by Park Theatre

There's been a lot in the media this week about the underrepresentation of women on stage.  It seems to be on everyone's minds, which can only be a good thing.  Yesterday I had three meetings in a row and completely coincidentally they were all with incredibly dynamic theatrical women: a fellow playwright, two young women who've set up their own theatre company, and an extraordinary actor fresh from a lead role at the National Theatre.  In each meeting we kept returning to the subject of the paucity of women's stories and exciting, non-stereotypical roles for women (especially those over 35) in theatre - and what we could do about it.

Groups are forming, ideas are bouncing around, things are happening - it feels like a revolution is stirring.  There is talk of taking over a theatre with a Women's Season; a playwriting competition focusing on women's writing; theatres only accepting unsolicited scripts under a pseudonym, so that the gender of the writer becomes irrelevant.  Encouraging female playwrights doesn't in itself solve the problem of women's absence on stage, but it's an important part of the process.

So - whether you're male or female, what ideas do you have for a gender revolution in theatre?  Comment here, tweet me @Sar_hRutherford - there's a #womenintheatre hashtag - and let's keep talking.

1 comment


Susan Monson and my play Women’s Voices about a feminist a cappella choir was given a rehearsed reading at the Actors’ Centre of the 8th of June. Cast of 6 women, 1 man. 5 of the women over 35! Sue was a member of the feminist choir Velvet Fist for 17 years and studied Women’s Studies as part of an Open University course. The play is influenced of course by her experiences. Want to read it ? Comments after the rehearsed reading at the Actors Centre of the xy of June 2012: I really enjoyed it - and admired you for being able to write such wonderful and natural sounding dialogue. And something that made us all laugh and cringe at the same time, recognising ourselves in it. (Member of Velvet Fist) Such a good sideways reflection on some of our experiences in left-wing choirs. I have been in one much of the time since I was 17! (Member of Velvet Fist) Many congratulations on your play reading of Women’s Voices. I was and am very impressed with your play that I find very original and enjoyable. The theme of a choir of feminists is unusual and the level of presentation was very high. I enjoyed myself from the beginning to the end. (Julian Lamoral-Roberts, documentary film maker and actor).

By Chris Owen | Wed 04 Jul 2012

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