Supporting creative work by women
Show me the numbers. That’s right. How are women represented in creative positions in theater? There’s awareness and debates around this issue nationwide. In fact, The Kilroys, the rocking collective of women playwrights, has drawn significant attention to plays by women that should be produced. In just two years, its List of un- or under-produced plays by women playwrights has made huge waves in the industry. The hashtag #parityraid regularly shines a spotlight on the fact that in any given year, less than 20% of the plays produced around the country are written by women.
Alexis Soloski recently wrote about the current Broadway and Off-Broadway season in New York in The Guardian. Her take: things are not better for women playwrights. And the scene is even worse for playwrights of color.
And, in New York Magazine’s profile of 45 plays and musicals this fall season, only nine of them (some finagling was required) could be categorized as created by women. That’s 20%. More of the same.
Why is it hard to imagine theater being more inclusive? With stories written by people from different backgrounds, worldviews and with characters who are also diverse. What does it take for someone to care? To turn the tide for producers? for theatergoers? for actors? And for those advocating on behalf of women playwrights to also know that moving the goal line should feel like a collaborative effort and include playwrights of color?
Having articles like the one in The Guardian highlights the problem, but action is needed now more than ever. Or next year, we will be in the same place, reading the same articles about the dismal state of representation in theater, and watching plays that are once again not emblematic of this wonderful country we live in.