Green Light Productions Releases Shubert Report
Green Light Productions, a nonprofit theatre company dedicated to producing new work by women; created "The Shubert Report" to examine what's being produced by theatre companies currently receiving funding from The Shubert Foundation.
Founded in 2003, Green Light has produced dozens of world premieres throughout the country including GLO- its one-act play festival, New Light- its series of 10-minute plays and "Exploring Womanhouse" - a multi-year performance project based on the historic art and performance installation "Womenhouse."
The Shubert Report- (Full report available at www.greenlightproductions.org)
An examination of the theatres currently receiving funding from The Shubert Foundation
What is The Shubert Foundation: The nation's largest private foundation dedicated to providing unrestricted funding for performing arts organizations.
Theatre funding: 349 nonprofit theatres across the country were awarded a total of $16.4 million in grants ranging from $10,000-$300,000.
Why it is important: Aside from its size and the number of theatres it supports, The Shubert Foundation is especially interested in supporting theatres that develop and produce new American plays.
Green Light Productions looked at each of the 349 theatres that were named as grant recipients in 2014. We examined their most recently announced season and looked at how many full productions (12 or more consecutive performances) were being produced of plays written by women.
Green Light included plays of all lengths and also considered a play to be written by a woman if any part of the script including book and/or lyrics was written by a woman, if the script was adaptated by a woman or if a woman was part of a partnership even if other members of that partnership were men.
349 theatres producing a total of 1,603 plays with 415 of those being written by women- or 26% of plays produced are written by a woman.
$4 million awarded to 125 theatres producing 0 plays by women
$2.7 million awarded to 56 theatres producing 50% or more plays by women
$375,000 granted to 12 theatres producing an entire season of plays by women
Theatre has an extremely important role in our culture. From the beginning of civilization it has connected people both physically and mentally from classic Greek tragedy to theatre of the absurd and everything in between. It is a medium that constantly evolves to mirror, reveal and expose modern society.
In the United States, nonprofit theatres are a unique business model. For most theatres, at least 50% of their revenue is contributed foundation, corporate, government and individual support. Foundations, especially those as large as The Shubert Foundation, play an important role in sustaining American theatre.
We are at a crossroads. The vast majority of plays being produced are written by men at a time when women are writing great plays. Of the last 6 Pulitzer Prize winning plays 3 were written by women and 8 of the last 13 Pulitzer finalists plays were written by women. And women are theatre's biggest supporters representing more than 60% of the ticket-buying audience.
There is no doubt that The Shubert Foundation is dedicated to supporting American theatre, however if they would like to cultivate the next generation of theatre, if they are committed to an American theatre that is both vibrant and successful, they will challenge theatres to produce plays written by women. They will encourage theatres to embrace the range and capacity of women playwrights and financially reward those that do, essentially giving theatres the confidence to produce theatre that creates the much needed audiences that American theatre needs to survive.
Women write great plays. We hope The Shubert Foundation will empower theatres in America to produce them.