Tag Archives: 17percent

Women Playwrights International Conference 2012

Sodra Teatern photo

Sodra Teatern

In August I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak on a panel at the Women Playwrights International Conference (WPIC) 2012. This was held at the Sodra Teatern, the oldest theatre in Stockholm, perched on a cliff with amazing views of the city and a Bohemian vibe in its lovely terrace area.

The conference consisted of workshops, seminars, discussions and showcases of 90 plays by women. It was a very stimulating week, and I hope that one day we could do something like this in the UK.

I was a panellist on a debate about ‘Female Representation on Stage – with a focus on female playwriting/playwrights’.

The panel comprised of playwrights from Sweden; Sofia Freden, Ninna Tersman, and researcher and drama lecturer Yael Feiler who has done some key research into the issue; from Australia; playwright, dramaturg and associate artist Malthouse Theatre, Van Badham and Chris Mead, artistic director of Playwriting Australia; and the UK, represented by me.

The main question of the debate was ‘All over the world, plays by women are produced less often than play by male playwrights. Why? How can we change it?’

What resulted was an interesting, wide-ranging discussion about how seriously gender equality in the theatre is taken in these three very different countries, with the conclusion being drawn that the playing field for female writers is not at all level from country to country. I will be presenting summaries of the three countries over the next few weeks to see if there are any learning points for UK theatre on 17Percent’s website .

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‘Maid in Kent’ at Lounge on the Farm

She Writes is 17Percent’s Whitstable-based, popular showcase of new playwriting by women, which I programme and produce. For Lounge on the Farm we have been invited to present a selection of new short plays by Kentish women writers, entitled ‘Maid in Kent’.

The show at Lounge on the Farm will feature five of our most popular short plays, all written by Kentish authors, myself included. The plays chosen have aliens, a sea monster (that’s mine!), a psycho-killer, a date that goes horribly wrong and a pair of women whose interest in celebrity cookware goes too far.

She Writes is a showcase organised by 17Percent, the organisation I run, which supports and promotes female writers. Currently only 17% of the plays which get onto UK stages are written by women. She Writes brings women’s playwriting to a bigger audience and shows that women’s writing is as diverse, funny, touching, unexpected, and lyrical, as are women themselves.

My play is called See monsters and it’s about story-telling in the days of the sagas. It features a shady story-teller and a clever barmaid… and a couple of glove puppets!  

Picture of sea monster glove puppet

‘See monsters’

‘Maid in Kent’ will be performed in the Playhouse Theatre, Lounge on the Farm, Merton Farm, Canterbury / 6 July 2012, time TBA / Ticket info: http://www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk

We will be repeating the show at The Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable, CT5 1AF / 18 July 2012, 7PM / Tickets: £5 /4 concs / Time: Doors 7PM, Finishes: 9.30PM / http://www.horsebridge-centre.org.uk

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A night of short plays with an international flavour

Kevin Molloy - Anna Farnworth in 'Under Trust' by Hannah Rodger

Kevin Molloy - Anna Farnworth in 'Under Trust' by Hannah Rodger

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.

Anne + Kevin Molloy, Sam Pearson in 'Sea monsters' by Sam Hall

Anne + Kevin Molloy, Sam Pearson in 'Sea monsters' by Sam Hall

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.

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Interview with Gill Kirk, playwright

Gill Kirk playwright

Gill Kirk, playwright

I interviewed Gill Kirk for the Inspiring and Interesting women series for 17percent.

We met up in Bath exactly a year to the day that we first met, at the 17percent mini-festival of new work and discussion ‘Why? and What Next?’, where her play ‘The king was in his counting house’ a satire on the banking crisis, was showcased.

We talked about how she’s been getting on – really well – with a couple of plays due to go into production and several in development. We also talked about the growing South West theatre scene, which seems incredibly vibrant – and I’ll be doing a feature on it next month for 17percent.

We also talked about juggling caring responsibilities and whether there is a place for political theatre in an apolitical world, though as Gill points out, there is political in the personal, and I think we’re all getting a bit more politicised right now. Gill also offers some advice to other writers especially those who may have changed career and come to writing later.   

You can see the interview with Gill on the 17percent Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/17percentcampaign

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Interviews with inspiring and interesting women

I have completed the first two interviews with ‘Inspiring and Interesting Women’ in theatre, for 17percent – an organisation which supports and promotes female playwrights. You can see the interviews on Youtube, plus forthcoming interviews as they are uploaded by searching for ’17percent interviews’.
I have a number of other interviews with inspiring and interesting women lined up, so why not follow @17percent on Twitter to find out as soon as they are posted?

Or click on the direct link to Van Badham interview or Alison Mead interview.

Van Badham photo

Van Badham, Literary Manager, Finborough Theatre

 

Alison Mead photo

Alison Mead, Founder, Three4All Theatre

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