The Facts

For the latest LA FPI stats 2012/2013 re: SoCal, see “News.

  • In 1908/09, only 12.8% of the productions on Broadway were by women playwrights. Some 100 years later, the percentage of major New York productions written by women was 12.6%. 10
  • There were no plays on Broadway written by women during the 2010/2011 season. 6
  • Latest numbers show that women playwrights, directors and designers receive fewer than 20% of the professional production opportunities nationwide. 3
  • There are 114 theaters across the country will not be producing even one play by a woman on their mainstage during the 2010/2011 season. 6
  • 5 of the 10 most-produced plays at TCG theaters in the 2010/2011 season were written by women. 5
  • From 2002-2010, approximately 20% of the plays on LA-area stages were written or co-written by women playwrights. 7
  • In Chicago, plays written by women constituted just under 19% of plays produced in 2009. 8
  • Of the plays produced by non-profit American theaters in the 2001-2002 season, only 16% had women directors and only 17% were by women playwrights. 1
  • In 1998, 30% of the playwrights and 40% of the directors in Off-off Broadway theaters with budgets under $500,000 were women. 1
  • It’s harder to get plays produced if they have female protagonists. 2
  • Plays about women have won 15 of the last 30 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. 4
  • From 2000-2010  more than half of the top ten plays produced at TCG theaters had female leads. 5
  • Broadway plays written by women earn on average 18% more than those written by men. 4
  • Women buy 69%  of theater tickets sold, and make up 66% of the audience. 9
  • Of the top ten most-produced plays at TCG theaters in the last 10 years, an average of 30% were written by women. 5
  • The number of women writers produced in America has remained virtually the same for the past century. 4

1 The New York State Council on the Arts Theatre Program Report, “The Status of Women: A Limited Engagement?” By Susan Jonas & Suzanne Bennett, released Jan 2002

2 Emily Glassberg Sands study, “Opening the Curtain on Playwright Gender: An Integrated Economic Analysis of Discrimination in American Theater.”

3 50/50 by 2020 Facebook Pages

4Not There Yet: What will it take to achieve equality for women in the theatre?” by Marsha Norman, American Theatre Magazine, November, 2009.

5Top Ten Most Produced Plays“, American Theatre Magazine

6 Guerrilla Girls on Tour Blogspot 2011

7 LA FPI Study, March, 2011

8 Chicago Gender Equity Report, March 22, 2010

9 The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2009-2010, The Broadway League, November, 2010

10 Broadway’s Glass Ceiling” by Theresa Rebeck, The Guardian, September 2008

Further recommended reading: Discrimination and the Female Playwright by Sheri Wilner and Julia Jordan

Special thanks to playwright Cindy Cooper, who gathered many of the statistics above in her paper ” A Concise Selection of Down Deep Facts About Theater and Gender” for a New York Dramatist Guild meeting in December, 2009.

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