Give up seeing plays by men for Lent

This month is Women’s History Month. The 8th March was International Women’s Day. Still only 17% of plays written by women are being performed in London.

One of the arguments/justifications I encounter regularly suggesting why the figure is so skewed in the favour of male playwrights goes something like this…

“A man will go and see a play by a man, but a woman will go and see a play by a woman or a man, so if we put plays on by men, we will get twice as big an audience, because the men will come too…”

In reality though, as women make up around 65% of the theatre-going audience (more in the younger age brackets), this argument is actually numerically flawed. Surely if the larger part of your audience will go and see a play by a woman then it’s actually good financial sense to program more work by women. Artistic Directors take note. Good financial sense.

So how do we show them the desire to see women’s plays is there? How about giving up plays by male playwrights for Lent. Or even make a New(ish) Year’s Resolution to see at least one play by a woman a month.

Here’s a helpful list of plays on in London this month to inspire you to get out and see a show by a woman. There is an amazingly wide range of styles, stories and even starry actors to suit many tastes. I haven’t included musicals in this list – but 25% of those on in London have been written or jointly written by women, so you can get a feminist theatrical fix there too.  Some of them are only on for very limited runs – so if you fancy it – get online and booking now. Next month I will feature another part of the country.

And if you’ve seen any of the plays and would like to write a short review to be published here – please get in touch.

The Woman in Black
Susan Hill
Fortune Theatre

The Mouse Trap
Agatha Christie
St Martins Theatre

The Exonerated
Jessica Blank and Eric Jensen
New Players Theatre

The Children’s Hour
Lillian Hellman
Comedy Theatre

Ruby Wax – Losing it
Ruby Wax and Judith Owen
Menier Chocolate Factory

Mogadishu
Vivienne Franzman
Lyric Hammersmith

Fanta Orange
Sal Woolcock
International playwriting festival
Warehouse Theatre Croydon

The Graft
Martina Cole
Theatre Royal Stratford East

Becky Shaw
Gina Gianfriddo
Almeida

What we’re up against
7 plays by Theresa Rebeck
Old Red Lion

Woman Bomb
Ivana Sajko
Tristan Bates Theatre

The Biting Point
Sharon Clark
Theatre 503

The December Man
Colleen Murphy
Finborough Theatre

Fen
Caryl Churchill
Finborough Theatre

A bold stroke for a husband
Hannah Cowley
Bridewell Theatre

A Century of Great Women
Alison Mead
Various venues, see website www.three4all.org

(Listings gleaned from Time Out, March 3-9.)

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About 17Percent

A campaign to get more plays by women playwrights onto UK stages.
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