Did you hear about that study about gender bias in American theater? It was done by Emily Glassberg Sands, who was a student at Princeton at the time. I’ve been thinking about it because Julia Jordan, the playwright who urged Sands to do the study, gave a keynote speech at the Dramatists Guild conference in Washington, D.C., in June.
The New York Times had an article about the study, Rethinking Gender Bias in Theater.
The results of the study were complex, but there were two results that make me think:
- women artistic directors and literary managers think (unconsciously) that plays written by women aren’t as good, and are less attractive to audiences, less easy to cast, and less likely to make money, than plays written by men.
- plays with a woman protagonist, or with more women characters than men characters, are less likely to be produced.
I’m a woman.
“Lessons from Moonshine” has an all-women cast.
What should I do?
Maybe I should send the play only to men artistic directors and literary managers.
Maybe I should change my name.
Maybe I should make my play about monks, not nuns.
Okay, I’m not serious about that last one.
But seriously, I’ve been thinking about what might keep a theater from producing my play, but I’ve been thinking about the play itself. I never thought about these kinds of unconscious assessments people make.
Do you have any ideas?