Tackling the gender imbalance in theatre writing

Stellar Quines have once again partnered with SHE Scotland to work with young women and girls from North Edinburgh, this time to readdress the gender imbalance within theatre writing. This exciting project was supported by The List and the Lyceum Theatre.

As The List highlights: Though much of the dialogue around gender equality in British theatre has centred upon the imbalance on stage – with only 35% of roles performed by women, and a mere 30% of work written by women – less well-known is the paucity of women’s voices in the world of theatre criticism, with only 30% of writers and reviewers of theatre identifying as women. Such a dramatic disparity in the way theatre is understood, interpreted and communicated has led to a systemic prejudice against certain experiences and issues grounded in gender, and thus are often overlooked in mainstream theatrical writing. Yet a diversity of experience, background and language is necessary to the foundation of a strong, vibrant critical discourse – and moreover, is vital to engaging wider audiences and theatre-makers.

Stellar Quines set about to explore ways of addressing this gender imbalance through working with a group of young women, getting to see the Lyceum’s Christmas show An Edinburgh Christmas Carol, they received backstage access and meet the cast and crew behind the theatre’s festive production. The results of their experience – ranging from interviews and reviews to photography – have been published in The List. For many participants, this was their first time seeing a show at the Lyceum, and all of the writers were previously unpublished.

This project was an amazing opportunity to test how we work towards a better gender balance within theatre writing in the future, and in the summer this project will expand across Edinburgh to explore more theatres, more shows and giving even more young women writers the opportunity to have their opinions heard.