Counting Actors: August 2018 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


August’s count includes 10 shows, bringing the total shows counted by the project to 1079 shows.

Here are the stats:

Screenshot (80)


Playwrights = 20; 6 women and 14 men.

Directors = 13; 2 women and 11 men.

Union Actors = 21; 6 women and 15 men.

Non-Union Actors = 130; 68 women, 60 men, 2 trans/non-binary.

Total Actors = 151; 74 women, 75 men, 2 trans/non-binary; 21 Union and 130 Non Union; 150 Local and 1 Non-Local.

Note: the trans/non-binary category counts artists who self-identify with pronouns other than he/she such as they, zhe, hir etc.  Artists who use she/herpronouns are included in the ‘women’ group and those who use he/him pronouns are included in the ‘men’ group.

Shows included in the August count:

  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Woodminster) Note: male director, male music director are both included as director and male writer music, male lyrics writer both included as writer. Children’s chorus not included in this count.
  • War of the Roses (California Shakespeare Theater) Note: this is an edited text of 4 Shakespeare plays – the 3 henry 6s and RIII – 3 writers credited on project are Shakespeare plus 2 adaptors – male adaptor is also director, and female adaptor is also dramaturg; female actors playing many male roles in this production including Gloucester, Winchester and sons of York characters.
  • Kiss (Shotgun Players)
  • Woman on Fire (Those Women Productions)
  • Washed Up on the Potomac (SF Playhouse) Note: 5 actors on this project are given different roles to play every night based on random selection
  • Caesar Maximus (WE Players) Note: 2 writers credited on this project – 1 is shakespeare, 2nd is ‘adaptor’ of material, who is also credited as asst. director.  Musicians on this project are not included in this count. Female actor in role of Caesar.
  • Pirates of Penzance (Lamplighters)  Note: male director and music director are both counted as director. 2 male writers 1 book/lyrics, one music both counted as writer. 3 roles in this project are doublecast and all actors are included
  • Come Here Often (Left Coast Theater) Note: multiple short plays so 3 m 2 f writers
  • Spring Awakening (Left Hand Productions) Note: male director and music director 2 m writers one book/lyrics one music
  • 448 Psychosis (Anton’s Well)

Thank you so very much to the audience, cast members and artistic staff who used the Counting Actors form to contribute show info this month, including Matt Weimer, Anne Hallinan, and Karen Thomson Hall.

Please share these numbers with your colleagues and use them to start conversations in the green room, the lobby or your favorite theater focused social media group.  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 to support women theatermakers of the Bay Area?  Join Works by Women SF on September 16th at African-American Shakespeare Festival’s production of ‘for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf’ by Ntozake Shange.  Info about the meetup is here.

Want to learn more? Visit the Women in the Arts and Media Coalition website and check out their studies page.  You’ll find links to regional, national and international data on representation of women artists in theater, film/tv, literary arts and more, including ‘Not Even, A Gender Analysis of 500 San Francisco/Bay Area Theatrical Productions 2011-2014 from the Counting Actors Project’.   This report, commissioned by WomenArts, compiled data from this project to study trends over time.  WWSF’s article about the report, including links to report graphics, key findings and raw data, can be found here.

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



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3 responses to “Counting Actors: August 2018 Statistics

  1. I hope that come October the women of Equity will have the same number of union contracts as the men. Still, I like to see things are at least close — as always, Valerie, thanks for the thought-provoking research.

    • YIPES, did I misread these stats — apologies, just drank my coffee. This is lousy. Thank you nonetheless, Valerie, for sharing this stuff. Jeez.

      • I hope that folks who are a little more tangential to the industry will realize that having larger numbers of non-AEA women is both a plus and a minus. Yes, women are working but more of them are choosing to work without union benefits such as the health insurance and pension contribution. Or another way to read this: producers and those who hire actors choosing to place more financial value in the male actors they hire than female or trans (I’ve yet to count a trans union member for this project….).

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