Counting Actors: November 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

Before I get to the numbers for November, an announcement.  At the end of December 2018, after 7.5 years of counting data and logging over 1100 productions, I’ll be wrapping up the monthly reporting phase of this project.  Plans for reviewing and reporting on the collected data are in the works, but it’s too early to say more about what that will look like.


November’s count includes 9 shows, bringing the total shows counted by the project to 1107 shows.

Here are the stats:

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Playwrights = 18; 9 women and 9 men.

Directors = 14; 5 women and 9 men.

Union Actors = 36; 20 women and 16 men.

Non-Union Actors = 35; 20 women, 13 men, 2 trans/non-binary.

Total Actors = 71; 40 women, 29 men, 2 trans/non-binary; 36 Union and 35 Non Union; 64 Local and 7 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/her pronouns are included in the ‘women’ group and those who use he/him pronouns are included in the ‘men’ group.

Shows included in the November count:

  • The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley(Marin Theater Company) Note: co-written by two women
  • Everything is Illuminated (Aurora Theatre Company)
  • Dracula (Theatre Lunatico) Note: traditionally male characters of Renfield and Van Helsing played by women in this production
  • We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War (Golden Thread Productions)
  • Cardboard Piano (New Conservatory Theatre Center)
  • Tuck Everlasting (TheatreWorks) Note: male director and male music director,  4 writers breaks down as 1 male music 1 male lyrics 1 male & 1 female book; cast includes 4 child actors double cast in two roles and all are counted here; one of doublecast kids is female playing male role.
  • Twelfth Night  (Arabian Shakespeare Festival)  Note: a cast of 6 actors play all roles here so women play Feste, Andrew Aguecheek, Malvolio, Sebastian, Antonio
  • Men on Boats (American Conservatory Theatre) Note: as per playwright’s note, this play is to be cast with women and non-binary actors.  In this production, all actors use she/her pronouns
  • Besties (Left Coast Theater) Note: an evening of 6 short plays.  Actors played multiple roles across pieces, and 6 playwrights are 3 male, 3 female, 5 directors are 4 male, 1 female

Thank you so very much to the audience and cast members who used the Counting Actors form to contribute show info this month, including Sheila Devitt, 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 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!

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 December will go up between January 1st and January 5th.  And that January post will be the final post for the project.  Stay tuned!

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