League Of Professional Theatre Women Releases Fourth Women Count Report

The League of Professional Theatre Women (Kelli Lynn Harrison & Catherine Porter, Co-Presidents) has published the fourth in a series of reports authored by Martha Wade Steketee with Judy Binus, on the status of women employed in New York City theaters. The fourth report, Women Count: Women Hired Off Broadway, available at theatrewomen.org/women-count/, analyzes employment in 13 professional roles - playwrights, directors, designers, stage managers, and others - in 515 Off- and Off-Off-Broadway productions by 22 theater companies for 5 complete seasons, 2013-14 through 2017-18 to show where women are and are not being hired.

Since 2014, the Women Count report series collects and publishes analyses of production credits to assess gender parity in theater hiring decisions. We ask: whose plays are being done, who is directing them, and how many women are being hired for theatrical off-stage roles in New York's theaters beyond Broadway? The goal of the report series is to change the conversation from anecdotes to action plans to support advocacy efforts on behalf of women playwrights, performers, and off-stage theater workers.

Findings from the most recent five completed Off Broadway seasons reveal several areas in which women are dominant, some areas where parity is being approached, and many other areas where parity is far from the norm. This report does not analyze why such decisions hiring have been made. Rather, the series seeks simply to document the status of these decisions and to allow the field to consider ways to promote parity where appropriate.

Highlighted findings from the report include:

  • Women playwrights being produced Off Broadway range from season lows of 28% in 2013-14 to a season high of 41% in 2017-18.
  • Women director credits by season range from a low of 37% in 2013-14 to a high of 47% in 2017-18.
  • Set designer credits are generally less than one third women, ranging from a season low of 20% in 2015-16 to a season high of 32% in 2016-17.
  • Lighting designers are overwhelmingly men among recent productions, with a season low of 11% credits for women in 2014-15 to a season high of 23% credits for women in 2017-18.
  • Costume designers are primarily women, with a low of 70% in 2016-17, and a high of 74% women in 2013-14.
  • Sound designer credits are one-fifth women across the seasons, with wide variation among producing companies. Season range from 13% women in 2016-17 to a season high of 21% women in 2017-18.
  • Production stage managers, stage managers, and assistant stage managers are 70% women, more or less, in each study year, reflecting national trends.
  • Ten companies produced 50% or more women playwrights in their 2017-18 Off- Broadway seasons: EST, MTC, NYTW, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Rattlestick, Roundabout, Signature, Soho Rep, and WP Theater.
  • Three companies produced no women playwrights in their 2017-18 Off Broadway seasons: CSC, Keen, and New Group.
  • Thirteen women playwrights had 3 or more productions during the last five seasons: Anna Ziegler, Anne Washburn, Cori Thomas, Halley Feiffer, Laura Eason, Lindsey Ferrentino, Lucy Thurber, Martyna Majok, Naomi Wallace, Penelope Skinner, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Sarah Ruhl, and Suzan-Lori Parks.
  • Thirteen companies had 50% or more women directors in their 2017-18 season: ATC, EST, Flea, LCT, MCC, MTC, NYTW, Primary Stages, Rattlestick, Second Stage, Signature, Soho Rep, and WP Theater.
  • Four companies had no women directors in the 2017-18 study season: CSC, Keen, Mint, and New Group.
  • Eleven women directors had 5 or more directing credits during the last five seasons: Anne Kauffman, Charlotte Moore, Daniella Topol, Jo Bonney, Kate Whoriskey, Leigh Silverman, Liesl Tommy, Lila Neugebauer, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Rebecca Taichman, and Sara Benson.

THE LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL THEATRE WOMEN (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization) has been championing women and leading the gender parity conversation in the professional theatre for over 35 years. Since its founding, the LPTW's membership has grown to 500+ theatre artists and practitioners of all backgrounds, across multiple disciplines, working in the commercial and non-profit sectors. To increase visibility of and opportunities for women in the field, the LPTW spearheads public programming, advocacy initiatives, events, media, and publications that raise awareness of the importance of nurturing women's voices, celebrate industry luminaries, preserve the legacy of historic visionaries, and shine a spotlight on the imperative of striving for gender parity and fostering a diversity of expression, both in the theatre world and the world at large. To find out more about how you can support its endeavors, please visit www.theatrewomen.org.

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