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, May 16, 2012

Open Letter to the Aurora

I know I need to write about the Gender Parity panel from Monday, but day jobs are getting in my way.  It's coming soon, I promise.

In the meantime, I met playwright Carol Lashof on Monday, and she agreed to let me share her open letter to the Aurora Theatre with folks who read this blog.

This is an open letter to the Aurora Theatre, which I am copying to the International Centre for Women Playwrights, the Berkeley-based Play Cafe email list, and Gary Garrison of the Dramatists Guild:

I am a playwright, librettist, and educator, living in Berkeley, and I have been a fan of the Aurora Theatre since its inception.  In fact, I took an enthusiastic student group to see "Dear Master" at the City Club before the Aurora formally existed as a theatre.  My husband and I were subscribers for many years but as our schedules got busier and our budget tighter, we let our subscription lapse.  Nonetheless, I continue to attend the Aurora regularly and enjoy your work, so when the season brochure arrived in the mail this morning, I was quick to open it.  And I said to myself:  if women playwrights and directors are well represented in the season, I will resubscribe because I have been vowing to myself and my colleagues that I would start putting my money where my mouth was to support equal representation of women theatre professionals (especially playwrights, since I am one) on American stages.

Here's what I discovered when I opened the brochure:  Five plays.  None written by women. One directed by a woman--founding artistic director Barbara Oliver.  What a long way the Aurora has come--backwards--from its first production, which was co-created by Dorothy Bryant and Barbara Oliver and was about the pioneering woman writer George Sand. 

Although I cannot bring myself to boycott any theatre as excellent as the Aurora, I will not be subscribing this year.  Maybe next year?

Carol S. Lashof

The Aurora's season announcement is here.
Carol's play Just Desserts will have a staged reading on Monday, June 4 at 7:00 PM.

Stage 2 @ SF Playhouse
533 Sutter Street, upstairs
San Francisco, CA
Hosted by the Dramatists Guild.  Free and open to the public.


  1. Valerie,

    Thank you for posting my letter and for leading such a great discussion at the TBA conference on Monday. And thank you for plugging my upcoming staged reading of JUST DESERTS, a play with three terrific roles for women and one for a man. The characters are Orestes and the three Furies from Greek mythology. And yes, that's "deserts" as in what is deserved not "desserts" as in what you should eat first because life is uncertain. But life is indeed uncertain, even for immortal beings dedicated to revenge ... a sneak peek at the script of JUST DESERTS is available here:

  2. Tom Ross, Artistic Director of the Aurora, has not only responded to this letter of Carol's but has allowed me to post his response on the blog. Here's the link: