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The Guthrie Theatre Announces Its 50th Anniversary Season With No Female Playwrights on the Program

by Melissa Silverstein
April 30, 2012 10:11 AM
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So now women and people of color are tokens.  Nice.  With comments like this it is no wonder that American theatre is not diverse.  And I also want to give a big shout out to the board members who think that staging plays by white men is the only way to pay the bills. People - who the fuck do you think buys the tickets?  How many of the old white men in your theatre would be going if their wife, partner, friends etc had not bought the tickets because the statistics show that women buy 70% of the tickets. 

The question for me is why do theatre and other artistic institutions still continue to believe that the work of women -- whether that work is about women or just by women -- is something that is not equal to the work of men.  This is a fundamental question about the future of the arts and culture of our WORLD. 

The Guthrie diversity issue is just one example of many of the continued marginalization of women's voices.  It goes back to whose stories counts, whose stories are valid, whose stories are worthy.  This also must remind us that while many institutions across the culture portend to have diverse missions, that diversity is clearly limited, and it is up to us the public who buy tickets to say that we demand more diversity in our theatre across America. 

Read this piece about the situtation: Guthrie Theater's debt to women and diversity by Marianne Combs

Where's the diversity in the Guthrie's new season? (MPR)

The Guthrie’s Women/Race/Facebook Problem (MN/ST Paul Mag)

120 Seconds (2AMt)

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More: theatre, Sexism, Women Writers

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  • danielle perata | April 30, 2012 10:25 PMReply

    There is no "tokenism" involved in staging the works of great female writers and writers of color. They aren't hard to find... IF you make the effort. My guess? Both the board and the artistic director have become entirely too self-assured about their theatrical sensibilities... to the detriment of audiences and artists everywhere. If anything is "killing" theatre in this country, it's stuffy boards and sneeringly condescending artistic directors like this.

  • Susan Jonas | April 30, 2012 12:45 PMReply

    Dowling says he is responsible to the boards. Well it's about time the boards of theatres and the funders took responsibility for the programming they support, and ensured that the many theatres who pay lipservice to their commitment to diversity-- which almost all do in their mission statements and grant applications-- actually fulfilled those promises. If artistic directors can't find good work by women and writers of color, then they are blind or lazy and should be canned. Frankly, it's not as if the male barre was that hard to reach; so much of what we see is mediocre. But just as there are bad, good and great male writers, so are there bad, good and great female writers-- and they deserve equal opportunity. I am so pleased you are speaking out on this, moreover seeing it as part of a much larger situation in which women are silenced. The consequences of this in theatre are heartbreaking, but the consequences of taking women's voices away in other countries are unspeakable abuse and violence. It's all part of the same continuum.

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