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Centre Stage

A blog for women-related theatre issues worldwide.

  • 15 Sep 2016 8:10 PM | Anonymous

    Celebrating gender parity on five continents for our 5th anniversary!

    The International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP)  is thrilled to report that a record-breaking number of recipients will receive the 2016 50/50 Applause Awards, which recognizes theatres that produced 50% or more women playwrights in their 2015/16 season of shows. ICWP defines 50/50 by the number of qualifying performances in a theatre’s season. This allows a concrete measurement of the resources being devoted to women playwrights.

    For the awards’ 5th anniversary, ICWP recognized 107 recipients in ten countries on five continents. The list includes theatres in Australia, Canada, England, Italy, Kenya, the Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. Approximately 32% of the theatres are repeat recipients, demonstrating gender parity in two or more seasons. Recipients range from community and college theatres to internationally renowned theatres. Meet some of the theatres in the ICWP celebration video.

    For several years, the international performing arts industry has been scrutinized for its underrepresentation of women playwrights as well as women in leadership positions in theatre. According to the League of Professional Theatre Women’s (LPTW) 2015 study “Women Count: Women Hired Off-Broadway 2010-2015”, women playwrights were produced 28%-36% of the time. Among ten Australian theatres, 39% of original and adapted works were by women (The National Voice 2106, Australian Writers Guild). The UK’s Purple Seven study “Gender in Theatre” of 2012-2015 seasons reported 28% of playwrights were female.

    Though these numbers are higher than they have been in the past, women playwrights are still not receiving their due, and there are many potential reasons. The LPTW study points out that new works by women are more likely to be produced today than those by women in the past, although there are many classic women playwrights. The AWG cites that commissioned adaptations are where women are making the least amount of headway.

    Read More

  • 23 Jun 2016 5:43 PM | Anonymous
    The Kilroys  “The List,” features 32 industry-recommended new plays by female and trans playwrights. The Los .Angeles.-based group of playwrights and producers is committed to promoting gender parity for playwrights in the American theatre.

    Previous studies over recent years have shown that around 22 percent of productions in regional theatres over the previous three years were written by women.

    THe Kilroys surveyed 230 influential new play leaders — Artistic Directors, Literary Managers, Professors, Producers, Directors, and Dramaturgs — who had read or seen at least 40 new plays in the past year

    Each respondent recommended 3 to 5 plays each, identifying a total of 569 plays as among the best unproduced work they had encountered in the past year

    THE LIST comprises the top 5.6% of those plays — the 32 most recommended plays from this survey, which each received between 5 and 14 nominations

    Red the full Kilroy's List here:

    • 22 Nov 2015 11:02 AM | Anonymous

      Karen Jeynes from South Africa, President of the International Centre for Women Playwrights, is in New York to attend the 2015 International Emmy Awards. Karen is the lead writer for the company `Puppet Nation ZA ' which is a topical satirical programme. 

      From Wikipedia: 

      ZANEWS (now also known as Puppet Nation ZA) is a South African satirical puppet show first produced in 2008 by Both Worlds, a Cape Town based production company. The show is a daily and weekly satirical news programme in the form of a mock puppet television newscast and features on both the web and TV. ZANEWS features key local and international political figures and celebrities. For eight seasons, ZANEWS has been using its puppet cast as mouthpieces for satirical commentary on South Africa’s public space.[1]

      Inspired by the cult British television series Spitting Image along with the French equivalent, Les Guignols,[2] ZANEWS has been aired on the web and TV since 2009 on a range of media platforms, the most prolific of these being the show’s online presence.[3] The show’s motto of 'Make Laugh. Not War’ has perpetuated the show’s portrayal of South African and international politicians and celebrities in its news format. The show is the only South African satirical puppet show, but is somewhat similar to the Kenyan produced The XYZ Show.[4]

      In October 2015 it was announced that Puppet Nation ZA is a nominee for Best TV Comedy in the 43rd International Emmy Awards

      Read more on Wikipedia 

      You can watch 61 brilliantly funny episodes of this comedy show on the Daily Motion website

    • 09 Nov 2015 3:41 PM | Anonymous
      #WakingTheFeminists calls on the board of the National Theatre of Ireland to lead the way in establishing equality for women artists.

      On Wednesday 28 October, the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre, launched its programme to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising – an event that ultimately led to the founding of the Irish State. The Abbey Theatre and its members were actively involved in both the Rising itself and the debates around the founding of the Republic.

      1 out of the 10 plays programmed in the 2016 programme are written by a woman – 3 out of 10 are directed by women. #WakingtheFeminists is a campaign by Irish artists to demand change of the systems that allow for such chronic under-representation of the work of women artists at the Abbey, and by extension in the Irish arts industry. There is consensus that the problem is bigger than any one organization or individual, and so rigorous discussion and action is needed to realize a new artistic landscape that reflects Irish society, and represents ‘all the children of the nation equally’.

      THE NEXT PUBLIC MEETING for #WakingTheFeminists will take place on Thursday, November 12th at 1 pm at a Dublin city centre venue to be confirmed.

      Women working in Irish theatre are invited to take part at a photo-call at 12.30 pm

      Parents without childcare on the day are welcome to bring young children.

      This is open event for people of all genders working in Irish theatre.

      The event will be live-tweeted, and we’re looking at other ways of making it viewable from afar. We’re hoping to film/record it too.

      Check out their website:

    • 09 Nov 2015 3:34 PM | Anonymous

      Portland, OR: ARTemis, a national organization empowering women’s voices and roles in the arts, has presented its first-ever award to Portland playwright Kathleen Tomko. After a year of development, fundraising and planning, ARTemis is now able to provide direct financial support to female artists. Their premiere award enables Ms. Tomko to participate in a new play workshop with Bump in the Road Theatre in Portland, Oregon.

      “This was a chance for Kathleen to get feedback on her writing that she’s not received at this point in her career,” says ARTemis co-founder Sam Hull.  Read More

    • 22 Sep 2015 5:44 PM | Anonymous
      On 21st September ICWP Announced the Theatres who have received the ICWP 50/50 Applause Awards for gender equity in theatre.

      60 theatres in 9 countries have qualified for the 50/50 Applause Awards for producing the work of women playwrights 50% or more of the time in their 2014-2015 season. 

      Read the full list of theatres, plays, and playwrights on the Awards page.  

      Below you can watch the celebration video. 

    • 06 Aug 2015 3:51 PM | Anonymous

      The artistic director of a Minnesota theatre group has responded to a letter from Doug Wright, president of the Dramatists Guild, which used the words "arrogant" and "cowardly" to describe guidelines posted by the Words Players Theatre of Rochester, MN, for its planned 2015 Original Short Play Festival.

      In an Aug. 4 letter to Daved Driscoll, artistic director of Words Players Theatre, Wright took issue with guidelines that said the theatre's directors and casts reserved the right to change submitted playscripts in any way they chose, while offering the playwrights no money for the use of their plays.

      Driscoll told Aug. 5 that he responded to Wright seeking his advice on how to re-draft the submission guidelines "to make clear that we do, in fact, ask for author permission to make changes."

      Here is the complete text of Wright's letter, followed by the published guidelines.

      Mr. Driscoll,


      <a href='' target='_blank'><img src='' border='0' alt='' /></a> I write to you today as President of the Dramatists Guild of America, the national association of playwrights, lyricists and composers, with over 7000 members around the world. We at the Guild were dismayed to read your call for submissions for the Words Players Theater's 8th Annual Original Short Play Festival, in which you announce shockingly errant guidelines for festival submissions.

      Read more ...

    • 06 Aug 2015 3:44 PM | Anonymous

      Scottish Women's groups  will amplify the voices of those women marginalised and rarely heard in world societies.

      "  SCOTTISH women’s groups are launching a new project called #FeministFest to coincide with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a bid to eradicate sexism in entertainment and shine the spotlight on shows which explore human rights issues.

      Endgender and YWCA Scotland – The Young Women’s Movement – are working to highlight women’s voices, which they claim are all too often silent at the Edinburgh Festival.

      #FeministFest will bring together a group of women from across Scotland, most of whom have never had the opportunity to see a show at the festival before, and offer training to review shows, interview performers, and blog about their experiences.

      This year’s Fringe festival, together with the International Book and Just Festivals, offers a host of exciting productions which explore issues of gender, identity, LGBTQI and human rights issues, with many shows explicitly advertising their feminist credentials "


    • 22 Jul 2015 6:37 PM | Anonymous

      "The Count" is a systematic gathering of data regarding the gender of playwrights whose plays are produced on USA non-profit theatre stages. "

      Report by Cara Buckley of the New York TImes.


      Roughly one-fifth of the productions staged at hundreds of theaters nationwide over the past three seasons were written by women, according to a study to be released Friday.

      Overseen by the playwrights Julia Jordan and Marsha Norman, the study, called “The Count,” is to be updated each year. Until now, besides a handful of older analyses, it had been unclear just how many female playwrights were seeing their work staged, according to Ms. Jordan.

      “We wanted to create a baseline,” she said, “and to document the change.”

      Judging from the numbers, the picture for women is rosier than a decade ago. A 2002 report from the New York State Council on the Arts found that 17 percent of productions across the country had female playwrights. According to the new report, that figure now sits at 22 percent.

      “That’s a significant increase,” Ms. Norman said. “If that could continue, we could get to where we need to be, which is parity.”

      The report, which will be released and discussed at the national meeting of the Dramatists Guild of America, is the latest salvo in continuing efforts to tackle the underrepresentation of women in theater (not to mention in Hollywood).

      While the recent Tony Awards ceremony made history by giving the prize for book and score of a musical for the first time to a team of women (Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori), advocates complained that an opportunity to raise awareness was missed because those were not presented on the television broadcast.

      “The Count” focused on 2,508 productions at nonprofit theaters, which remain the breeding grounds for bigger productions ......"

      Read the rest of the article here.

    • 11 Jun 2015 7:29 PM | Anonymous

      ICWP 50/50 Applause Awards are cited in American Theatre Magazine article written by Martha Richards.

      There is a growing awareness of the gender imbalance in almost all areas of professional theatre in many parts of the world, despite the fact that women make up the majority of audiences going to see live theatre. 

      A proposal for collaboration by the many organisations currently campaigning to change this was put forward by Martha Richards at a conference in Toronto, Canada.

      " We have proven that gender discrimination is a persistent problem in theatre; now we need to figure out how to fix it. As we look at the field, we can see that women all over the world are trying to address this issue with various strategies. What would happen if we could find a way to coordinate these efforts and maximize their impact? Could we reach a tipping point where the barriers for women theatre artists would finally come crashing down?"

      ICWP received a mention as one of the advocacy organisations with an active program to bring attention and approval to professional theatres who produce the work of female playwrights at least 50% of their season.

      A fundamental issue has to do with funding. Public bodies who dispense tax-payers money to subsidise theatres, have a duty to ensure that those funds are spent fairly and not used to prop up the current male-biased programmes that are the norm in many parts of the world.

      This article outlines seven proposals to achieve gender equity for  women in theatre

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