The gender agenda
Articles, posts and podcasts exploring the representation of women playwrights
There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few years about an endemic imbalance between opportunities for male and female playwrights in main-stage Australian theatre.
It’s a debate that’s not likely to dissipate anytime soon but constructive solutions are being investigated across the sector.
In August 2011 a representative group of playwrights and theatre company stakeholders will meet in Sydney for a roundtable discussion aimed at producing practical outcomes and a way forward. Interested parties can find more and/or contribute to this process here.
This compilation of articles explores the ongoing conversation about the representation of women playwrights in Australian and international mainstage productions, and in the literary landscape more broadly. If you know of an article or resource you think should be added to this list, please get in touch.
Podcast of a panel session hosted by the Wheeler Centre - March 2011
Playwrights Patricia Cornelius and Van Badham, Artistic Directors Marion Potts and Ralph Myers and moderator Chris Mead discuss contemporary Australian theatre’s relationship to gender, diversity and the canon. What broader representational responsibilities does the theatre have, and how can female playwrights be released from perceptions of tokenism and kid glove criticism?
Guardian.co.uk Theatre Blog post by Krystina Nellis - July 2011
'Women are under-represented in theatre – not for lack of interest, but because the industry is failing to provide long-term support.’
Bidisha blog post - June 2011
Women are everywhere in the book world and even on the bestseller lists. We are the overwhelming majority of book buyers, book readers, book editors, agents, PRs, event attendees, festival-goers, champions of literature, literature teachers, writers and book club members. We are everywhere except in the nicest place: the prestige podium.
by Alison Croggon, The Drum - April 2011
Yesterday the Miles Franklin judges announced their short shortlist. It's an exclusive bunch of three books culled from the original longlist of nine novels: Chris Womersley's Bereft, Kim Scott's That Deadman Dance and Roger McDonald's When Colts Ran. They are, according to the judge's report, books chosen for their "distinctive, indelible Australian voice."
Compiled from various sources – July 2011
A summary of issues for discussion at the Women Playwrights Solutions Roundtable in Sydney in August 2011, as identified by Australian women playwrights.
Blog post by Augusta Supple - December 2010
This time last year, a conversation started about the lack of women included in Australia’s mainstage seasons. Triggered by a shocking image at the launch of Company B's 2010 season – a line up of men in black with one woman in a white shirt… the question was asked, where are the women?
Guardian.co.uk Theatre Blog post by James Fritz - 25 May 2011
“In a traditionally male-dominated theatre culture that celebrates the concept of "voice", could it be that the twentysomething British man is finally finding it difficult say something fresh?”
by Cassandra Langridge, mhpbooks.com, March 2011
When Brooklyn-based novelist, Jennifer Egan was awarded the National Book Critics Award for A Visit From the Goon Squad, instead of celebrating Egan’s achievement, the LA Times decided to highlight the fact that Jonathan Franzen had not won.
by Ruth Franklin, The New Republic - February 2011
It is sobering to realize that we may live and work in a world still held in the grip of unconscious biases, no less damaging for their invisibility.
Blog post by Augusta Supple - January 2011
Currently in mainstage seasons, women are grossly unrepresented – and it’s not because there aren’t any women writing plays. When curating the multi-playwright seasons I have produced in the last 4 years, I have not struggled to find quality female playwrights, and not just any female playwrights – excellent playwrights.
by Joyce Morgan, Sydney Morning Herald - January 2011
Around Australia women playwrights are asking why their stories are not reaching our stages in greater numbers....With new artistic directors having arrived at, or poised to take the reins of, Belvoir and Griffin in Sydney, at the Melbourne Theatre Company and Malthouse, as well as at the Queensland Theatre Company, there is a sense that it is time to act.
by Joyce Morgan, Sydney Morning Herald - January 2011
When Suzie Miller looked at this year's season brochures for Australia's leading theatres, the playwright was appalled. Where were the plays by Australian women? Less than 12 per cent of plays reaching the stage of the major companies were written by women.
Interview by Elissa Blake, Sydney Morning Herald - July 2011
Veteran actor/artistic director, Robyn Nevin in conversation with prolific young playwright, Lally Katz about her play Neighbourhood Watch and the Australian theatre scene in general.
Blogpost by Jane Howard - November 2010
An analysis of Australian Theatre in 2011 through the Major Performing Arts Group theatre companies
by Melissa Silverstein - March 16, 2010
Last night I saw someone do something very brave. My friend, Theresa Rebeck, a very successful playwright, TV writer and novelist, got up in front of a group of theatre people and talked about gender.
by Patricia Cohen, New York Times - June, 2009
‘When more than 160 playwrights and producers, most of them female, filed into a Midtown Manhattan theatre Monday night, they expected to hear some concrete evidence that women who are authors have a tougher time getting their work staged than men. And they did. But they also heard that women who are artistic directors and literary managers are the ones to blame.’
by Philip Boroff, Blomberg - November 2008
Let's call this drama Many Women Playwrights in Search of a Stage. Because if you write plays and have the wrong chromosomes, you're in for a lot of frustration in New York.