Archive for the ‘women in theatre’ Category

Breaking a 400-year-old Glass Ceiling

16th February 2010

The Guardian reports that after 400 years a female playwright will finally have a work staged at what is now Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

The play is Bedlam by Nell Leyshon, and is a fictional portrait of the Bethlem – the London hospital for the insane – set during the mid-18th century gin epidemic.

Leyshon said it was a “great privilege” to be the first woman to have a play staged at the Globe. “It’s a challenge and I’m quite aware of the fact,” she said. “I have to be honest, it fed my writing; I thought I can’t write a flabby play. I wanted to prove that women can do conflict, that they can write big structures, big stories because I’ve heard it too many times that women aren’t as good at that.”

Blackburn Prize Nominees

20th January 2010 reported yesterday that the short-list for the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has been announced.

This international award is given each year to a woman who has written an outstanding new work for the English-speaking theatre.

The ten nominees are:

  • The Aliens by Annie Baker (U.S.)
  • The Language Archive by Julia Cho (U.S.)
  • This by Melissa James Gibson (U.S.)
  • it felt empty when the heart went at first but it is alright now. by Lucy Kirkwood (U.K.)
  • The Shipment by Young Jean Lee (U.S.)
  • The Nature of Love by Rebecca Lenkiewicz (U.K.)
  • East of Berlin by Hannah Moscovitch (Canada)
  • The Swallowing Dark by Lizzie Nunnery (U.K.)
  • Enron by Lucy Prebble (U.K.)
  • Strandline by Abbie Spallen (Ireland)

The 2010 Blackburn Prize will be marked with a ceremony in New York in early March, honouring all finalists. The winner will be awarded $20,000, and will also receive a signed and numbered print by renowned artist Willem De Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. A Special Commendation of $5,000 may be given at the discretion of the judges, and each of the other finalists receives $1,000.

Little Gem Wins Award

2nd September 2009

At the weekend the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, the highest honour at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, was awarded to Little Gem written by Elaine Murphy and directed by Paul Meade, produced by Gúna Nua Theatre Company and the Civic Theatre, with support from Culture Ireland.

Carol Tambor and members of her Foundation, along with The Scotsman’s arts writers Joyce Macmillian, Jackie McGlone and Mark Fisher, chose the winning production.

Carol Tambor said: “Little Gem is a little gem. It has exciting language and exciting acting, and the moment I sat down I was totally involved. I loved the family in the play, and the special relationship between the three generations of women felt really authentic.”

Eugene Downes, CEO of Culture Ireland, commented: “For a new Irish play to win the most prestigious award at the world’s largest arts festival is an extraordinary achievement for Elaine Murphy, for Gúna Nua and the outstanding cast of actors. It’s striking evidence of Ireland’s world-class success in the arts. This award opens the door to New York and Culture Ireland looks forward to working closely with the Carol Tambor Foundation to promote Little Gem.’

The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation was established to bring excellent dramatic work to the New York audience by funding a New York run. The mission to support artists in their desire to be seen and produced is carried out with no financial or commercial involvement in their future success.

More Women Directors on Broadway

29th June 2009

The New York Times reports that it’s been a good year for women directing Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, a fact that should not be remarkable, but remains noteworthy because it’s been a rarity – thus far:

As it turns out, bias against female playwrights has also received attention recently because of a new study that found there is discrimination against women who are writing for the theater. Last week at a meeting about the research, participants discussed how bias in one part of the business can ripple throughout the industry, affecting directors and others.

Still, Ms. MacKinnon and Ms. Sardelli said they feel fortunate to be directing when the industry is opening up to more women. “I think the generation above me really had it harder,” Ms. MacKinnon said. “That’s when there was the one girl in the room.”

She added, though: “It seems to me that there are number of men who aren’t that much older than me whose names you see over and over again. There are not that many women who have that kind of relationships with producers. How do you break into that tiny Rolodex?”

Theatre Live! for Older Women

17th June 2009

The Stage reports that of the six plays that have been written for the new live theatre series for Sky Arts, called Theatre Live!, three of them feature an all-women cast, and many of the roles call for older actresses.

At least one of the writers, the debut playwright Kate Mosse, said she was inspired to focus her play on a group of women over 50, after reading about the current campaign to highlight the lack of opportunities for older female performers.

“I have noticed a lot of pieces in the paper about people saying older women don’t get cast, and then lots of people coming back saying, ‘We really would if people were writing stuff for older women that isn’t just somebody’s granny or whatever’,” she said. “I realised when I came to thinking about the play that it is a really good point. You can’t cast older women if people are not writing for them. So I decided to deliberately write for women in their late fifties.”

She added: “I thought this is my chance to write a piece actively for older women, who are not there as somebody’s grandmother or because they have Alzheimer’s. They are just women who are older.”