A year after Women in Theatre and Screen (WITS) formed in response to Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s (DTC) record low percentages of female directors and playwrights in its 2016 programming, the theatre company has made a complete reversal with a female-led 2017 season.
This revelation comes following WITS’ publication of its independent analysis of mainstage Sydney Theatre Companies’ recently announced 2017 Seasons. In 2017, DTC (59% women) and Belvoir (50%) will be the only two theatre companies out of five to achieve gender parity in their programming of writers and directors.
Griffin Theatre Company (44%), Sydney Theatre Company (34%) and Ensemble Theatre (16%) have male-dominant seasons, again. DTC has seen a 42 per cent increase in the employment of female writers and directors, while Ensemble Theatre remains the lowest, with a further 14 per cent drop since last season.
“WITS is thrilled to see DTC make such a complete reversal in approach to gender parity. The company who sparked the fire for the most recent wave of women’s equality rallying in the industry because of their almost entirely absent female voices in 2016 has taken concerted and successful action to give voice to Australia’s talented female creatives,” said WITS co-founder, Maryann Wright.
“Not only has DTC’s changed attitude manifested in their 2017 programming, but DTC also offered invaluable in-kind support to give a platform to Sydney’s best Independent female theatre-makers by housing WITS’ inaugural women’s theatre festival, Festival Fatale in October this year. DTC has set an impressive example for the rest of the industry, and showed that with initiative, parity can happen almost instantly.”
WITS continues its mission to empower female creatives and encourage theatre companies and producers to introduce effective gender parity targets. WITS believes in equality for diversity of women, and in affirmative action in pursuit of gender parity.
The inaugural Festival Fatale takes place: 29 & 30 October 2016 at the Eternity Playhouse – consisting of two days of female-led theatre projects. For more information and full festival line-up, visit: www.festivalfatale.com for details.
Image: WITS Think Tank 2016 at Carriageworks – photo by Julia Dray