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NY Female Playwrights Gather to Protest Under-Representation Onstage


by Jerome Weeks 27 Oct 2008

You’ll recall our discussion of a female artist considering changing her name to a man’s name, making it more likely, she hoped, that a gallery (or patrons) would pick up her work. Well, female off-Broadway playwrights have arranged a town hall meeting tonight in New York to discuss the sizable imbalance between stagings of plays […]

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You’ll recall our discussion of a female artist considering changing her name to a man’s name, making it more likely, she hoped, that a gallery (or patrons) would pick up her work. Well, female off-Broadway playwrights have arranged a town hall meeting tonight in New York to discuss the sizable imbalance between stagings of plays by male and female dramatists.

The gathering was organized by the playwrights Sarah Schulman and Julia Jordan, who have rallied their colleagues to the cause, contending that their male counterparts in the 2008-9 season are being produced at 14 of the largest Off Broadway institutions at four times the rate that women are. More than 150 playwrights appeared at a meeting last month to discuss the issue, and all 90 seats at New Dramatists, the playwriting center where Monday night’s meeting is scheduled, are already spoken for, and there is a long waiting list.

It just so happens that in North Texas, Echo Theatre was created to address the same problem. From the group’s website:

For years, theatre seasons at all levels of production have been programmed mainly with works by male playwrights. It is the mission of Echo Theatre to unearth the power of the female theatrical voice. It’s not a matter of a woman being able to tell a story better than a man. It’s simply that she can tell it differently, provide it with another texture, another insight, when she is empowered to speak in her own words.

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