Feminist Theater News is a news round-up curated by Christine Young (creator of WWSF). If you have news or shows to see that should be included please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
#Waking the Feminists: Equality for Women in Irish Theatre
#Waking the Feminists is a burgeoning movement for gender equality in Irish theatre which has emerged in response to the release of the Abbey Theatre’s centenary season called “Waking The Nation” on October 28th. The stats for the season are depressingly familiar: only one out of ten plays was penned by a female playwright, and only three productions are slated to be directed by women in a season that the theatre says is intended to “reflect on our past, the Ireland of today and of the future.”
#Waking The Feminists started as a social media campaign demanding an explanation from the Abbey Theatre’s Board regarding the unconscious bias reflected in the season. The Board responded with a statement acknowledging that the programme “does not represent gender equality” and approved a request to hold a debate in the theatre itself on the subject. Twitter has buzzed with activity on the movement’s hashtag, #WakingTheFeminists, bringing more awareness to the gender equality movement. The public forum held at the Abbey Theatre last week was well-attended and involved many attendees speaking about their experiences of being sidelined and underrepresented in theatre, their anger at the patriarchal status quo, and their determination to help bring about change. You can read more about what’s happening in Dublin here, here and here.
”Waitress” Poised to Make Broadway History
The NYT theater scene is already buzzing with excitement about the musical Waitress, and it hasn’t even made it to the stage yet! The musical is set to make Broadway history with a female-dominant artistic team: Sara Bareilles (composter), Jessie Nelson (book writer), Lorin Latarro (choreographer) and Diane Paulus (director). Tony-award winner Paulus notes, “the fact that it’s the first time across these four departments is an amazing moment.” There is already talk of the musical being a watershed for the gender-parity movement that will hopefully encourage commercial producers to hire more talented female artists on Broadway and elsewhere.
Playwrights Challenge Lack of Women on UK Theater Tests
UK-based playwrights Timberlake Wertenbaker and Jessica Swale are vocally protesting a proposed revision to the list of play texts being used in the British A-level exams in Drama. The new play text list, which would be implemented in fall 2016, features only three female playwrights out of 21 writers. Swale commented: “When I was at school I assumed Caryl Churchill and Timberlake Wertenbaker were the only female playwrights – they were the only women ever spoken about, and yet I could have written you a list of 50 famous male writers. I have never, in my whole drama education, studied a play by a woman. Isn’t that shocking?”