(And please feel free to send us your questions!  We’ll post ’em and share the answers with others.)

The Initiative

What’s the reason for the initiative?

To promote positive action. Female playwrights are critically underrepresented on stages across the country, and we want to do our part in Los Angeles to ensure that women playwrights are fairly represented here, and elsewhere.

Who can be involved in the initiative?

Anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re an emerging or an established playwright,  theater artist or audience member, or if you’d rather be onstage than behind the scenes. We welcome – no, we need – your ideas and involvement.

Is the initiative only for playwrights based in Los Angeles?

No. LAFPI exists to support playwrights, theatermakers and theatergoers who share the common goal of seeing women’s work onstage in Los Angeles and beyond.

Are only female playwrights involved?

No. LAFPI is a spearheaded by individuals of all genders who realize that, particularly in these difficult times, an “us vs. them” approach is not going to serve anyone.  The more work we get onstage, the more we all benefit.

What will the initiative do for female playwrights?

Hopefully, a lot. We want to advocate for female playwrights based in LA by creating an active nexus between theaters, companies, organizations and theater artists who want to produce, promote and employ playwrights identifying as women all or part of the time.

What about other theater artists who identify as women?

We love them. A main goal of the LAFPI is to open channels and create opportunities for women playwrights, and by extension all  theater artists who identify as women. Women helping women.  It works.

Why should I care about the initiative if I’m a producer?

Because we care about you. We want to recognize and support LA area theaters who produce, promote and employ female theater artists through sharing our logo and advocating for – and attending – your productions.

How can I become a part of the initiative?

It’s easy – just let us know.  We’re a grassroots movement at its beginning stages, so there are tons of ways you can help out. Contact us and we’ll put you to work.

The Logo

What’s the deal with the LAFPI Logo?

The Logo is an essential part of the LA Female Playwrights Initiative.  It was inspired by the American Humane Association logo that we now expect to see on the end credits of films.  We wanted to raise awareness of the very dire situation at present, and at the same time foster accountability among theaters and theater-makers.  While keeping our sense of humor. In essence, we’re saying: “No female playwrights were harmed . . .”

Where does LAFPI want to see its Logo?

On programs, websites, and promotional materials throughout the Southland. It’ll be a badge of honor, and a signal of change.

Why should I put the Logo on my promotional materials?

It’ll help get our message out there, and at the same time, serve as a marketing tool for your production, theater or organization. We’re an inside source for LA theatergoers who want invest in the theaters who are with the FPI – by buying tickets to plays by femme-identifying playwrights.

Can I tell friends and theater companies about the Logo?

Definitely!  It’s a great way to spread the word about what we’re doing. As a side benefit, we’d love it if the LAFPI could help unify the LA theater community.

What does the Logo mean?

Along with the Logo, we encourage the use of the following text: “We actively support the goals of the LA Female Playwrights Initiative, to ensure that women+ playwrights are fairly represented on stages in the Greater Los Angeles area.” Use of the Logo means just that.

How do I get a copy of the LAFPI Logo?

If you’re ready to say, “I’m with the FPI!” you’ve earned your badge.  It’s that easy. Click here to become part of what we’re doing.

The Study

What data was included in the Study?

The Study included productions on stages in the Greater Los Angeles through data collected by LA STAGE Alliance from 2002-2009, and various other sources.  A separate survey component tallied the plays of Los Angeles-area female playwrights and theater companies from 2000-2009, the first decade of the 21st century, as well as subjective data from playwrights and theater-makers.

How was the data collected?

The data was shared by organizations other comprehensive sources and collected directly through Survey Monkey, an online research tool. The Study analyzed this data, and also data from individual playwrights who self-reported. In addition, data was collected and processed manually to ensure accuracy.

Who could take part in the Study?

Any theater or producing organization in the Greater Los Angeles area, and any individual playwright who is LA-based, or has had work presented in the LA area.

Why did female-identifying playwrights need to self-report for the Study?

In order to ensure the accuracy and completeness of data received from theaters and producing organizations. (This was the “blind” portion of the Study.) In addition, we wanted to collect data from LA female playwrights – where and how often our plays were presented – in order to celebrate our collective achievement, and see just how impressive and important a cultural resource we are, locally and elsewhere.

Did male playwrights self-report for the Study?

Yes. Again, this served as a blind to ensure accuracy.  However, for the purposes of this Study, we were only be able to use data reflecting the work of male playwrights in the Greater Los Angeles area.

What data was collected through the online survey portion of the Study?

We asked about all plays produced or developed from 2000 – 2009, along with the approximate dates of each presentation, and other information such as the location of the venue. Whether collected from a playwright, theater or producing organization, zip codes were used to identify geographical regions in terms of the Greater Los Angeles area.

What was considered the “Greater Los Angeles area?”

Anywhere within Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino or Orange Counties. The Study focused on contiguous neighboring counties to Los Angeles, as an area of cultural impact, for our initial efforts.

What did the Study mean by a “presentation?”

A presentation could be a production, workshop or either public or developmental readings as long as they were associated with a theater or production company. (A private reading at someone’s living room, for instance, would not be included.)

What did the Study count as a “production?”

For the purposes of the Study, productions could be at a professional (Equity or non-Equity), community or college/university theater, as long as admission was charged and design elements were incorporated.

Did the Study include productions that were self-produced?

Yes. Self-produced plays were included, as long as they were professional productions.

What about productions written by students?

If a production – or workshop or reading – of a student-written play was mounted by a college or university during the time the student was attending that college or university, it would not be counted for the purposes of this Study.  (We figured it was part of a student’s coursework or educational activities.)  However, if a student-written play received a professional production it would be counted, regardless of whether the playwright was a student at the time of production.  A student-written play which was produced a college or university – any college or university – after the playwright was no longer a student would also be counted in the Study.

Why was the Study concerned about whether a production was a solo show?

The Study looked at this information to identify possible trends and opportunity for women playwrights in general, and in the Greater Los Angeles area.

What if one play received multiple presentations during the time period of the Study?

The Study recorded individual presentations – productions, workshops or readings – not the number of plays (e.g. if a play received a reading at two different theaters, then a workshop and production through another company, it was recorded as four presentations).

Why did the Study ask about a producer’s location if the play was presented in a Los Angeles-area venue?

The Study used this information to identify which companies and organizations were “importing” productions by female playwrights. In the case of presentations by Los Angeles-based playwrights outside the LA area, the information was used to measure the impact of local artists as a “cultural export.”

How long did the data collection take?

Starting from the initial online outreach for survey responses, it took 15 months to document and compile all the data.

When were the results of the Study first released?

March 1, 2011.

Where can I find the results?

Read about the Study hereClick here for a copy of the results from the LAFPI survey and LA STAGE data for the Study.