One of the best ways to promote and support gender equality in the theatre is to disseminate information about female practitioners, or make that information easier to find. We have been thinking about ways to do this since 2009…
Lucy Kerbel of Tonic Theatre brilliantly observed that the way to stop people saying they’d like to have more women on stage, but ‘where are the plays with roles for women?’, was to research and write her book ‘100 Great Plays for Women’. Lucy’s book has made it impossible for people to say they don’t know any plays with good roles for women.
Through the course of many discussions about women in theatre, a question has been asked, ‘is there a list of female-led and/or feminist theatre companies?’ and our response has been, that no, as far as we are aware, no national list exists (although many organisations such as FemaleArts have useful link lists).
THE DIRECTORY is going to be our response to this. People will not be able to say – we’d like to work with more female theatre companies, but… We are going to create an online database of female-led and feminist theatre companies in the UK. We are defining female-led theatre companies as those which are wholly or majority run by women, and feminist theatre companies as those who programming a majority or equal number of plays written by women and with an equal or majority number of roles for women.
We would also like to produce a printed and extended version of this database, with some specially written articles, which can be on the shelves in theatre offices and drama libraries, and are researching possible funding models for this.
Initially The Directory’s online version will be a snapshot of female companies working in the UK in 2015, and we will aim to update this on at least a 6-monthly basis. Over the Easter weekend we were contacted by 70 theatre companies, and entries continue to come in – so we know that this is a project that people really want to be part of. You can add your company’s details here. We’re looking forward to finding out about you!