Counting Actors: October 2016 Statistics

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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


October’s count includes 15 shows, bringing the total shows counted by the project to 817 shows.

Here are the stats:

Oct 2016


Playwrights = 23; 8 women and 15 men

Directors = 24; 11 women and 13 men.

Union Actors = 27; 9 women and 18 men.

Non-Union Actors = 88; 1 trans, 27 women and 60 men.

Total Actors = 115; 1 trans, 36 women and 78 men; 27 Union and 88 Non Union; 107 Local and 8 Non-Local.

Note: Counting Actors counts theater artists who self-identify with a non-binary pronoun like they, zhe, or hir in the category of ‘trans’.  Usually this is in a program bio, but if I’m not sure, I’ll look for personal websites and/or interviews.

Shows included in the October count:

  • The Birds (Symmetry Theatre and Blue Panther Productions) Note: adapted from short story by female author, who is not counted here
  • Into the Beautiful North (Central Works) Note: adapted from novel by male author, who is not counted here
  • Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (Center REP)
  • 1776 (Contra Costa Musical Theatre) Note: male director, female music director; two male writers, one book, one music/lyrics
  • By the Waters of Babylon Note: produced by the union actor involved under the Member Project Code so no production company listed
  • The Shipment (Crowded Fire Theater) Note: two women listed as co-directors
  • Caught (Shotgun Players)
  • Nogales (Magic Theatre)
  • Outside Mullingar (TheatreWorks)
  • Seared (San Francisco Playhouse) Note: 3  non-union understudies 2 m, 1 f not included in this count)
  • Peter and the Starcatcher (Berkeley Playhouse) Note: Male director, male music director, two male writers one adaptor from novel, one music
  • Casa Valentina (New Conservatory Theatre Center)
  • Avant Gard-a-Rama (Cutting Ball Theater) Note: an evening of short pieces ranging from scripted to devised.  Each piece had 1 director or director/choreographer (4 m, 3 w), but some were single writer, co-written, or had no credited playwright.  3 m, 4w writers
  • Macbeth (Arabian Shakespeare Festival)
  • Taken (Southern Railroad Theatre Company and 3Girls Theatre Company and Entropy Productions)

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, Karen Thomson Hall, Anne Hallinan, and Susan Jackson.

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 November 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 November will go up between December 1st and December 5th.



2 responses to “Counting Actors: October 2016 Statistics

  1. Thank you, as always, Valerie, for keeping me on my toes. It’s been a busy time for me and I haven’t been going to as many shows as I would like. You’re making me reaffirm my commitment to going to see plays by women, plays directed by women, plays with lots of women performers — and plays with lots of women techs. I appreciate the motivation.

    • If you want, Evie, join us on Nov 5th for the Works by Women SF meetup to see Terra Incognita, produced by DIVAFest at the Exit – info is in the sidebar on the left

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