Encore Michigan

Performance Network wins ICWP 50/50 Applause Award

News September 23, 2015 Encore Staff

The International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) has announced the recipients for this year’s 50/50 Applause Awards, which recognize theatres that produced 50% or more women playwrights in their season of shows. ICWP defines 50/50 by the number of qualifying performances in a theater’s season. Along with Ann Arbor’s Performance Network, some of the other national recipients are New York City’s Cherry Lane Theatre and Playwrights Horizon, Chicago’s Windy City Playhouse and Latino Theater Company/Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC) in Los Angeles. Also recognized were theaters in Australia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Canada and Indonesia; there were a total of 60 recipients from nine countries.

While these theaters are serving as role models, ICWP recognizes that the average of productions of women playwrights internationally continues to remain under 25%. The United States’ 2015 The Count, measuring productions nationwide 2011-2014, found that women playwrights were being produced 22% (up from the 2009 Sands report at 18%). In Canada, The Equity in Theatre (EIT) report (2015), however, showed a decrease in productions by women playwrights from 29% for the season of 2010/11 (PACT report) to 22% for the season of 2013/14.

There is also a disparity in the size of theaters and stages that women playwrights are given in comparison to their male counterparts. This directly affects the ticket price and, therefore, the potential income for the playwright. According to the EIT, the largest theaters in Canada produce men 70% while women’s work is produced 19.5%. The UK’s report “Still Looking Through A Glass Ceiling?” found that “…on average, new plays by women are performed in theatres that are 24% smaller than those which present new work by men, while the ticket price is 23% lower.” (British Theatre Consortium in collaboration with the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, 2015)

ICWP started in 1988 with a mission to support women playwrights worldwide and bring attention to their work. The ICWP 50/50 Applause Awards were founded in 2012 to increase awareness and applaud theatres that produced a season with an equal or greater number of plays written by female playwrights. More information about the awards can be found at: http://www.womenplaywrights.org/award

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