the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Counting Actors: the first 100 shows General Stats

The first 100 shows from Counting Actors had:

50 male directors, 53 female directors (this # is above 100 because some shows had co-directors)
84 male writers, 30 female writers (this # is above 100 because of writing collaborations, but because I was also counting lyrics writers and composers in this category)

So 49% of the directors were men, and 51% were women.  74% of the writers were men and 26% were women.

There were 730 actors in those 100 plays, for an average cast size of 7.3.  The largest cast had 42 actors (Seussical at Berkeley Playhouse - a cast that included a union contract, but also 27 cast members who were under 18 and enrolled in a class).  On the other end of the spectrum, there are four 1 person shows in the count.  Those actors include 406 men and 324 women (56%, 44%), 255 union members and 475 non-union members (35%, 65%) , and 661 locals and 69 non-locals (91%, 9%).

Of the union actors, 154 were men and 101 were women (60%, 40%).  While I didn't explicitly ask it in the questions list, it looks like only one of the non-locals was non-union, so of the union members working, 27% were non local.

I'm planning a few more posts using the first one hundred shows.  Based on recent discussions w/smart friends and colleagues, I'd like to see how the writer gender situation looks if when the play was written is taken into account.  Also, I plan to look more closely at the contract issue - how many shows were on a BAPP vs. higher level contracts, and again see how things look for the actor gender question and the local/non-local issue.

I may come up with some other questions in the next few days, but I'm wondering if you have questions that you think the data can answer.  If so, post them in the comments, and I'll see what I can do!

For an explanation of the project, as well as links to the stats on a monthly basis, go here.

And, if you've read this far, I'd really appreciate a link, status update, tweet, + or live conversation with your friends, and artistic associates about this data.

Thanks again to all who've contributed information to this project.


  1. The gender disparity is smaller than I thought it would be. However, if you take into account the number of men and women who are working at being working actors, are there more women? Would there be a way to ballpark that number?

  2. I was thinking this too - if there were some way to look at the # of men auditioning vs. # of women auditioning, but I'm not sure how to count that, unless some Casting Director or Artistic Director wanted to give me their audition sign up lists...

  3. It would be really interesting to look at LORT vs non-LORT (which I know you are already possibly doing) - but that's where I'm seeing the big male-heavy shows done... Once again, Valerie, you rock. Nice accounting skills, there...

  4. Anna I am definitely going to break down the Equity stats by a few levels of contract/code - I'm already sorting out the BAPPs vs. contracts, and going to look at how the gender and local/non-local issue plays out for the diff levels. Stay tuned!!

  5. What about looking at the genders of Theater Bay Area individual members? Although I suppose those include directors, designers, etc. Or the genders of people in local Equity?

  6. Counting actors seeking work, not just working actors, would really give a better picture of these numbers. What needs to be counted is who shows up at an audition, or who submits audition requests. And to get those numbers, you'd need theater companies to participate. Hmmm.