Check out some of our live tweets!
We were thrilled to attend the GOOD TO GO Summit on November 18th
Check out some of our live tweets!
Dear Friends, Members, and Supporters,
The holiday season approaches! For most, this is an opportunity to relax and reboot as the year comes to a close. In that spirit, Works by Women will be on hiatus for the month of December.
However - this doesn't mean that the work for Parity stops!
If you would like us to promote your production during December, please send us all relevant info by Thanksgiving - November 26, 2015.
Thank you for your support!
The Works by Women Team
by Charlotte Ahlin
Where are all the women* in theatre? On October 18th, 2015, quite a few of them were at TheaterLab in Midtown, Manhattan, partying for gender equality at Works by Women’s first ever Parity Party.
In a world where only 25% of the plays produced in America are written by women, where the 2013-2014 Broadway season featured no new plays by women, it’s easy to see why the push for parity is more imperative than ever. But there’s no reason that we can’t enjoy ourselves while crushing systematic inequality!
That’s exactly what the Parity Party was—a chance to learn more about the lack of opportunity for women in theatre, to contribute to arts advocacy, and to enjoy cake truffles and wine while watching some of the most talented women theatre artists in the industry do their thing. The Parity Party offered guests refreshments from local New York businesses, a silent auction with everything from luxury hotel stays to aerial lessons to feminist coloring books, and exclusive performances from women and women-centric theatre companies. And, for one night only, money featuring men was not accepted. Parity Party guests were asked to exchange their patriarchal dollars for Parity Cash—bills featuring some of the great women of theatre history, such as 20th century American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, 10th century German nun Hrosvitha, and 17th century Japanese dramatist Izumo no Okuni.
Armed with their more progressive Parity Cash, guests were free to explore the sleek rehearsal and performance spaces at TheaterLab, an entirely women-run theatre venue headed by Artistic Director Orietta Crispino. In one room, the silent auction offered guests a chance to bid on a plethora of donated goodies, as well as a buffet of delicious food donated by The Fillmore Room, Jack Doyle's, and 5 Boro Burger.
Just down the hall was TheaterLab’s ethereal white box theatre, with a rotating roster of performances all evening long. Performances ranged from bluegrass music to stand up comedy, from performance art to comedic monologue to dramatic scene, each piece radically different from the one before. The evening was by turns hilarious, touching, and thought-provoking. It’s often tempting to think of women as one group, one artistic voice—mainstream theatre certainly seems to lump women creators together in a singular, niche category. But if you sit down and watch a dozen women perform their unique theatre pieces, it’s immediately clear that work by women is as varied and individual as the women themselves.
It would be impossible to pick out one stand-alone highlight of the evening. There was a sneak peak at the sharp and affecting new play Dead and Breathing by Chisa Hutchinson, from the National Black Theatre. There was a beautiful piece on the power of female friendship from F.A.B. Women, a hilarious stand up set from accomplished playwright and author Laura Pedersen, some gorgeous original music from guitarist and singer Jessica Carvo—every performer brought something different to an evening of breathtaking theatre.
Photos by Jacqueline Chambord
But even beyond the crostini and the live music and the chance to win tickets to Fun Home, there was just something rare and exhilarating about being in a space supporting women’s art, surrounded by women artists. The vibe in TheaterLab was overwhelmingly positive and inclusive. Works by Women strives to support a diverse range of women’s work, and their first Parity Party was a testament to that effort. The goal of Works by Women and its sister organizations is to acheive 50/50 gender parity in the theatre by the year 2020—marking the 100th year since women were given the vote in America. We may still have a long way to go before we reach total gender equality in the theatre world, but if we can harness the energy and passion of events like this one, we will most certainly get there.
*We use an inclusive definition of “women" and we welcome all who identify with the term.
About the Authors
Works by Women supports theatrical work written, directed, and/or designed by women* by promoting their work on our website, in the press and on social media. This website serves as a tool for both theatergoers and professionals alike. We list productions that have at least a 50% female creative team, and highlight women's theatre companies and advocacy groups.