Counting Actors Project: May Statistics

2016 CA BannerThe Counting Actors Project is managed by Bay Area actor Valerie Weak, and began in June 2011 on her own blog. Works by Women San Francisco began hosting the project in February 2014. The archive of all past posts can be found here.

 General information about the project, as well as selection criteria for shows and a show submission form are here.

MAY 2016
May’s count includes 15 shows, bringing the total shows counted by the project to 754 shows.

May 2016 Stats.png

Here are the stats:

  • Playwrights = 26; 7 women and 18 men
  • Directors = 25; 10 women and 15 men.
  • Union Actors = 49; 16 women and 33 men.
  • Non-Union Actors = 114; 54 women and 60 men.
  • Total Actors = 163; 70 women and 93 men; 49 Union and 114 Non Union; 141 Local and 22 Non-Local.

Shows included in the May count:

  • A Dream Play (Cutting Ball Theater)
  • Rock of Ages (Center REP) Note: Female director, male music director both counted as directors; 1 male book writer counted as writer, but none of songwriters were counted for this jukebox musical
  • Jekyll & Hyde (Central Works)
  • Red Velvet (SF Playhouse) Note: 6 understudies – 3 male (1 union), 3 female (1 union) not included in this count
  • For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday (Berkeley Rep)
  • Antony & Cleopatra (African-American Shakespeare Company)
  • The Boy from Oz (Landmark Musical Theater) Note: male director, female music director, 3 male writers – 1 music/lyrics, 2 book, 2 young male actors alternate role of ‘young peter allen’ and are both included in this count
  • Six Degrees of Separation (Custom Made Theatre Company)
  • Treasure Island (Berkeley Repertory Theatre) Note: one female actor on this project played both female and male characters, also director and writer are same person and 2 actors credited as ‘musician’ are included in this count.
  • The How and the Why (Aurora Theatre Company)
  • The Most Dangerous Highway in the World (Golden Thread Productions) Note: I worked on this show as an acting coach for young performers in the cast
  • Most Happy Fella (42nd St Moon) Note: female director, male music director, one male writer for book/music/lyrics
  • The Mountaintop (Contra Costa Civic Theatre)
  • San Francisco Here I Come (Left Coast Productions) Note: An evening of seven short plays, all by different writers, and with different directors. Actors were in multiple pieces, and writers and directors also acted.
  • Gypsy (Contra Costa Musical Theater) Note: Female director, male music director, 3 male writers – 1 each book/music/lyrics

Thank you so very much to the audience members, cast, theater staff and production team members who used the Counting Actors form to contribute show info this month, including Karen Thomson Hall, Daniel Olson, Anne Hallinan, Radhika Rao, Nancy Cooper Frank, Brian Herndon, Matt Weimer, and Tiiu Rebane.

Please share these numbers with your colleagues and use them to start conversations on a break at rehearsal, the bar after the show, or in the lobby before they open the house. If you’re seeing or working on a show with June performances, go here to learn how to share the info with the project. It’s a quick and easy form that takes less than five minutes to fill out!

Want some bigger picture info? On April 28, 2015 as part of the international celebration of Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN Day, the Counting Actors project released ‘Not Even, A Gender Analysis of 500 San Francisco/Bay Area Theatrical Productions 2011-2014 from the Counting Actors Project’.

An article about the report, including links to report graphics, key findings and raw data, can be found here.   Please read and share the report as well.

This report was commissioned by WomenArts, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the visibility and employment of women artists in all art forms. As part of its mission, WomenArts maintains a Women’s Employment in the Arts webpage, which has links to studies of women’s employment in various art forms.

Statistics for June will go up between July 1st and July 5th.




2 responses to “Counting Actors Project: May Statistics

  1. Valerie, as always I grovel at your feet. Clearly Equity women actors and women playwrights need to do something to break through this thing. I know you’re an expert on the Union actor issue. As for the women playwright thing — considering the last three or four months — do you think people feel like they talked about it for a while so the problem is solved — or/and do you think it’s the feeling that a few more women feels like a whole lot more women even though it isn’t so people feel they don’t have to pay attention any more. Anyhow, bravo on bringing me news that, though bad, is thought-provoking.

    • Good questions Evy and thanks for the comment. I don’t know that I’m an expert on the Union actor issue – I think it’s thorny and complex and needs a lot of folks to buy in to it – more roles written for women, more producers deciding to do plays that have roles for women, more directors who prioritize casting Equity women, more skilled non union men, and more women willing to join the Union and essentially say ‘these are my negotiating minimums’. On the playwright front – I’m not sure what’s going on there – I think both of your theories are pretty good ones. It would be great to see audience members addressing companies with 7 or 8 play seasons and only 1 or 2 female playwrights and saying ‘I want more!’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s