belvoirLast night I thought we started off quite well. 

First play off the blocks, Polly Stenham’s That Face. Rejoice! Only last week I had written about that play on my blog and have desperately wanted to see it performed on a Sydney stage. Even more exciting to know how young Stenham is, and that Lee Lewis will direct. A female tour-de-force if you will.

As I listened to the remainder of the 2010 line up announcements, however, my heart sank and my blood seemed to boil. For in the following 6 mainstage productions and 3 add-ons, there was no mention of female directors or playwrights. 

I would like you to know Belvoir, that I have had a long-term love affair with the theatre within your darkened spaces. I love Upstairs and Downstairs equally, and  the shows you create. I love the Company B ethos and the vibe of the entire building as soon as I walk into the foyer. I even love the 2010 season, and for the first time will have enough money to become (shock horror!) a subscriber.

In short, Company B remains one of my favourite Australian theatres. However, I struggle to understand how such a prominent and successful and LOVED company such as Company B Belvoir, has openly produced such a female-less season. I don’t mean actors, I mean females in integral creative roles – as playwright and director.

There are many theories out there and indeed, this issue has been bubbling away for some time, as evidenced in 7-On’s previous post. I don’t think for any reason that you deliberately tried NOT to program or hire female creatives, that would be ludicrous. Although I fail to see why we are not thought of in the same way as male creatives. We pop the champagne and celebrate how exciting it is to have Madman make a comeback, but I was sitting in that audience counting the female writers and directors in that room who would produce theatre just as good (or better) than their male counterparts, if given the opportunity.  

In fact, I am being quite polite about this. A fellow female creative posted today on her Facebook page, “Belvoir’s usual 1 female director per season. Effing Disgraceful.” And I can count on two hands the conversations I have already had from women AND men that feel the same utter confusion at this programming.

You know they are out there, Company B. You shouldn’t have to look too hard. Please take note of the companies out there that actively try and bridge this unacceptable gap in statistics.

As an emerging female writer who might one day be ready for mainstage, this scares me.