I programmed and hosted the latest 17Percent ‘She Writes’ evening on 21 March. Nine plays with a loose international theme were selected. Plays covered a broad range of topics and styles, including my own Nordic saga; ‘Sea monsters’, and can be seen on the 17Percent youtube channel.
She Writes gives women writers a chance to be heard.
Currently only 17% of the plays which get onto UK stages are written by women. There has been much research about the gender discrimination faced by female playwrights in the theatre. Women are simply less likely to have their work performed, especially if they don’t have a track record. So how is a possibly new female playwright ever to get her work on? She Writes is a place where this can happen.
Writers with little or no experience are as likely to be chosen for the showcase as those with more experience. We have showcased work by first time writers and writers whose work has been shown internationally. It’s not about your writing background, just a case of if your writing grabs us. It’s also an opportunity to develop your writing, I read all the plays and give short development notes. It is also extremely helpful to see your words spoken by actors, because you get a feel for the theatricality of your work.
It also gives female actors a chance to be seen.
Another problem in the UK theatre is lack of good roles for female actors, especially older actors. I aim to programme a balance of writing, which has diverse roles for young and old, male and female. In reflecting this, our actors also have varied backgrounds; some of them are drama students, others are more experienced, some run their own theatre companies. All are local to Kent.
The next She Writes evening is on 20 June. It will have a lucky dip submissions policy. To find out more visit the She Writes website.