Sphinx Theatre, University Women In The Arts And The December Group Announce Major Women In Theatre Forum

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The UK's leading women's theatre company Sphinx Theatre, University Women in the Arts, the mentoring programme to improve the transition for women from studying the arts to working in the arts, and the December Group, a new group of leading women in theatre, have announced a major forum on Women in Theatre in the UK.

Hosted by Dame Rosemary Squire at Trafalgar Studios on February 25th from 1.30pm to 5pm, the forum will bring together for the first time recent research from leading organisations including:

· A major year long research project from Sphinx Theatre on Women in Theatre, run in partnership with Jennifer Tuckett at the University of Cambridge

· Equity's recent research with Royal Holloway, University of London, on women and appearance

· ERA 50:50's current work on actresses in the UK

· Stage Directors UK's recent research on theatre directors

· The Writers' Guild of Great Britain's recent research on writers in the UK

· University Women in the Arts' recent research at the University of Cambridge on how to improve the transition for women from studying the arts to working in the arts

Building on the highly successful Are we at the Tipping Point? Hampstead Theatre Symposium in 2019, the forum offers an opportunity to explore the impact of the Me Too and Times Up movements and to hear about Sphinx Theatre's year long research project updating, amongst others, Charlotte Higgins' and Elizabeth Freestone's influential Guardian research into women in theatre. The conference will also offer an opportunity to learn more about other recent research into women in theatre, bringing the leading organisations together for the first time, and to help shape recommendations for the future.

Partners on the forum include Equity, The Writers' Guild of Great Britain, ERA 50:50 and Stage Directors UK in addition to the hosts Sphinx Theatre Company, University Women in the Arts and the December Group.

Speakers include Gemma Bodinetz, Artistic Director of Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse; Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse; Caroline Barth, Creative Learning Director at Derby Theatre; Kelly Burke, Chair of Equity's Women's Committee; Polly Kemp, Co-founder of ERA 50:50, Jennifer Tuckett, Director, University Women in the Arts; Julia Pascal, one of the first female directors at the National Theatre and playwright; Sue Parrish, Artistic Director, Sphinx Theatre, Lesley Gannon, Assistant General Secretary at The Writers' Guild of Great Britain; Titilola Dawudu, Co-founder of Black Womxn in Theatre; Jodi-Alissa Bickerton, Creative Learning Director at Graeae; Lisa Spirling, Artistic Director of Theatre 503.

The December Group is a new group of women in theatre who have been meeting with Arts Council England over the last year to advocate for gender equality in UK theatre. The group includes President of Equity Maureen Beattie; co-founder of ERA 50:50 Polly Kemp; the first black female playwright to be produced at the National Theatre, Winsome Pinnock; Artistic Director of Sphinx Theatre, Sue Parrish; Director of Art School and University Women in the Arts and academic Jennifer Tuckett, who has most recently been conducting the world's first major mixed methods research project into how to improve the transition for women from studying the arts to working in the arts at the University of Cambridge; the first female director at the National Theatre and playwright, Julia Pascal; Artistic Director of Watford Palace Theatre, Brigid Larmour; Artistic Director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Elizabeth Newman; Stage Directors UK's Jemma Gross; former Graeae Literary Manager and playwright Chloe Todd Fordham.

The Women in Theatre forum is open to everyone working in the theatre industry, policymakers, funding bodies, freelancers, students and anyone interested in the position of women in theatre in the UK.

Sphinx Artistic Director Sue Parrish said: "We are in a new era and we look towards a redrawing of the cultural landscape with this event".

University Women in the Arts Director and academic Jennifer Tuckett said: ""Over the last year we've been working on a mixed methods research project on Women in Theatre. Coming from a single parent family, I know how hard it can be to feel you can be part of the arts and it has been brilliant to see the success of past mentees like Titilola Dawudu ("Hear Me Now" forthcoming at Theatre 503) and Samia Djilli (assistant producer, Tamasha). We hope this research and forthcoming conference will enable us to do more and to work together to help create more concrete action to address gender inequality in theatre. Research from Australia has shown the impact specific initiatives for women can have and participants in our research project unanimously asked for specific initiatives, funding and concrete action."

The forum will conclude with a discussion of recommendations on how to improve gender equality in UK theatre which will be published. Key questions for the discussions are: What does the latest research tell us about the representation of women in UK theatre? Is 50:50 across the Arts a creative possibility for 2020? What are the strategies for progress?

For more information and to book tickets please go to


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