In January 2013, the International Centre for Women Playwrights announced the first annual 50/50 Applause Award, which recognized five American theaters that produced 2011/2012 seasons that featured plays written by women in 50% of the slots. The purpose of the award is to recognize “those theatre companies who see gender parity as more than a desired goal.” The awardees include: Cleveland Public Theatre (Cleveland, OH); Little Colonel Theatre (Pee Wee Valley, KY); Nora Theater (Cambridge, MA); Playwrights Horizons (New York, NY); and Symmetry Theatre (Berkeley, CA).
In related news, Guerilla Girls On Tour published a blog post today criticizing the 50/50 Applause awardees, because it appears that only one of five companies (Symmetry) is offering a 2012/2013 season that demonstrates similar gender parity (note: one commenter debates GGOT’s math for Cleveland Public Theatre). GGOT laments: “I guess giving awards doesn’t help.”
The question of the value and potential impact of a theatrical gender parity award is relevant to a conversation the Yeah. I Said Feminist Theatre Salon crew has been having about launching the Wattage Award (Women Applauding Theatre That Advocates Gender Equity) to recognize artists and theatre companies in the San Francisco/Bay Area that are committed to putting women and their stories center-stage. Perhaps this subject might be a good topic of debate for the upcoming Theatre Bay Area Annual Conference, which brings us to our next news item…
TBA Gets the Message
Theatre Bay Area has recently announced plans to make gender parity a focus for the 2013 TBA Annual Conference as part of a week-long effort that will include a national public forum about gender parity on the HowlRound blog. This responsiveness to concerns voiced by San Francisco/Bay Area women theater artists (who make up the majority of TBA membership) is very encouraging, and may be partially due to a grassroots email campaign undertaken at the beginning of 2013 which flooded TBA staff members’ inboxes with emails requesting that gender parity be a significant (rather than side-note) topic for this year’s conference on April 29th. Read the full text of TBA Executive Director Brad Erickson’s March/April Note, where he acknowledges that “the issues surrounding gender parity in our field are real, they are serious, and they need to be confronted specifically and systematically.”
The Fourth Messenger, a musical written by Tanya Shaffer, with music by Vienna Teng, that asks: What if the Buddha were a woman? And what if she were alive today? Featuring performances by Bekka Fink, Anna Ishida, Simone Kertesz, Annemaria Rajala*, Cathleen Riddley*, and Alexis Wong, with costume design by Fumiko Bielefeldt, orchestration by Robin Reynolds, and choreography by Bridgette Loriaux. Check out the show with the Works by Women San Francisco Meetup Group on Thursday 2/21 @ 7pm, or catch another show during the run – thru March 10th at Ashby Stage in Berkeley. Tickets are selling out, so get yours here soon.
You Know When the Men Are Gone, a Word for Word staging of two interconnected short stories by Siobhan Fallon about the homefront during the Iraq war. Featuring performances by Arwen Anderson*, Roselynn Hallett, Marilet Martinez, and direction by Amy Kossow. Through February 24th at ZSpace. Get tickets here.
Ophelia, a dance/theater meditation on this timeless character created by Carte Blanche Company. Featuring performance by Marie Walburg Plouviez and direction by Charline Formenty. February 22 & 23 only @ 8pm at the Garage (715 Bryant Street, SF). Get tickets here.
Note: Special Thanks to Patricia Milton and Amy Clare Tasker for alerting WWSF to the stories above.