FRP Launches New Fundraising Campaign: Be a #SHERO for the Arts!

By: Jun. 13, 2017
"Women are greatly under-represented in theater... despite the fact that great strides have been made in other fields, women continue to face enormous employment challenges in the arts" (Eleanor J. Bader, Investigative Journalist for Truthout, a 501(c)3 non-profit working actively against Social Injustice). Born from this idea and the personal experiences of the artists who work at Flat Rock Playhouse, Be a #SHERO for the Arts, is an effort by the Playhouse, in partnership with United Way's Women United, Pardee Hospital's Women Helping Women & , to ultimately, empower women in the Arts, in their own lives, and in their communities.

Producing Artistic Director Lisa K. Bryant explains, "Flat Rock Playhouse is an organization where women lead the way. At FRP, we are shattering all national statistics for women leading in the arts. We are a team of women, AND men, championing opportunities for women in an industry that otherwise lags significantly behind in its efforts to change the status quo."

In a study completed earlier this year focusing on Women's Leadership in the Non-Profit Theatre, it was found that 'women have never held more than 27% of leadership positions in American non-profit theatre.' Similarly, in a study not specific to the Arts, it was determined that though they hold almost 52% of all professional jobs, women make up only 14.6% of Executive Officers. Bryant, the Producing Artistic Director of Flat Rock Playhouse (a CORST Equity Theatre founded in 1952, with its resident company dating back to 1937), is one in a very small handful of women acting as the Executive Director of a professional theater in the United States. The Wellesley Centers for Women & the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco found that in 2013, 'there were only fifteen women who served as artistic directors, or held The Combined Artistic Director/CEO position in the seventy-four LORT theatres at the time (another division of Equity classifications for Professional Theatre).' Additionally, in a similar study by the League of Professional Theatre Women in 2015, '...among executive directors - business chiefs at theater companies who are separate from the artistic leadership - 74% were men.'

Female Artistic Directors, however, are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to gender inequality in the Arts. From a professional theater perspective, Flat Rock Playhouse completed a comparative analysis of female employment in their organization against industry standards (determined by the League of Professional Theatre Women's - Women Count 2015). In regards to making strides to "break the glass ceiling" for female employment in the Arts, it is clear that the Playhouse proudly stands apart.

INDUSTRY STATISTICS FOR WOMEN IN THE ARTS (in addition to those detailed above)

• 33% of Directors are female

• 22-36% of Set Designers are female

• 8-16% of Lighting Designers are female

• 14-22% of Sound Designers are female

• 61-79% of Costume Designers are female


2017 Main Stage Season

• 77.8% of shows directed by a Female Director

• 62.5% of shows choreographed by a Female Choreographer

Design Departments

• Lighting: 50% Female

• Sound: 50-67% Female

• Scenic: 40% Female

? Paints (specifically): 75% Female

• Costumes: 75% Female

Staff Breakdown

• 47.8% Production Positions are filled by women

• 61.5% of Administrative Positions are filled by women

• 52.4% of Total Staff Count (Full Time & Seasonal)

This overview does not include that Flat Rock Playhouse's Board of Trustees, made up of 30% female members, is led by female Board President, Paige Posey. This sets the Playhouse apart from national standards, as women typically make up only 12.3% of U.S. Corporate Boards & hold around 19% of Board Seats.

In summary, Bryant clarifies, "the power of women uniting is not a new concept. In fact, it's because we know how much good can come from women leaning in to affect positive change that we are seeking your support now." Flat Rock Playhouse is asking for a $5 donation to support the Playhouse, women in the Arts, and women leading in their communities. A percentage of all donations will go directly to United Way's Women United, Pardee Hospital's Women Helping Women and BREASTCANCER.ORG, non-profits who are making great strides to empower women in their communities and support women in the Arts.

In order to change the status quo in this industry, it is necessary that #SHEROES take a stand to speak out about gender inequality in the Arts. However, the challenges women face in the Arts only exemplify the many challenges women face across the board. The Playhouse hopes that women and men, adults and children, and artists and supporters will hear their call, and join the effort to pave the way for women - not only for the future, but for today.

Watch Be a #SHERO Video:

More about how to be a #SHERO:

Visit for more information and to donate $5 TODAY! For the price of a cup of coffee, a $5 contribution can make a positive change for women in the Arts. Please join Flat Rock Playhouse, Women Helping Women, Women United &, and Be a #SHERO for the Arts!!!

Donations can also be mailed to:

Flat Rock Playhouse

PO Box 310

Flat Rock, NC 28731

Attn: #SHERO

The #SHERO campaign ends at midnight, July 31st.


In 1937, a group of struggling performers, led by Robroy Farquhar, organized themselves as the Vagabond Players. The Vagabonds worked in a variety of places over the course of three years, and in 1940 found themselves in the Blue Ridge region of Western North Carolina. The local and tourist community welcomed them with open arms when they presented their first summer season of plays in a 150-year-old grist mill they converted into The Old Mill Playhouse at Highland Lake. So successful was that summer, they returned in 1941. After WWII, the Vagabond Players reorganized, came back to the region and opened a playhouse in nearby Lake Summit. The Lake Summit Playhouse thrived during the post war years and soon the Vagabond Players were looking for a larger and permanent home. In 1952, the troupe of performers, and a newly formed board of directors, made an offer to buy an 8-acre lot in the Village of Flat Rock. This new home made the Vagabonds "locals" and a rented big top gave birth to Flat Rock Playhouse. As the beautiful Western Carolina region continued to grow, so did the Playhouse and in 1961, by Act of the North Carolina General Assembly, Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated The State Theatre of North Carolina. What began as a few weeks of summer performances in 1940 is now a nine-month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy, drama, and theatre for young audiences. The Playhouse's dual mission of producing the performing arts and providing education in the performing arts includes a professional series; a summer and fall college apprentice and intern program; and Studio 52, family focused programming that provides immersive, hands-on theatrical experiences for children in kindergarten through adults. Flat Rock Playhouse now hosts over 98,000 patrons annually and is a significant contributor to the local economy and the Arts in North Carolina.