Gender parity in the theatre has recently gained public momentum as an extremely important issue of theatre in the 21st century; some might argue that it is the single, largest issue to present itself in the last fifty years. Through Emily Sand’s well publicized study, Opening the Curtain on Playwright Gender: An Integrated Economic Analysis of Discrimination in the American Theatre, and Julia Jordan’s public presentations of that study, we know through indepth research and statistics that there is an alarming, troublesome disparity between the total number of plays written by men produced in our theatres and the number of plays written by women.
Simply put, but not so simply understood, female playwrights can’t seem to get traction of any kind in our community. With all the major theatre awards having now been announced in New York (The Tony Awards, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortell, Theatre World, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, etc.), one outrageous fact emerged: in all the awards combined, only one woman writer was nominated (Sarah Ruhl) in a season that showcased 51 new plays written by women.
To acknowledge the extraordinary work by women in this year’s season (and by doing so, educate the community on many levels), a group of passionate artists and producers (myself, Marsha Norman, Theresa Rebeck, Julia Jordan, Tina Howe, Julie Crosby, John Eisner, G Tim
Sanford and Susan Rose) quickly assembled to create an evening of celebration. Equal parts party and awards ceremony, the event will be held at Playwrights Horizons and the West Bank Café, emceed by Christopher Durang, with an invocation by Gloria Stein, entertainment by Kristin Chenoweth and a host of awards to women in the theatre.
Each year, this event will grow and become inclusive to writers all over the country. Because the event will – by its nature – highlight the issues of gender parity in the theatre, as well educate playwrights and the theater community at large, we’re hoping to generate support and buzz anywhere we can. Voice your support at the FB page:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=120719377959577
Be strong, write well.
Executive Director, Dramatists Guild
I'm amused how no one's mentioning the possibility that these unprecedented numbers of shows by women were maybe not good enough to have been nominated; that it's assumed they were not nominated entirely because they were penned by women.
And the main conclusion of Emily Sand's study was that it is women themselves as playreaders and decision makers who are essentially holding back other women's work.
And among those nominated this season were Sherie Rene Scott, who co-wrote Everyday Rapture (For the Tony, and Lucille Lortel).
Anna Devere Smith and Lynn Redgrave were both nominated for Lucille Lortel Awards for solo shows they wrote and performed, and Smith was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle, as was Carrie Fisher for Wishful Drinking.
Enron, by Lucy Prebble, was nominated for the Drama League Award (Lucy's also nominated for the Tony for lyrics for Enron, which she also wrote).
Aftermath, co-written by by Jessica Blank, also nominated for the Drama League Award.
Annie Baker's The Aliens and Circle Mirror Transformation shared the Obie award for best new American play. Actually fucking won, for TWO plays. CMT also got a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Play and Baker got a Drama Critics Circle Emerging Artist Special Citation.
Theatre World Awards are only presented to performers, not writers.
So, fuck them, then?