Oh how we’ve missed you- we’re back and brought some Spring with us! In fields of Daffs, hot cross buns (yes, fields of buns, think about it...it would be so soft and tasty) and bunny wabbits - we thought we might spring forward like the BST clocks we are and take a wide look about how it’s going with women in theatre as a whole.
As you do.
So get your buns out the oven (steady) and let us review shall we? Current political climate notwithstanding, things are looking a tad brighter than they have been for a while - high profile events such as Tonic Theatre’s Lucy Kerbel bringing out an excellent book, All Change Please using hard fact and testimony to provide all the material you’d ever need to lay a convincing case of ‘be better to us’ to the jury and the arts industry as a whole. Tamsin Greig has won everyone over as Malvolia at the National in Twelth Night and it’s just been announced that Josette Simon will be playing Cleopatra in a hotly anticipated production of Anthony and Cleopatra at the RSC (great article here about the powerful woman/whore dichotomy in the Guardian this week) https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/mar/21/josette-simon-cleopatra-rsc-shakespeare) Also, the ever brilliant Baz patron and our favourite Ceasar ever, Harriet Walter talked about her new book, and taking on the male canon in her inimitable style and to great critic acclaim in Brutus and Other Heroines.
So far so good? Well yes, but something goes up, something else must come down. Emma Rice’s well-documented run as artistic director of the Globe continues to make headlines, and it’s hard not to note that now, with one less female artistic director at the helm, there’s still very few running buildings in the UK. We are all for inclusivity, diversity and women in theatre as a whole, but it seems as if this is only just about stretching to the actors. We need more producers, directors, stage managers, artistic directors and soon. Goodness knows that once indoctrinated with a lack of diversity, opportunity, or even misogyny and racism, it becomes a new norm.
So what can we do about it?
Well. We here at Baz have a gorgeous team of women running the show - our trinity of founders are an impressive array of producers, writers, actors and practitioners - our producers, set designers trainee directors, even our blogger all share an x chromosome and it’s obviously at the top of our list when we look over actors we love for our productions - that, and obviously diversity. It’s been in our manifesto since day one And we are not alone in this - many theatre companies such as Kneehigh, Punchdrunk impress a difference on the theatre landscape in their casting and the landscape shifts a little more in the right direction.
But as ever, not all opportunities, or indeed all doors are open to the just off the University roll call producer/designer/director -but never fear, Baz is here - with a list of things to check out n do:
Tonic Theatre events - Go.To.These. It’s a great place where the shiny happy people go and of COURSE where great female-facing projects and books are launched that you already love and want to read cos you wouldn’t be reading this if not. Wink.
Women@Rada - A fantastic free initiative at RADA for female playwrights only - lovely nights where the next generation of female playwrights get to show some work - a fantastic platform for writer and performer alike.
- Directors Programme at Young Vic - A fantastic long running directors training programme at the Young Vic - a programme all of it’s own kind that has brought much talent to the foreground. A wonderful initiative!
- Sphinx Theatre Company - Apart from programming some excellent female led theatre, this company regularly runs festivals, opportunities and is generally a great resource of stuff to do with women in theatre. Thumbs up.
- Bechdel Theatre - So relevant it has it’s own test named after it - another behemoth of theme and concept led theatre, their latest project required recorded conversation between women for their latest piece. Inclusive, strident and outspoken. We dig it.
Apart from that - see it all! Go to the first nights, meet the people ,take the opportunity and the lead ...you never know where it will get you. And ahem, one other suggestion, if we may…
- Baz Productions - C’mooon. We had to. PLUS we are really cool and love theatrical ladies so stick that in your pipe.
In all seriousness though, it is all in our hands - and sure this industry is a tough pill to swallow at times, and a main reason Baz exists is that we felt the situation was so dire we decided to step up and make it ourselves, but triumph comes out of adversity. Be the missing piece that fits into that slot. Nothing is achieved unless you open the door to it. We need to stick with each other and stand on each other’s shoulders. Now more than ever.
We’re rather good at this. Maybe we should sideline in life coaching?
There’s a stat floating around that states ‘Women speak up 75% less when they’re surrounded by men.’
*beats path to Destiny’s Child soundtrack*
We believe in you. Now get out an hustle!
Big Lady Love,