As an LAFPI blog reader, you are probably already familiar with The Kilroys, the gang of 13 Los Angeles-based playwrights and producers who, in their own words, “are done talking about gender parity and are taking action.” They make news every year when they publish The Kilroy’s List, an aggregation of the most recommended unproduced or underproduced plays by women and trans playwrights. In a way, they do this to call out any theatre that’s lagging in gender parity – simply by saying, hey, look, we did the work for you. Are you saying you can’t find great plays by women or trans writers? Produce one of these plays, to start with.
Earlier this week Joy Meads emailed and asked if I could do The Kilroys a favor – could I deliver a chocolate cake to the Los Angeles Theatre Center on Thursday? It would be part of a nationwide celebration – thirteen theaters around the country would get delicious cake delivered to them by an ambassador playwright, to celebrate their leadership and commitment to gender parity.
As it happens, I have a special connection with the LATC myself since they co-produced my play In Love and Warcraftthis season, in association with Artists at Play. I was thrilled to do it.
So along with twelve other playwrights across the country, I picked up a specially baked cake and delivered it to a theatre that means a lot to me. The lovely people at LATC, under the leadership of Jose Luis Valenzuela and Evelina Fernandez, are doing excellent work for under-represented communities, and they deserve cake every day! (Or whatever treat they please, this cake was DELICIOUS but I might not be able to have it every day.)
Check out all the photos from the various cake drops today by following the hashtag #parityraid and #cakedrop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In closing I’d like to echo the request that The Kilroys have made today.
Don’t see your favorite parity-achieving theater on the list? We hope you’ll show them some love. Send a social media shout-out (or a cake!) and buy a ticket to celebrate their commitment to producing work by women and trans* writers.
Last night at the Lilly Awards, the Dramatists Guild gave a presentation on The Count (a national survey showing which theaters are producing the work of women and which are not). Marsha Norman, Julia Jordan, Lisa Kron, and Rebecca Stump went over the data and spoke on why parity matters.
Seasons used for the study were 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14; the Count is an ongoing annual project which means the data will be tracked and reported for each season going forward. The national percentage of productions for the past three seasons for women playwrights is 22.18%. The project is managed by Julia Jordan of the Lilly Awards and Rebecca Stump of the Dramatists Guild.
The Count has been six years in the making, Julia Jordan and Marsha Norman began the process in February 2014 with funding from the Lilly Awards and the Dramatists Guild to do a collaborative study to determine how many women playwrights are produced in the US. The data was reviewed by Lilei Xu, a statistician and economist.
According to this study, between 2011 and 2014 74% of the productions were plays, the rest were musicals; 62% were new work, the rest were revivals. 12% were written by writers of color, 88% were white.
In August 2015, research and data collection begins for the 2014-2015 season.
It was absolutely wonderful to see the presentation at the national conference. LA FPI was mentioned as one of the groups across the nation discussing parity. Lisa Kron suggested in her speech that theaters should check the Kilroys List, if having problems locating plays by female playwrights.
We all laughed…
but what is not funny is the fact that we still need to have this conversation.
For the complete report containing more thorough data, please check the Lilly Awards (thelillyawards.org and the Dramatists Guild www.dramatistsguild.com) websites.