The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI) recently conducted a study on the number of female-written plays produced in LA. The number is a disappointing yet unsurprising 20%.
In addition, Broadway has not produced a single play written by women in the 2010-2011 year. No women were nominated for the Tony for Best Playwright. No women were nominated for Best Playwright for the 2010 Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Circle, or LA Weekly awards for their work either.
Despite this dearth of recognition, the study revealed that:
Number one -there are only slightly fewer female playwrights than male playwrights. There are 40% female playwrights according to the Drama Guild and 47% according to the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.
And number two - more male-written plays are produced then female-written plays.
There were two different facets to the study. The first part was a volunteer survey where theatre companies and playwrights could self-report information of their plays produced from 2000-2009 using Survey Monkey. The other part entailed a count of all projects registered in the LA Stage Alliance Database for consideration in the Ovation Awards from 2000-2010. The results for both studies reveal that only 20% of the plays produced in LA were written by women.
It’s hard to believe that in ten years, female playwrights have not made much of a dent in the theatre world. Even though female plays have been shown to make more money than male written plays (according to the 2009 Sands study), female-centric stories are not being taken seriously.
Luckily, the LA FPI has a plan to get the LA theatre community to start taking these numbers more seriously. First, see theatre written by female playwrights. Next, wear a badge with the LA FPI logo to every show you attend and pass out badges to patrons before and after the show. You can find out how to get a badge at lafpi.com. When people see your badge, they’ll ask what it’s for, and you can tell them.
We want more female-written plays!