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.
November’s count includes 13 shows, bringing the total shows counted by the project to 830 shows.
Here are the stats:
Playwrights = 19; 6 women and 13 men
Directors = 19; 8 women and 11 men.
Union Actors = 26; 11 women and 15 men.
Non-Union Actors = 66; 1 trans, 34 women and 31 men.
Total Actors = 92; 1 trans, 45 women and 46 men; 26 Union and 66 Non Union; 85 Local and 7 Non-Local.
Shows included in the November count:
- The Hard Problem (American Conservatory Theater) Note: 4 understudies on this project are not included in this count – their breakdown is 2 union men, 1 union woman, 1 non-union woman
- Left Coast News (Left Coast Productions) Note: 6 short pieces – actors play multiple roles across pieces, directors are 4m, 1f (one m directs two pieces); writers are 4f, 3 male (one piece co written m/f team). Many artists wear more than one hat – writer/actor, actor/director, or all 3
- Last Tiger in Haiti (Berkeley Repertory Theatre)
- Black River Falls (Performers Under Stress)
- Terra Incognita (DIVAFest) Note: 2 women listed as co-creators in program are counted as directors
- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Shotgun Players)
- Seussical (Bay Area Children’s Theatre) Note: male director, female music director, writing team of 1 male 1 female for book/music/lyrics. TYA version
- Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat (Golden Thread Productions)
- Red Demon (Theatre of Yugen)
- King Lear (San Francisco Theater Pub)
- Safe House (Aurora Theatre Company)
- Rapture Blister Burn (Custom Made Theatre Company)
- All Aunt Hagar’s Children (Word for Word) Note: credited playwright is author of short story – this company adapts fiction verbatim
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 Sheila Devitt, Stacy Ross, Cassidy Brown, Matt Weimer, Karen Thomson Hall, Anne Hallinan, and Scott Ragle.
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 December 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!
A brief note on trans representation and Counting Actors: for the purposes of Counting Actors, which primarily relies on audience members to collect data from shows they’ve seen, artists are counted based on pronoun preferences. To be counted trans, I look for an artist who prefers to be referred to by a non-binary pronoun (zhe/hir/they etc.) Typically, this is in a program bio, but occasionally I glean the info via interviews or other forms of journalism or by questioning artists on the show who I know personally. I realize this is an imperfect system, but it’s been the system I’ve used consistently for this project. Trans actors are in both the October and November count not because I’ve ‘just started’ counting trans artists, but because of the less frequent representation of trans artists on Bay Area stages.
Want some bigger picture info? Visit the ‘Studies’ page on the Women in the Arts and Media Coalition website for links to gender parity studies regionally, nationally and internationally in theater, television, film and other media. including a link to: ‘Not Even, A Gender Analysis of 500 San Francisco/Bay Area Theatrical Productions 2011-2014 from the Counting Actors Project’.
Statistics for December will go up between January 1st and January 5th.