The Facts

For the latest LA FPI stats re SoCal LORT Theaters, 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
  • During the 2012-2103 Broadway season, only 10% of plays were by women playwrights and 14% of the productions were directed by women. 12
  • Numbers show that women playwrights, directors and designers receive fewer than 20% of the professional production opportunities nationwide. 3
  • From 2010-2014, women playwrights working Off-Broadway ranged from a high of 36% in 2012-2013, to a low of 28% in 2013-2014. Women directors Off-Broadway ranged from a high of 39% in 2012-2013 to a low of 24% in 2011-2012. 11
  • In 1998, 30% of the playwrights and 40% of the directors in Off-off Broadway theaters with budgets under $500,000 were women. 1
  • 114 theaters across the country did not produce even one play by a woman on their mainstage during the 2010/2011 season. 6
  • 50% of the Top 10 Most-Produced Plays at TCG theaters in the 2013/2014 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 in the Washington, DC area, in the 2013-14 season, 74% were written by men, 26% by women. By comparison, in the 2012-13 season, 79% of the plays were written by men, 21% by women. 13
  • 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
  • It’s harder to get plays produced if they have female protagonists. 2
  • In 2009, plays about women had won 50% 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 most of the theater tickets and make up 68% of Broadway audiences. 9
  • Of the top ten most-produced plays at TCG theaters from 2000-2010, 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 2012-2013, The Broadway League, December, 2013

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

11 League of Professional Theatre Women Off-Broadway Study by Judith Binus and Martha Wade Steketee, September 2014

12 “Women on Broadway: New Study Reveals Grim Statistics” by Tim Kenneally, TheWrap, February 26, 2014

13 “DC Theater Demographics: The 2013-2104 Season” by Gwydion Suilebhan, 2014

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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