Counting Actors: August Statistics

2016 CA Banner

The 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


August’s count includes 12 shows, bringing the total shows counted by the project to 786 shows.

Here are the stats:

Screenshot (2)


Playwrights = 13; 4 women and 9 men

Directors = 12; 10 women and 2 men.

Union Actors = 29; 11 women and 18 men.

Non-Union Actors = 68; 41 women and 27 men.

Total Actors = 97; 52 women and 45 men; 29 Union and 68 Non Union; 92 Local and 5 Non-Local.

Shows included in the August count:

  • Romeo and Juliet (We Players) Note: several roles in this production that are traditionally male roles are played by women, and Capulet is a combination of both Lord and Lady Capulet’s text, played by a woman.
  • Emmitt & Ava(Firescape Theater at Beverly Hills Playhouse) Note: playwright and director are same person
  • Margaret of Anjou (Those Women Productions) Note: this play has two playwrights 1 male (Shakespeare) and 1 female (Lauren Janssen-Parkes). Lauren has taken scenes from Shakespeare that feature Margaret and rearranged them to focus on her story.  She has written additional material to connect moments and flesh out Margaret’s story.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (Shelton Theater) Note: 2 actors alternate the role of ‘young man’ and are both included in this count
  • You Never Can Tell (California Shakespeare Theater)
  • Campo Maldito (People of Interest & The Exit)
  • The Thrush and the Woodpecker (Custom Made Theatre Company)
  • The Awakening (The Breadbox)
  • Confederates (TheatreWorks)
  • Hearts of Palm (Central Works)
  • The Tempest & Persuasion (Livermore Shakespeare Festival) Note: some doublecasting of actors across these two productions, but not for union members. In Tempest, some traditionally male roles played by female actors – Stephano and ‘Sebastienne’

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 Matt Weimer, Patricia Milton, Maria Leigh and Karen Thomson Hall.  

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 September 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 September will go up between October 1st and October 5th.



4 responses to “Counting Actors: August Statistics

  1. Hurray for the women directors and the non-union women actors — All this is lovely news. Of course as a playwright, I shake my head — and those equity contracts are still going to mostly guys. Congrats, as always, Valerie for being such a remarkable actor, and still taking the time to pull these numbers together.
    I’m wondering if at ACT’s women’s leadership event, there were stats about women on boards, women board chairs — and women having leadership roles, women as managing and artistic directors, etc. Any news on these, um, roles in theatre — in the bay area and beyond?

  2. Valerie, thanks so much for that link. Yes, the “more money less women” reality is a real drag.

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s