In The Stage, Lucy Perman, executive director of women’s theatre company Clean Break, argues that sexism exists in the industry and suggests how it might be overcome.
There is still a distrust of women in many spheres and in theatre, I believe, a resistance to giving female artists a platform for their own voice. In limiting their voices, we limit our audiences’ view of the world. Expectations and sometimes desire for women’s work tend towards safe and comfortable territory, which reinforces the still stereotypical view of women in society. There’s the kitchen sink drama, the fractured lyrical poetic lament, the character-led piece, plays that aren’t overtly political, plays that don’t challenge the theatre establishment or audiences in their form or content.
Of course, I’m generalising, as there are indisputable successes that chart new territory. However, more freedom for women to write about what’s important to them through open commissions, with the right support structures and fees and, crucially, a commitment to produce, will bring new narratives on to our stages.