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Reaching Parity is a Team Sport

28 Dec 2018 12:19 PM | Jessie Salsbury (Administrator)

Reaching parity in the world of theatre takes everyone's engagement and involvement. Organizations and decision makers must be deliberate in producing female-driven work.

There are a variety of organizations that support women in theatre and female playwrights to make parity and equity a reality, and we all must support one another in this endeavor. As playwrights, we can purposely submit our work to organizations that will celebrate our voices. 

Works by Women, now merged with VH Theatrical Development Foundation to create Parity Productions, still houses a wealth of information on their former website.  Looking through the participating companies can give insight on where submissions would be welcome. 

Little Black Dress INK  takes an extremely proactive approach to getting more women playwrights heard. The organization explains their mission as the following: 

Little Black Dress INK is an experiment in support, inspired by recent revelations in numbers on the subject of just how few female playwrights actually get produced. Through outreach, education, and producing opportunities, Little Black Dress INK strives to create more production opportunities for female playwrights while also strengthening the female playwright network.  

The International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) 50/50 Applause Awards was founded in 2012 to increase awareness and applaud theatres that produced a season with an equal or greater number of plays written by female playwrights.

In reviewing the past winners since its inception, there have been a few theatres that have continued to show up on the list multiple times, and should be commended for their dedication for parity. Playwrights Horizons of New York, NY has been featured repeatedly, as has The Factory Theatre in Ontario, Canada and the Latino Theatre Company/Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC).  

Sphinx Theatre's Sue Parrish, in her breakdown on why parity is taking so long, advises how it must be intentional and be supported by the numbers. As she explains: 

There needs to be a proactive approach to increasing women’s representation within the theatre industry. Working from the ground up, we must change the way we write female roles for theatre, and the way we support, train and develop female writers, directors, actors and other women working within the theatre. We need to create a level playing field right now as well as in the future.

As we move towards gender parity, let us be proactive and intentional, and let us remember it is a team sport in which we all must participate and support one another in our ultimate goal of gender parity and representation.

Let us not only create our own groups and drive our own visions, but support those organizations already out there doing the work. 

Tags: #ICWP #Parityprodcutions #VHTheatricalDevelopmentFoundation #worksbywomen #JessieSalsbury #femaleplaywrights #womenplaywrights #LATC #PlaywrightHorizons #FactoryTheatre #LittleBlackDressInk #365WomenAYear

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The International Centre for Women Playwrights is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women playwrights around the world.    

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