Where’s the feminist theatre?

// 4 June 2008

Where’s all the feminist theatre? asks Guardian theatre and performing arts blogger Andy Field, today.

Lucinda Coxon’s Happy Now? was widely touted as a play written by a young woman, directed by one of the most exciting young directors in the country, with a starring role for a talented actress, and yet its exploration of 21st-century womanhood didn’t extend much further than the overly familiar territory of finding happiness in the fraught balance between work and family. And while Katie Mitchell’s staggering production of Attempts on Her Life acutely deconstructed the manipulation of female identity, it was greeted with a wall of patronising misogynistic bluster that she should dare mess about with Martin Crimp’s play.

Field comes up with a few more examples, but I wonder if theatre-going F-Word readers might have some suggestions too?!

Comments From You

Louise // Posted 5 June 2008 at 11:56 am

I read this article with interest but think it, as ever, blames the women. As a feminist playwright I’ve seen first hand the inherent sexism involved – from theatre owners who believe you don’t know how to work a lights rig to (male) play-readers at established theatres to declare a representation of a relatively mundane female experience to be “exagerrated for comedic effect”. There are a few feminist informed theatre companies out there but so few they tend not to use/review unsolicited materials but rely instead on commissioned pieces meaning only a few people get a chance.

So here’s a new question – not why aren’t there more feminist plays but why can’t those that have been and are being written get a fair hearing? Who’s willing to produce them, particularly from new writers, and who will fund that?

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