And still we march.

January 20, 2018

I couldn’t make it to the Women’s March today. So here is my contribution to the march towards equality; a year-long survey that we’ve researched through internet searches, program investigation, personal reports, and crowdsourcing. Many thanks are due to Jules Odendahl-James, who helped devise the study and collect data, Byron Woods, who allowed me access to his collection of past programs, Pasty Sibley, who aided in creating the survey format and advised on research techniques, Nick Popio, Savannah Core, Elizabeth Newton, Matt Morain, and many others who spent hours entering information into the database. This is the culmination of a group project that has taken the time and energy of many, and I am grateful for it. 

 

I want these numbers to be as factual as possible. I’m aware that this is a living document. I want to give every theatre the credit for equality that they deserve. If you see a mistake in this document, please change it yourself, and alert me immediately. We are in this together. Our goal is to achieve a 50/50 playwright and director gender distribution by the year 2020.

 

Triangle Artistic Directors, take a look at these numbers, and ask yourselves, "Can I make a commitment to equality?" Can I deliberately hire more women and non-binary directors? Can I make a point of choosing women and non-binary writers? Particularly women of color? If you are ready to do that, please take and publicly post the pledge at the bottom of your screen. If you need some help with these goals, the Women’s Theatre Festival will assist with finding plays and musicals that fit your season and aid you in locating talented directors. Please email info@womenstheatrefestival.com for assistance. Our AD and MD will personally drop everything to assist you. We want to be on your side.  #50by2020

 

In the past six years, 366 productions were put on stage in the below-listed theatre companies. Only 64 of those were shows were written by a woman.  (Children’s productions not included) 

 

 

 

The numbers below represent how many plays had at least one woman on the writing team/how many plays that company has produced in the past six years:  (Children’s productions not included)

 

Playmakers REP:            20/45=44% women writers

Justice Theatre Project:    11/25=44% women writers

NCSU Theatrefest:          6/15=40% women writers

Manbites Dog:             11/29=37% women writers

Burning Coal:                  9/31=29% women writers

Theatre Raleigh:              7/30=23% women writers

Cary Players:                   5/24=21% women writers

NRACT:                          7/40=18% women writers

Raleigh Little Theatre:      8/46=17% women writers

Theatre in the Park:         6/40=15% women writers

 

 

Women directors did not fare much better.  Out of the 366 productions put on stage by these companies in the past six years, only 110 non-children’s shows were directed by a woman.

The numbers below represent how many plays had at least one woman on the directing team/how many plays that company has produced in the past six years:  (Children’s productions not included)

 

Justice Theatre Project:    18/25=72% women directors    Goal MET!!!! Hooray!!!!

NCSU Theatrefest:           10/15=67% women directors    Goal MET!!!! Hooray!!!!

Burning Coal:                  14/31=45% women directors

NRACT:                        17/40=43% women directors

Playmakers REP:             19/45=42% women directors

Cary Players:                  10/24=42% women directors

Manbites Dog:                  8/29=28% women directors

Theatre Raleigh:                8/25=23% women directors

Raleigh Little Theatre:        8/46=17% women directors

Theatre in the Park:           4/36=11% women directors

 

Where do we get our numbers? Have a look at our Triangle Demographics survey here. And if you would like to help us update it with knowledge of your own, please do so. Red spaces indicate where information is missing. With your help, we could soon have accurate percentages of lighting designers, set designers, sound, costumes, and even cast breakdowns. As soon as that information set is complete, we will publish those results as well. 

 

Shoutouts to:

 

Vivienne Benech, who won an award for choosing 50% women playwrights this season, and is gearing up to do the same for next season. 

https://www.playmakersrep.org/history-happening-playmakers/

 

Jerome Davis, for starting an initiative to hire more women directors in the triangle.

https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/project-for-women-directors-sabotaged-by-a-one-mans-complaint-af4bb251fe8

 

Justice Theatre Project, for hiring 72% women directors over a 6 year span.

 

NCSU Theatrefest, for hiring 67% women directors over a 6 year span.

 

Burning Coal, for hiring 100% women directors for the 2017-2018 season. 

 

NRACT, for improving their women director hiring rate to 50% for both the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 season. 

 

Jules Odendahl-James, who had been collecting data like this on her own for many years, and was an invaluable resource.

 

 

Caveats:

Raleigh Little Theatre, Cary Players, and NRACT's women playwright and director numbers would rise somewhat if children's theatre were included. Few other theatres produce children's programming. Feel free to look at our source document if you would like to see children's theatre numbers included.  

 

Little Green Pig and Bare Theatre were also surveyed, but not included in this assessment, because it was very difficult to discern who wrote many of LGP's pieces, and Bare Theatre produces 90% Shakespearian productions, so it was felt that their numbers would skew the results to make outcomes look even dimmer for women in the triangle.  Their numbers are, however, included in our source document, which you are welcome to inspect. 

 

Seed Art Share gave us some gender demographic information, too, but because it didn't go back to 2012, we have not included it.  

 

We concentrated on groups that consistently produced three or more shows per year since 2012, which is why Honest Pint, Tiny Engine, Black Ops, and many other smaller and newer companies don't have data listed.  As our study continues, we would like to gather data about these groups as well. Anyone who wants to tackle that project, we'd love to partner with you. Please contact us at info@womenstheatrefestival.com

 

Deep Dish's numbers are not included in this document because they permanently closed recently. Same with Common Ground.  Manbites announced their closure after their numbers were almost complete, so we continued with them and included them.

 

DPAC and other venues that host touring companies are not included here because I did not have time to include them, and their staffs are vast. People have expressed interest in doing at least a tech survey of gender demographics for places like DPAC. Anyone who wants to tackle that project, we'd love to partner with you. Please contact us at info@womenstheatrefestival.com

 

University theatres are not included because I didn't have the time or bandwidth to get to them yet. Anyone who wants to tackle that project, we'd love to partner with you. Please contact us at info@womenstheatrefestival.com

 

NCSU's Theatrefest wasn't considered a university theatre, because even though it is university-affiliated, it receives public money, and casts from the community at large. 

 

All of these numbers are gathered in ways that are imperfect. In fact, all data in every survey ever published is gathered in ways that are imperfect. I do not have an estimation of our margin of error. These numbers are accurate to the best of my knowledge, and if any data is inaccurate, please inform us ASAP, and we will fix and update both the survey and this post as soon as we can. 

 

TAKE THE PLEDGE

 

I, (Artistic Director's name here) hereby pledge to ensure that by the first show of my 2020-2021 season, the number of women and/or non-binary directors hired for (insert company name here) will be equal to or greater than the number of male directors hired for (insert company name here)

 

I furthermore pledge to ensure that by the first show of my 2020-2021 season, the number of women and/or non-binary playwrights selected for (insert company name here) will be equal to or greater than the number of male playwrights selected for (insert company name here)

 

I understand that by consciously striving towards gender equality, and by reaching these goals, that I will receive the official public endorsement and formal thanks of the Women's Theatre Festival.

 

Name:________________________________________

Date:__________________________________________

 

 

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