 January 2017. You can buy tickets through us here.
More information on Pride in London’s #nofilter campaign can be found here.
To find out more about MasterCard’s theatre offers for cardholders visit Priceless London.
By Andy Glynn