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.
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.
*We use an inclusive definition of “women" and we welcome all who identify with the term.