Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


Blogger Posts on Playwrighting Success Stories

Playwright and  Journalist Donna Hoke is offering a terrific series featuring interviews with literary managers from all over the country. She calls it the Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project (RIPP).  Brava, Donna!

You can find it at: http://blog.donnahoke.com/category/ripp/

Excerpt: “Playwrights talk a lot about how to get plays in the hands of those who will read them, and lamenting the seeming impossibility of this task. And yet… if it were truly impossible, would we keep writing? Would we keep submitting day in and day out? We must believe that even if the odds are slim, there are indeed odds. Odds that are not insurmountable. Odds that lead to success stories.  So I went looking for them. More than that, I found them…”



THE GUARDIAN Posts Research on UK Women in Theatre

“Women in theatre: how the ‘2:1 problem’ breaks down”

How well are women represented in theatre? New research by the Guardian in collaboration with Elizabeth Freestone shows a mixed picture. Find the full research results here.

(Excerpt)

Shakespeare said that all the world’s a stage – but how well does the theatre really represent women?

New research by the Guardian, in collaboration with Elizabeth Freestone of Pentabus Theatre, shows that women are still badly under represented, with a persistent 2:1 male-to-female ratio.

The research, concentrating on the top 10 subsidised theatres for 2012-13, looked at female representation in a variety of areas from actors employed to the number of playwrights commissioned for the financial year 2011-12. Board of directors, chief executives and creative teams were also examined…

(c) The Guardian.



ICWP’s 50/50 Applause Award
The 2012 International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 Applause Award:
ICWP gives a standing ovation to theatres that value women’s writing!

The International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) announces its inaugural 50/50 Applause Awards to five US theatre companies for seasons of plays with half or more written by women. In support of women in theatre, ICWP rewards and recognises those theatre companies who see gender parity as more than a desired goal.

ICWP started in 1988 with a mission is to support women playwrights worldwide and bring attention to their work. The creation of the 50/50 Applause Award coincides with the organisation’s 25th birthday celebration. President of ICWP, Dr Jennifer Munday, has stated that “these companies need special thanks for the integrity of their decision-making.”

In recent years, discussions within the global theatre community and the media have prompted both academic research and discussions to explain why the work of women playwrights is underrepresented in staged theatrical productions. In 2009, Emily Glassberg Sands released a study called “Opening the Curtain on Playwright Gender” which showed that only 18% of the productions done in the United States in 2008 were by female playwrights. She also found that “only 11% of shows on Broadway over the past decade [1999-2009] were written exclusively by women”.

Other research from countries with developed economies has demonstrated similar imbalances. Last year, Lyn Gardner of the UK’s The Guardian stated “…of the 57 productions in the West End and the fringe that might be considered plays (rather than musicals or physical work), only six are written by women”. In Canada, Rebecca Burton and Reina Green reported that 30-35% of the nation’s artistic directors were female in 2006.

Aside from the imbalance of theatrical expressions of women’s experience, there is a clear economic trajectory that starts with a production. A professional production is typically followed by script publication, book sales, further productions, royalty revenue for the playwright and other financial rewards like commissions, residences and travel opportunities.

To that end, ICWP’s qualifications for the 50/50 Applause Award were that theater companies produced women playwrights in both 50% of productions and 50% of total performances in their 2011-2012 season. Theaters that included producing women playwrights in their mission were not eligible. Five theatre companies have been recognised with the 50/50 Applause award, through a strict nomination process.

The winners are: Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland, OH; Little Colonel Theatre, Pee Wee Vally, KY; Nora Theater, Cambridge, M A; Playwrights Horizons, New York, NY; and, Symmetry Theatre, Berkeley, CA. The companies will receive their award in January 2013.



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…”



Theatre Women’s Advocacy Groups

This is my most recent Bucks County Women’s Journal column about resources for women in the theatre.

You may download the article  here: BCWJ article on Theatre Women’s Advocacy Groups by Anne Hamilton.

Theatre Women’s Advocacy Organizations

By Anne Hamilton, M.F.A.

In the last few years, several new women’s advocacy organizations have joined those already established.

In New York, the perennial leaders include The League of Professional Theatre Women, and Women in the Arts and Media Coalition, Inc.

The League is an advocacy organization for reinforcing the positive image of, promoting the visibility of, and increasing the opportunities for women in the arts and entertainment industries, more particularly the professional theatre, thereby enriching the culture with the infusion of women’s creativity.

The purpose of the Coalition is to focus the power of its member organizations together and to use that combined strength to address issues of concern to women in theatre, film, TV, radio, and new media.

In recent years, they have been joined by many new groups. The Dramatists Guild Women’s Initiative advocates for female playwrights. And Works by Women supports theatrical work written, directed and/or designed by women.

WISE (Women in Stage Entertainment) was created by a group of like-minded women working in entertainment lighting who discovered they commonly faced issues that sometimes negatively impacted on their working lives. They felt the time had come to address these issues as a collective and to bring them to the attention of the wider industry.

17 Percent is an organization supporting and promoting female playwrights in the UK.

Why 17%? It’s a significant figure. It was quoted at Sphinx theatre’s 2009 ‘Vamps, Vixens and feminists’ conference as the percentage of UK women playwrights being produced and it’s also the pay gap between men and women.

While women make up 52% of the UK’s population, and 65% of the theatre audience, only 17% of UK produced plays are written by women. Something is badly skewed. The quoted figures are from 2010.

17% founder Sam Hall, says, “We will support and promote female playwrights through networking events, courses, feedback and dramaturgy, and championing women’s achievements in the theatre. We will also provide positive female role models and inspirations, showcases with opportunities for feedback, and mentoring opportunities.”

Services include an enewsletter, a blog, and video resources on YouTube.

Anne Hamilton has more than twenty years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@ hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! will begin with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.



Why I Created TheatreNow!

Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! is an oral history series of the contemporary practice and artistic development of women theatre artists. I created it to offer the public information on significant women theatre artists so that they can take their rightful place as experts in their fields.  As host and producer of the podcast series, I record interviews and offer them free to the public to create an equal presence of female experts that can be used for any journalist, historian, or documentarian in films, in print, and online.

My ultimate goal is to provide information so that anyone wishing to consult or interview a theatrical expert can find qualified women and include them in their projects. I would like to be able to look at a documentary or a news show someday and see at least as many female experts being consulted as male. This is a huge goal, but I think that it can be achieved with some deliberate effort. The series can be accessed through my blog at http://theatrenow.wordpress.com. The subscription option allows you to follow news about the podcast series.

The root impulse for my action was indignation. Indignation at qualified women being ignored and undervalued by the mainstream media. The logical thought upon which I base all my action is this: Even with the inequality that still exists in the workplace, it is impossible that qualified female experts do not exist. On the contrary, I thought think that they must necessarily exist. They are out there and I have to find them and bring them to the attention of the public. I can do that. And I can urge others to do that as well, in their own fields and in their own way. And together we can create an equal presence.

I first began to compare the representation of women artists in published documents and other media when I was an English literature undergraduate at Drew University. My advisor, Janet Burstein, pointed out that only about 10% of the entries in standard literature anthologies were written by women. She expressed a hope that the number would continue to increase as time passed. I was intrigued by this notion of representation of women in private and published sources, and I began back then to count the numbers of men and women listed on credits in books, on TV programs, in Playbills, faculty lists, and any other sources I can find. Over three decades, I’ve watched and compared the numbers. In some fields, there is barely a woman’s name listed. But my field is theatre, and I am going to do as much as I can to change the numbers in my field.

Thankfully, it seems that women’s pieces in anthologies have increased. I have found that the numbers are almost equal in literary magazines, which publish current writing, of course. However, the anthologies still lag behind in including literature written by women, which means that history is not remembering or recording their accomplishment. .

In 2009, I began the oral history series by recording my inaugural interview with Quiara Alegria Hudes, funding it myself. I wanted to interview a woman as a man interviews a man – with the focus on artistic content, with no mention of marriages or children. I also knew that biographical information is readily available on the internet, so I did not want to cover that information in the interviews.

I felt that I could get to the essence of the artist’s life with two simple questions: What were your early artistic influences, and what is your artistic process? I think hearing answers to those questions allows the audience to gain insights into the woman’s core artistry. And of course, hearing the artist speak in a free-flowing way is always instructive.

I specifically curate the series to include artists who are doing interesting work and are rising in their fields. I use my instincts to choose the artists whom I want to interview, and the results have been quite interesting and informative. My original idea was to do a second round of interviews five years after the first one, to discover how the artist has grown. One of my jobs as a dramaturg is to find talent and champion it. This is what I have set out to do with TheatreNow!

With an eye toward presenting theatre artists in every discipline, I then interviewed Claire Lautier, a leading actress at Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival, then Ruth Margraff, who is a musician, composer and playwright now based in Chicago. Season One rounded out with Kristin Marting, the Artistic Director at Here in NYC; Catherine Filloux, a playwright who writes about human rights; Valentina Fratti, A director and producer; and Yvette Heyliger and Yvonne Farrow (Twinbiz), who are masters of artists in several disciplines.

The scope is international; Beside Claire Lautier, who is based in Canada, and Paule, who works mostly in London, I will soon interview Liesl Tommy, a director from South Africa who has had much success in the US and internationally.

Season Two started off with an interview with Kamilah Forbes, who is the Artistic Director of the Hip Hop Theatre Festival. I followed that with the Emmy-winner Laura Maria Censabella, a playwright based in New York. Episode Three features a fascinating discussion of Paule Constable’s design process for WAR HORSE, which will soon embark on a world tour. Upcoming interviews include Playwright and Educator Fran Tarr, who created the film brooklyn  to bethlehem & back, and the lighting designer and MacArthur Fellow Jennifer Tipton.

I plan to continue the series, and over the years, to build up a library of interviews, and distribute them to all interested parties.

Please inquire about TheatreNow! by emailing hamiltonlit@hotmail.com.

Anne Hamilton is the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international script consultancy based on the New York City professional world, and is the Host and Producer of TheatreNow!



ScriptForward! #23 – A Specialty E-newsletter for Scriptwriters

This issue features a guest column by Paula Cizmar about SEVEN, a documentary play that honors courageous women activists from seven countries. She discusses the collaboration between seven female playwrights, and the continuing life of the play as it travels across the world

And please look over the “Recent Successes” section to see all the exciting events which are taking place.

Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! #23