Filed under: art, theatre, Gender politics | Tags: sexism, Gender Equity, equality, international, European
For years, I have been dreaming about emigrating to Europe, where so many of my favorite theatre companies are based. I fell in love with Cheek by Jowel when I saw their (all male) As You Like It. I idolized Improbable and their three man Artistic Directorship. I drooled over Complicite – and the one man genius at the center of it. Oh, how I wanted to move to England so I could make work like my heroes!
I heard stories about the extraordinary work coming out of Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden. I saw some of it, too. I was wowed by all those men making extraordinary work. I wanted to go there and join them. Perhaps you’ve noticed already what it took me a while to put together. But almost everyone of note in my theatre hero club was a man. I’ve finally put together that nearly all of the places I’ve idolized for their more forward thinking art and/or politics, are actually as sexist as the country I live in. Some a little more. Some a little less. But nobody’s got equity.
My first clues were the stats on my blog about sexism in the theatre. I’ve got views from around the world on that thing. There are international waves of people when someone shares it in their native land. My next clue was my experience of international theatre conferences, where I saw so many all male casts, I just assumed I’d be looking at mostly men whenever I saw a show. When I went to panels of artistic directors from abroad, they were 90% male.
Sexism isn’t just an American problem. It’s a world problem. And in some countries, the sexism is worse in the theatre than it is in the country as a whole. Around the world, as far as I know, there is no theatre community where the odds are not stacked against me, as a woman. So, while I admire the work I’ve seen from Australia tremendously, it would make no sense to move there, as only 30% of produced plays are written or directed by women. Similarly, England. Similarly, Ireland. Where in the world could I go where my gender won’t be a liability in my making work? I really want to know – because I want to at least go visit and see what it would feel like to work in a place that doesn’t dismiss me from the moment I come in. I want to know what it feels like to create without the entire deck stacked against me. Where in the world can a woman go to make theatre with equity?
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One of my ambitions is to be working internationally. The problem with this goal is that generally, you have to have some success NATIONALLY before you can stumble into an international market. My work generally feels out of alignment with what sells in my country so I’m always on the look out for other ways into an international experience.
With that in mind, I applied for a fellowship to attend the Global Arts Leaders conference which happens here in NYC. The fellowship pays for people to come and meet international arts leaders from around the world. I thought it would be great to go and make connections. I also thought that since I live in NYC, I might be a cheap candidate to accept. Others would need airfare and a hotel, I could go for subway fare.
But…alas..the rejection notice arrived only a couple of months after my application. We’ll have to keep looking for other ways to achieve the international goal.
You can help me weather the storms of rejection by becoming my patron on Patreon.