Tag Archives: women playwrights

Cumulative advantage and women playwrights

11 Mar

At The Summit, a public conversation with prominent DC theatres’ artistic directors convened by Washington Post theatre critic Peter Marks, Ryan Rilette tried to explain why it was more difficult for prominent theatres to stage women playwrights than to stage their male peers. Part of his reply–that there were fewer women “in the pipeline” (meaning a production circuit from major London and New York stages) went viral on social media, inspiring some very funny memes like Daniel Alexander Jones’:

Daniel Alexander Jones' meme

Daniel Alexander Jones’ meme


It also inspired Elaine Romero to initiate WE EXIST, an open-source, editable list of female and trans* playwrights to which anyone can add herself or another playwright. (see my previous post.)

But I don’t want to make Rilette the bad guy here; his theater, Roundhouse, is committing to gender parity in future seasons, and is part of a group of 44 DC-based theatres who’ll be premiering women playwrights for the Women’s Voices Festival in DC in 2015.

Instead, I want to tease out what’s useful and important in the problem he named. Continue reading


11 Mar

Women and trans* playwrights are under-represented on our international stages–less than one in four plays produced, on average, is written by a woman despite theatre audiences being majority female. There’s a circularity to this: exposure leads to production, which leads to exposure…

So I’m excited to share WE EXIST, a list of contemporary playwrights (women & trans*) which Elaine Romero, Rachel Jendrzejewski and I have been building. It’s now an open, Google spreadsheet with over 1,000 names to which anyone can add.

This is the direct link: http://bit.ly/1lfIiSA

Here is Elaine Romero’s original post from when she launched it on Monday, March 11 on Facebook:

I invited women playwrights and their fans to post their names on my Facebook wall to count our heads for a Twitter poem. Liz Duffy Adams inscribed hers first. The names kept coming. Christine Evans and Rachel Jendrzejewski dove in with passion and hard work to create an evolving, open-source list in which anyone can add herself. What has emerged is a Declaration of our Interdependence. We practice inclusivity. We celebrate abundance. We celebrate ourselves. We are Female and/or Trans* Playwrights and We Exist. http://bit.ly/1lfIiSA.

Please share with your networks! It’s meant to be used, amended, edited, and to serve as an activist, advocacy and research tool. At present it reflects our circles (mostly US and Australian); we hope it will internationalize and diversify as people get involved and add to it.

To add to the list: Simply insert a name where it fits alphabetically (by last name) in the list. OR just add it to the bottom of the list and we’ll periodically update the alphabetization.