Women

LPTW Study Shows Gender Parity Outside Broadway Theatres

Monday Nov 30, 2015

The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW), as part of a larger initiative called Women Count, has issued findings from its second annual analysis of the status of women employed in New York City theatres off-stage and outside the Broadway district. A number of efforts to count, study, analyze and report on the status of women in theatre in recent years have focused on playwrights and directors. This second report from the ongoing study looks at a broader range of professional roles with a deep focus on the hiring patterns of productions in a set of non-Broadway theatres for five consecutive seasons.

The 2015 study, conducted by LPTW members Martha Wade Steketee and Judith Binus and is available here analyzes employment in 13 professional roles (including playwrights, directors, and designers) in 455 Off- and Off-Off-Broadway productions in 22 theatre companies for five complete seasons, 2010-2011 through 2014-2015.

Selected findings for 22 study theatres for five seasons 2010-2011 through 2014-2015:

  • Productions across the study seasons 2010-2011 through 2014-2015 are dominated by "new" plays with premieres from 2005 through April 2015. Individual seasons range from 70% to 80% "new" plays, with the five-season 2010-2015 rate of 76% "new" plays.

  • Women playwrights represented in the study Off-Broadway theatres range from a low of 28% in 2011-2012 to a high of 36% in 2012-2013. The 2010-2015 five-season rate of women playwrights is 30% for the study theatres as a group. Six (6) study theatres present 50% or more women playwrights in their 2014-2015 season: Ensemble Studio Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, and The Women's Project.

  • Five women playwrights have three or more productions during the study period: Teresa Deevy, Amy Herzog, Lisa Kron, Sarah Ruhl, and Lucy Thurber. Elevator Repair Service credits women and men among its creative team and has four productions during the study period.

  • Women playwrights are consistently much more common among "new" plays (plays with first productions in 2005 or more recent) than older plays produced by theatres tracked in the study. The 2010-2015 five-season rate for women playwrights produced is 35% for "new" plays and 13% for older plays.


  • Directors range from a high of 40% women in 2014-2015 to a low of 22% women in 2011-2012. The 2010-2015 five-season rate is 33% women directors. Nine (9) study Off-Broadway theatres have 50% or more women directors in their 2014-2015 season: EST, Flea Theatre, LAByrinth, LCT, New Group, Rattlestick, Signature, Soho Rep, and the Women's Project.

  • Fourteen women directors have three or more productions during the study period: Sarah Benson, Jo Bonney, Carolyn Cantor, Leah C. Gardiner, Jackson Gay, Anne Kauffman, Tina Landau, Pam MacKinnon, Lisa Peterson, Giovanna Sardelli, Leigh Silverman, Rebecca Taichman, Daniela Topol, and Gaye Taylor Upchurch.

  • Set designers for study productions are generally less than one third women, ranging from a low of 22% in 2014-2015 to a high of 36% in 2012-2013. Fourteen women set designers with four or more productions are represented in the report period, accounting for 78% (104 of 134) of set design credits for women.

  • Lighting designers among the study productions are overwhelmingly men, with a low of 8% women in 2012-2013 and highs of 16% women in both 2010-2011 and 2013-2014. Six women lighting designers with three or more credits are analyzed in the report: Jane Cox, Mary Louise Geiger, Natasha Katz, Nicola Pearce, Jen Schriever and Jennifer Tipton, accounting for 53% (33 of 62) of lighting design credits for women.

  • Study costume designers are overwhelmingly women, reflecting national trends, with a low of 61% women in 2010-2011 and a high of 79% women in 2012-2013. Among the most frequently hired woman costume designers (7 or more credits among productions studied) are: Martha Hally, Susan Hilferty, Sarah J. Holden, Sydney Maresca, Jennifer Paar, Jessica Pabst, Emily Rebholz, Teresa Squire, Kaye Voyce, Anita Yavich, and Catherine Zuber.

  • Study women sound designers ranged from a high of 22% in 2011-2012 to a low of 14% in 2013-2014. Five sound designers account for 93% (79 of 85) of sound design credits for women during the study report's 5 seasons. 41% (35 of 85) of sound design credits by women during the study period are for Jill BC Du Boff.

  • For the five seasons of the study, the number of musicals was small, affecting the numbers and percentages of women employed in musical-related categories, including lyricists and composers.

    Nationally, stage managers average 70% women. Production stage managers in the study's 22 theatres for 2010-2015 are 70% women. Stage managers and assistant stage managers for 2010-2015 are 72% women.

    The League of Professional Theatre Women is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It presents numerous events each year as part of its mission to promote visibility and increase opportunities for women in the field. None of its work is possible without generous philanthropic support.

    The League is celebrating its 31st anniversary and boasts a membership of nearly 500 women representing a diversity of theatre professionals in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. League members are actors, administrators, agents, arrangers, casting directors, choreographers, company managers, composers, critics, designers, directors, dramaturgs, dramatists, educators, general managers, historians, journalists, librettists, lyricists, press agents, playwrights, producers, stage managers, and theatre technicians.


    To find out more about how you can support its endeavors, visit www.theatrewomen.org

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