Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


Redirecting My Energies to Become A Woolf Woman

Please note: I am continuing my practice as a freelance dramaturg with Hamilton Dramaturgy. The office is still open! I am still actively pursuing the activities that I have conducted for 24 years – freelance dramaturgy, script development, research, career advising. I am accepting new clients. hamiltonlit@hotmail.com

Redirecting My Energies to Become A Woolf Woman

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

© 2015

I am about to lay it down, so listen up. I will speak in the vernacular so that everyone will understand.

It is September 13, 2015. There are less than 5 years left before 2020 arrives. That’s 4 years, 3 months, 2 weeks and 5 days. In total there are 1,570 days. I support the 50/50 in 2020 movement. But the clock is ticking and desperate times call for desperate measures. We have made great strides, but it looks like we are not going to make it.

I realize that the foundation for gender parity is set. I, for my part, will now go back to the old-fashioned notion of making one’s way in the world in a practical way.

I love being effective. I have skin in the game. I take every available measure to achieve every goal I set.

Therefore, I am taking these extraordinary measures to help achieve gender parity:

  1. I am not working with any company, festival or organization that does not have a policy in place (or in the works) for gender parity – or heritage parity for that matter (read that statement in theatre speak as “a diversity program”)
  2. I am resigning from organizations which I don’t feel are living up to their mission statement.
  3. I am refraining from spending time or volunteering time for “awareness” efforts. We are aware. We are just not effectively setting, pursuing and achieving our goals.
  4. I am not participating in shaming organizations that don’t have gender parity goals. Unless they are breaking the law, their use of their own resources is their choice and they are entitled to that.

Now – here is my “I Am” list

  1. I am diligently focusing on creating an income stream with my talents. That means that I am actively writing my own properties that I will have control over and I can sell: plays, musicals, children’s stories, essays and poetry.
  2. I am spending my time creating income for myself as a freelancer.
  3. I am seeking representation for my properties.
  4. I am diligently sending out my work using all the submission opportunity information that is readily available at this point in time.

Recent history shows us that boycotts and strikes sometimes do work in powerful ways. If enough of us make it a policy to spend our talents, earn our dollars – and spend our dollars – in places that please us, we will create a more equitable environment. Gender parity – and heritage parity – are rights.

Perhaps if enough of us step away from the places that don’t please us, and work to create an equal presence in the places (and organizations) that do, we can create a more equitable environment for everyone.

Becoming a Woolf Woman

Now – I want to remind us all of Virginia Woolf’s statement beginning, “Give her a room of her own and five hundred a year…”

Virginia Woolf delivered a set of lectures at Cambridge University in 1928. These lectures became the basis for “A Room of One’s Own” which was published the following year. We have all read that book. What a woman needs, she said, is an income of £500 and a room of one’s own.

Today in US dollars, that amount is approximately $53, 500. Add a taxation rate of 28% and the minimum amount of earnings is $68,480. (If one earns approximately $68,500 and pays one’s taxes on time, she will end up with about $53,500 as a net income to actually utilize.)

Now – let’s think about Virginia Woolf’s premise that someone should “give” a woman a room of her own and five hundred a year. In Woolf’s scenario, someone should give her that money. It is passive, guaranteed income. She does not have to earn it. In addition, the woman is to be left alone, without household or any other responsibilities, simply to write. For her whole lifetime. Woolf’s scenario presupposes that maids, gardeners, housecleaners, cooks and servers are providing all of the necessary daily services to the woman. In addition, all other medical, legal and other professional needs would also be paid for. To fund a staff for one’s household today – well, let’s just say that the figure needed would probably triple.

Woolf’s “Her” does not work outside the home – she does not lecture, teach, direct, dramaturg, take day jobs, write articles, make speeches, or volunteer for “the cause”. She uses her time solely according to her own discretion. She is not obligated to do anything but sit and write in order for Woolf’s scenario to become reality – that a great piece of literature might be written.

Now – I know a few women who are in this position, but I am not. I need to keep a roof over my head. Virginia Woolf was wealthy and had social status by birth and by marriage. She was born into a patriarchal society and was given an inhimitance. It was given to a her, but it was given by a him. At this point in history, as theatre artists in the 21st century, a scant 100 years after women were even given the right to vote, we are still being grandfathered in to the social and economic environment.

We have be grandfathered into the workplace of the theatrical profession, by dint of our place in history, and we have to create a new legal, social and economic environment for ourselves. We must heed Virginia Woolf’s statement about having income and a room of one’s own, and also her unintentional assumptions about the realities of patriarchal support.  In order to take advantage of her wisdom and insight, we must make enough money to pay for our own expenses throughout our lifetimes, and build wealth, and leave an inheritance for someone else. That is what keeps the system, and the parity going.

So much work has been done to change the legal environment in the past 100 years so that women can own property, obtain a loan, work outside of the home and retain an inhimitance in issues surrounding marriage and divorce.

As you see – the English language at present doesn’t even accommodate the reality of our situation. So let’s add words to the language, change the paradigm, and create a new social and economic environment based on leaving not only laws, but wealth and property, to others that we care about.

The basis of that parity starts with wealth. Money. For some of us, income earned by working. I don’t have children, but I want to leave an inheritance to someone. And I surely need to cover my living expenses while I am alive. So I am doing everything I can to build my own resources and parity. It is my privilege and my challenge to take advantage of my position in history. But mostly my privilege, and I am taking advantage of it with the time I have.

So how am I going to be a “Woolf Woman” today?

I am going to buckle down and focus. I am eliminating distractions. I am shutting out the emotional siren calls of outrage and bitterness. Woolf spoke rationally and I think that has contributed to the way that her message has endured. She looked at practicalities. And she gave me a basic outline, which I have updated for my own use.

I am combining Woolf’s 86-year-old enlightened message with 50/50 in 2020’s modern one. I seek to earn $75,000 per year (padding the figure for inflation) by 2019. That will make me a “Woolf Woman” by January 1, 2020, and begin to set the stage for some literary achievement.

The key to being a Woolf Woman is financial. For me, it means paying off my mortgage, creating passive income through securing royalties for my properties, and eliminating debt. Creating stability. Having income-producing investments. Owning property. Reducing costs. Increasing income.

My formal education is complete. I earned an MFA from Columbia and a BA from Drew University. I have been a college professor. I have worked in corporations, as a senior staff member at a university, and as a public relations director, a publications manager, as an editor, as a writer, a singer, an actress, a dramaturg, and a financial advisor. I am single. I own a house. I own a car. I don’t have children. I am a freelance theatre professional.

If we as women are going to speak out with power and effectiveness, we must find our way into mainstream culture. And that requires financial independence. How did others do it? Often they were supported by private wealth, inheritances, their spouses or significant others, their churches or other religious and civic organizations. I do not have those support systems. I have to earn it myself.

It is time to get back to basics. Arranging my life to give myself that income of £500 a year. I have a room and I use it. Now it is time to get creative.

And by the way, if you have found value in this article – if it has helped you to focus – send me $5 (or more!) through paypal to hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. I’m starting right now to earn passive income.

Anne Hamilton is a NYC-based freelance dramaturg and the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international consultancy. She holds an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts, and has worked with Andrei Serban, Michael Mayer, Lynn Nottage, NYMF, Niegel Smith, and Classic Stage Company. She created Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow!, and her specialties include new play development, production dramaturgy, new musicals, career advising, advocacy, and oral histories. She was a Bogliasco Foundation Fellow. www.hamiltonlit.com

Download the article here: Redirecting My Energies to Become a Woolf Woman by Anne Hamilton, M.F.A.



BCWJ Article – ON HER SHOULDERS in NYC

Here is my latest Page & Stage column from the Bucks County Women’s Journal (June/July).

On Her Shoulders in New York City

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

My respected colleague Susan Jonas, the founder/ director of The Legacy Projects, is also a co-founder of 50/50 in 2020. In recent years she has made pursuing gender parity in theatre her life’s work, and her success continues to grow.

Her newest endeavor is On Her Shoulders, a series of staged readings of plays by women which will occur in Manhattan monthly through December, 2013. It’s a terrific new program which seeks to educate theatre professionals and the public about women’s plays which have been written over the course of ten centuries. The historical scope of the material, as well as the involvement of leading theatre specialists, is unprecedented.

On Monday, May 20th, the project will present Rachel Crothers’ controversial 1909 play, A MAN’S WORLD, directed by Melissa Crespo, and introduced by Jane Ann Crum. Other plays in the season include: Anna Cora Mowatt’s FASHION, Cicely Hamilton’s DIANA OF DOBSON’S, Shelagh Delaney’s A TASTE OF HONEY, Lorraine Hansberry’s LES BLANCS, Daphne Du Maurier’s THE YEARS BETWEEN, and Susanna Centlivre’s A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE.

Founded in 2012 by Andrea Lepcio (Playwright), Lillian Rodriguez (Performer), and Susan Jonas (Dramaturg/Scholar), the reading series is dedicated to, “‘re-loading the canon’ by familiarizing potential producers and audiences with a neglected legacy of plays– not by women playwrights– but by great playwrights.”

On Her Shoulders intends to restore their contribution to theatre history, the canon and the living repertory,” the founders assert on their website, which includes a curated list of significant plays by women.

The initiative encourages teachers to include plays by women on their syllabi, introduces students to monologues and scenes for acting and directing exercises, and invites literary managers and artistic directors to produce these plays on their stages. Its practical, multifaceted approach is unique because it provides the incentive to look at the plays as living works of art rather than just relegating them to history books.

The series will culminate in the publication of an anthology of the scripts staged for production with introductions by major scholars and theatre artists.

Admission is free, and seating is first come, first served, with RSVPs required. More information is available at http://onhershoulders.weebly.com/.

Anne Hamilton has 22 years of experience as an dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.

You may download the article here: BCWJ Article on ON HER SHOULDERS by Anne Hamilton

 

 



BCWJ Article on 50/50 in 2020

Many thanks to Susan Jonas, who sat for an interview for my last Page & Stage column for the Bucks County Women’s Journal. Susan eloquently explained the 50/50 in 2020 movement that she co-founded to help achieve gender parity in the American theatre.

Read the article here: BCWJ Article on 50 50 in 2020 Aug Sept 2012

Excerpt: This month, I am continuing my coverage of gender parity efforts in
the professional theatre. I spoke recently with my valued colleague Susan
Jonas about 50/50 in 2020, the grassroots movement she cofounded. Susan
is a scholar, dramaturg, adaptor/playwright, and producer who holds a
Doctorate in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama.

“Founded in August 2010 to advocate for women in theatre,” she says, “50/50
in 2020 is dedicated to achieving parity by the hundredth anniversary
of suffrage. For too long, women have been extremely under-represented on the main stages of American theatre. Fewer than 20% of plays produced in America are by written by women or directed by women. In some years, it’s far less. And our presence is inversely proportionate to the resources of the theatres.”

She explains: “That means that the theatres with the highest budgets—and those that receive the largest share of public funding from taxpayers dollars—are the least likely to produce plays by women or to hire them as directors.” This also means that women’s work is most present in the places with the least resources and remuneration…”



Advocacy for Women Theatre Artists
September 30, 2010, 1:00 am
Filed under: NYC Theatre, Works by Women | Tags: , , ,

Want to See Work by Women?

Join Works by Women: http://www.meetup.com/WorksbyWomen/

Advocate through 50/50 in 2020: http://www.facebook.com/5050in2020?ref=ts

Follow Plays by Women at: http://nytheatre.com/nytheatre/bywomen.php



WORKS BY WOMEN – A NYC Advocacy Group

WORKS BY WOMEN – A New Theatre-Going Advocacy Group in New York City

By Ludovica Villar-Hauser

© 2010

This article was originally published in Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! (Volume 6, No. 22) in June 2010

About two years ago I became a very active member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.  I became Chair of the International Committee and recently was elected the Vice President of Programming.

In August 2009, I attended the first meeting of 50/50 in 2020, hosted at the Julia Miles Theatre, home of The Women’s Project.  50/50 in 2020 was founded by: Melody Brooks, Artistic Director of New Perspectives Theatre Company; Julie Crosby, Producing Artistic Director of The Women’s Project; and Susan Jonas (Co-author with Suzanne Bennett of “The 2002 New York State Council on the Arts Report on the Status of Women in Theatre”), who is on the faculty at Ithaca College.

50/50 in 2020’s mission is: To work proactively for parity for professional women theater artists.

You can check out and join the Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/5050in2020?ref=ts and visit our new blog at http://worksbywomen.wordpress.com/

I was very impressed with Julie Crosby’s very clear call to action, to “put your money where your mouth is” (i.e. support women’s work).  It’s simple.

I decided to make my contribution to the 50/50 in 2020 campaign by creating a theatre-going group, first on Facebook and then on MeetUp.com, to see the work of women theatre artists. Our mission is to see as many productions written, directed and/or designed by women theatre artists as possible. To date we have 268 Theater Goers which we hope to grow to 1,000 members by this time next year.  The group has seen 35 shows – with May being our best month yet – we saw seven shows!  At least 50% of our productions are by League of Professional Theatre Women members (sometimes more).  That is, however, not a criteria – simply a happy accident!

We ask producers, artistic directors, theatre owners, etc. to fill out a form (provided by us) with their production’s details, from which we create the posting for the “MeetUp”. We ask for a minimum of four weeks’ notice so that we can schedule efficiently. To date the group has been run by myself, producer/publicist Lanie Zipoy and actress Helen Stern.  The productions which fit the criteria best are selected. They must be written, directed and/or designed by one or preferably more than one female theatre artist! You’d be surprised by how few Broadway shows, for example, hire women in these three categories.

We have been featured on Martin Denton’s site: nytheatre.com (http://www.nytheatre.com/nytheatre/poy_current.php) and In The Know (http://web.mac.com/melmaxnyc/melissamaxwell.com/In_The_Know/Entries/2010/4/25_Theatre_by_Women.html)

It is important to note that Martin Denton has dedicated an entire section on his site to works written by women and has pledged to review of them as many of them as humanly possible this year.  Check out the site and you’ll see how well nytheatre.com is doing!

Something to think about:

According to Ellen Donkin’s book GETTING INTO THE ACT, in one season in the late 17th century, a full third of plays in London were by women or based on works by them. In London’s 1788-89 and 89-90 seasons, fewer than 10% were by women. In 1989 and 1990 slightly fewer than and slightly more than 10% in London were by women, while in the US, slightly fewer than 10% appeared in regional theatres and fewer than 5% appeared on Broadway. “After the initial decline in the early eighteenth century,” Donkin writes, “the numbers have leveled out at seven to ten percent for the past two hundred years, as if an unofficial quota had been imposed.”

Once we become a theatre-going group attending ten or more productions a month – serving 1,000 plus members (or more) – I feel it will be time to go to Phase Two of the initiative. This will be to encourage women across the country to start their own Works by Women theatre-going groups.  Phase Three is to encourage the group to exist internationally outside the USA.

Check out and join Works by Women on MeetUp.com: http://www.meetup.com/WorksbyWomen/

SEE YOU AT THE THEATRE!

 

Ludovica Villar-Hauser is a director/dramaturg who has lived and worked in NYC for the past 25 years. She is originally from London and in a past life owned and operated the Greenwich Street Theatre, where she produced as well as directed. She very much enjoys focusing on the creative aspects of theatre and loves directing more than almost anything.

 

 

Want to See Work by Women?

Join Works by Women: http://www.meetup.com/WorksbyWomen/

Advocate through 50/50 in 2020: http://www.facebook.com/5050in2020?ref=ts

Follow Plays by Women at: http://nytheatre.com/nytheatre/bywomen.php



ScriptForward! #22 – A Specialty Newsletter for Scriptwriting Professionals

Greetings!

Click here to read Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! #22

Welcome to the June issue of ScriptForward!, a specialty E-newsletter prepared for professional and aspiring scriptwriters by Hamilton Dramaturgy. With nineteen years of experience in New York, across the nation, and internationally, I offer this newsletter as a means of support and information to the worldwide scriptwriting community.

This month’s features:
Two of my plays and a poem have been selected for the juried exhibition TRANSITIONS at Pen and Brush, Inc. in NYC. ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT (play), THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I (play) and GONDOLIER (poem) are appearing in the virtual exhibit at http://www.penandbrush.org through September 3rd.

Anne Hamilton Reads a Monologue from ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT

Ludovica Villar-Hauser, a director/dramaturg, writes an article about Works by Women, a new theatre-going advocacy group she created in New York City.

My audio podcast series TheatreNow!, an oral history of leading American female theatre artists, is available at
https://hamiltondramaturgy.wordpress.com. Guests include: Quiara Alegria Hudes, Ruth Margraff, Kristin Marting, Catherine Filloux, Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Heyliger, Valentina Fratti, and Claire Lautier.

My Burning An[swer] segment features advice on how a college student can train to become a dramaturg.

My “Recent Successes” section features many new collaborations!- Tina Andrews, George Marcy, Bob Goldstone, and Warren Bodow.

I hope that this issue of ScriptForward! will be useful to you and I welcome your feedback



Ten Ways to Advocate for Theatre Women

Recommendations by the League of Professional Theatre Women

Advocacy Committee, Deborah Savadge, Chair.

June 9, 2010. www.theatrewomen.org  

How can we, individually and collectively, use our personal and professional networks to advance the cause of visibility and opportunity for women in the theatre?     

  1. Talk about plays you’ve enjoyed that are by and about women. 
  2. Subscribe to a theatre company that produces work by women (such as the Women’s Project, Three Graces, and New Georges. Google to find others). 
  3. Use your theatre-going dollars to support women artists. Join the Meet-up Group Works-by-Women.  Join other women at the theatre on a group rate discount to see professional work by women writers, directors, and  designers. http://www.meetup.com/worksbywomen  (It’s free!) 
  4. Advocate for Blind Submissions of playwrights’ work.  Most major orchestras conduct blind auditions. Why not choose plays for prizes, grants, even productions, without regard to gender? Spread the word.
  5. If called upon to subscribe to a theatre ask, “How many women will be directing/designing/ writing/performing in plays for you this season?” Tell them you prefer to support theatres that are working toward gender parity. 
  6. Subscribe to New York Theatre Experience Guide to Plays by Women. (It’s free!) (http://www.nytheatre.com/nytheatre/bywomen.php) . Support its pledge to give parity to women in its coverage of theatre work.
  7. Join the DGA Women’s Initiative, New York Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts & Media, the League of Professional Theatre Women’s Advocacy Committee or 50/50 in 2020.       
  8. When you receive a brochure from a theatre company, count the women artists listed. Call the theatre to praise or critique them based on how close they are to parity.
  9. Talk about non-traditional casting (i.e., Judith Ivey as the Stage Manager in Our Town. Kathleen Chalfant as Mrs. Scrooge, Cate Blanchett as Hamlet, Fiona Shaw as Lear and Viola Davis as Gloucester). Talk, blog and use social networks to suggest plays you’d like to see in which a woman plays the lead, or in which women play the majority of the roles.
  10.  Amplify these actions by passing these tips to others.

Download the list Advocacy Committee – Ten Ways to Advocate for Theatre Women!