Thursday, July 16, 2009

Out with the 'new'

On The Guardian Theatre blog, Max Stafford Clark calls for the media to get over its obsession with hyping a succession of new female playwrights.
Let's face facts: journalism has not helped sustain the careers of young female writers. A few years ago, Rebecca Pritchard and Winsome Pinnock shot across the theatrical galaxy like flaming comets. Pinnock was hailed as the first important young black female playwright, while Pritchard began her career with Essex Girls at the Royal Court's Young Writer's festival and was later talked about in the same breath as Mark Ravenhill and Philip Ridley. They are now less visible.

Other writers have spoken to me about the difficulties of living up to the hype. One national paper used to run a feature called The Next Big Thing; while I can see that it would be less appealing to arts editors, a feature called The Next Sustainable Medium-Sized Thing might well be more help. It's also worth noting the particular pressure on female writers to be sexy in a manner that simply isn't there for their male counterparts.

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