Supporting creative work by women
Julie Crosby (Producing Artistic Director, Women’s Project), Melody Brooks (Artistic Director, New Perspectives Theatre Company) and Susan Jonas (co-author with Suzanne Bennett of the ‘2002 NYSCA Report on the Status of Women in Theatre,’ on faculty at Ithaca College) launched 50/50 in 2020, a grassroots effort to achieve pay and opportunity for female theatre artists, last August at the Julia Miles Theater in New York City. Currently, fewer than 20% of the professional production opportunities for playwrights, directors and designers are awarded to women. On that steamy summer evening, Julie, Melody, and Susan hosted a panel discussion, talkback, and brainstorming breakout session to gameplan ways to increase women’s participation in professional production opportunities. For their efforts, NYTheatre.com named them People of the Year 2009.
After the meeting, Ludovica Villar-Hauser (Board Member, League of Professional Theatre Women) started Works by Women, a group dedicated to supporting work written, directed and/or designed by women. Since October, the group has met regularly, attending up to six shows a month. Our goals include (1) expanding the initiative to a national/world event to support the idea of pay and opportunity parity for women by 2020, (2) encouraging theaters to produce more works created, directed and designed by women and (3) educating the public about women’s work.
It seems that now is the perfect time to begin our blog. On May 16th, The New York Times ran “Disappointing Broadway Women,” an article that details the lack of female representation on the Great White Way. It’s a must read. Out of the 22 new and revived plays this season, only four were written by women. Less than 5%. This is why Works by Women was created. We are voting with our time and money, letting producers and arts organizations know that we value women’s work.
We envision this blog to be an extension of the group — an opportunity to highlight new productions, news and information about women in other artistic fields. Expect to hear from group founder Ludovica Villar-Hauser, the group’s co-organizers (Helen Stern & Lanie Zipoy), and female and male artists. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, check out Works by Women on Meetup.com, and join us.