Archive for February 25th, 2009

No Over 40s Please

25th February 2009 by Maura McHugh

Today The Stage reports that leading British screenwriters have alleged that UK television broadcasters are biased against drama that feature female characters over the age of 40.

This information has come out as a result of the Equity petition on gender/age imbalance in television drama in the UK, because people pointed out that writers needed to do more to portray a variety of roles for women.

But writers have argued that they often have little say over characters’ ages.

One, who did not want to be named, said: “The problem lies with commissioners, who only want to appeal to the young. A case in point might be the BBC’s Mistresses, which would arguably be all the more interesting for having a range of mistresses of all ages and backgrounds, as in real life.”

The writer continued: “Writers would love to have free rein to portray any age, sex, class, but are constantly getting the message from broadcasters that if you do want to get your script made, the only women they want to see are under 40.”

Another writer said commissioners favour male writers, who tend to write about men.

L.A. Inishmore Postponed

25th February 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Los Angeles Times reports that the L.A.-based Center Theatre Group is postponing until next year Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore, part of its 2009 season at the Mark Taper Forum. The CTG artistic director Michael Ritchie explained the reasoning to the newspaper:

“It is a show that is for us to do it right would cost us an extra $750,000 above what we could expect in income from ticket sales,” Ritchie said of “Inishmore.” “It’s in this season, but it’s in next fiscal year. So we’re planning the next season and we decided the move made more sense.”

Wilson Milam, who staged the 2006 Broadway production of the eight-character “Inishmore,” will direct at the Taper when the play goes up in 2010. No cast has been attached, Ritchie said, and that fact was taken into account when making the decision to postpone. Patrons holding tickets to the play can receive a refund or will be given a credit that they can use toward the purchase at any show at the three CTG theaters.

Ritchie emphasized that while the move was precipitated by concerns about the economy, CTG is financially stable — “and we want to keep it that way.”

Sales have been off by about 5%, he said, but CTG’s $20 ticket program has given box office a boost. “It’s been a great benefit to us. People who normally wouldn’t be coming to our shows because of the economy are buying, and yet it doesn’t seem to be drawing down from our regular priced tickets.”