Lyceum wins gender equality award

Jun 12 2018 | By More

50/50 applause playwright award for Lyceum

The Royal Lyceum is one of only two UK theatres to win the International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 Applause award for gender parity in its playwrights.

The American centre recognised a total of 62 theatres around the world out of 103 nominations, with the Lyceum and The Other Room in Cardiff being the only two UK recipients.

Nicola Roy, Helen Mackay, Pauline Knowles in The Belle’s Stratagem. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

The awards go to theatres in which at least half of productions in their July 2017- June 2018 seasons are written by women. According to the award criteria theatres must have staged three or more productions during the season and have plays written by both male and female playwrights in that season.

For the 2018 Awards, the organisers say that only main stage productions were taken into account, as that is where most theatre budgets are spent and where playwrights receive the most media attention and career advancement. Visiting and festival productions do not count towards the total.

The Lyceum’s artistic director David Greig told Æ: “I’m very proud that The Lyceum has won this award. I’m particularly pleased because – as a theatre working within the existing canon – our directors have shown imagination and taste in finding work by women writers for us to programme.

“In future I hope 50/50 programming will be so normal it would be odd to be praised for it. But for now, I’m delighted that our determination to make our theatre a place where writing by women is treated equally has been recognised.”

Five of nine

Five of the Lyceum’s nine main stage productions last season were written by women. While two or three adaptations were done by women or, the case of Marguerite’s Duras’s The Lover, female teams.

Sophia Kolinas, Adam Tompa and Alexandra Mathie in Cockpit. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

The 62 recipients of this year’s awards come from Australia, Canada, Finland, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, United States, and Wales. Approximately 60% are repeat recipients. Awardees range from community and college theaters to internationally renowned public theaters.

“We are pleased to see that there are some theatres that, year after year, provide opportunities for women playwrights. We salute their efforts,” said 50/50 Applause Award Co-Chair Patricia L. Morin. “However, we will witness more economic discrimination toward women playwrights (smaller stages, less performances, less pay), as well as the constant promotion of male voices, unless more theatres step up and join the ranks to support 50/50 gender parity.”

The organisers add: “To have a professional theatre scene that encourages, enables and celebrates women playwrights, then governing boards, public funders and artistic directors around the world should ask themselves if the theatre programs they are supporting are enabling gender discrimination in favour of men, and silencing the voices of the creative women who have equally valid things to say.

“The 50/50 Applause Award certificate should be as important as fire and public safety certificates, and their theatres should not be able to open their doors without it.”

The 2017/18 Lyceum Season in full:

What Shadows by Chris Hannan.
Cockpit by Bridget Boland.
Wind Resistance by Karine Polwart.
The Arabian Nights Suhayla El-Bushra.
The Lover by Marguerite Duras, adapted by Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick.
The Belle’s Stratagem By Hannah Cowley (adapted by Tony Cownie).
Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco (adapted by Zinnie Harris).
Creditors by August Strindberg
The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other by Peter Handke.

Details of the 50/50 Applause awards are here:

A full list of winning theatres and their seasons is here: 50/50 Awards shows 2018.


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