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 .