Last year theatre blogger, Victoria Sadler, wrote about the lack of female writers on the London stage in her piece, The Lot For Female Playwrights Worsens. At The REP, championing female voices has always been central to our work - something we outlined in our response to Victoria's piece, here.
Roll on 12 months and Victoria has carefully considered and dissected the programmes in her (now) annual review of the number of female playwrights platformed in the capital's leading theatres in 2018. She reveals that little has changed.
Meanwhile here in Birmingham nothing has changed in 2018 either, but in a good way. This year we will have presented 19 plays by 18 women writers from diverse backgrounds across our stages:
Bryony Lavery (x 2)
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti
Antonia Beck/Lucy Nicholls
Lisa Hammond/Rachael Spence
In the same period we've featured the work of 20 male playwrights.
And away from our stages, a further three female writers (out of a total of five) have created theatre with and for communities through our Furnace programme - Sarah Hamilton-Baker, Rachel Mainwaring and Manjeet Mann.
But for us it's not just about equality in terms of numbers, it's also about quality and about diversity of voices - voices that can hold a mirror up to society, that can entertain and inspire audiences.
Women have long been central to our work and we look forward to a time when this topic is no longer an issue and that it becomes a given in theatres worldwide.
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