You can't be what you can't see. Roles for Women

Lynda Rooke, 30 June 2012

We talked about writing opportunities for women. 17% of women playwrights get published, go to Dreadnought website to find out more. We talked about gender swapping in plays and how the tradition has been for men to adopt some of the meaty female roles e.g. panto dames and recently Lady Bracknell in a company based in Belfast. Drama schools entry favours young men, ‘reflecting the demands of the industry’. The impact of freelance status, with no maternity leave or child care provision. Women backstage often underrepresented. The persistent focus on the classical cannon means there is an over focus on ‘tradition’ . This all stems from Artistic choices, the majority from A.D's who are male, white, middle class.

Also, how often the female roles are stereotypical especially for young women. Women's careers are very often shorter than mens in the theatre, evidence can be found in a document by FIA called, ‘Engendering Change.’
Need to have non-issue based writing, no need to carry the feminist message in every piece just reflect and challenge society's views and values.

Miss Representation (, see the 8 minute You Tube clip) talks about role models for women and the same can happen in theatre, need for Art to reflect society. We need different genres in theatre to offer different possibilities for women.

Finally, the importance of involving men in this process the population is divided 50/50 (actually 52% in the UK). We need to challenge role models for both sexes and work together to achieve equality of opportunity for all.

Discussed what Equity has been involved in with its Women's Committee.I'm meeting ACE next Wednesday and also the National Theatre.
Equity's W C sent out 43 letters to subsidised theatre companies and after a second prompting letter received 8 replies regarding their gender equality policies.They were from companies who had a reasonably good gender policy.



visibility, Equity, equality, gender, feminism, representation, women