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, December 26, 2012

Join the campaign!

Hey Bay Area Theater Artists - I hope you'll join me in this simple letter writing campaign asking Theatre Bay Area to prioritize gender equity in the 2013 annual conference.  The how-to steps are below.

It's quick, it's easy, and it's time that the discrepancy between the number of women who live in the region, and the number of women who work as writers, directors, actors and other theater artists in the region is addressed in a forum of this size and scope.


1) Theatre Bay Area's annual conference is scheduled for April 2013, and they will begin planning in the new year. We would like to see Gender Equity as a major focus of this conference. Please help us to achieve this goal.
2) Cut and paste the letter below into an email and send to: (Brad Erickson, Executive Director), (Dale Albright, Director of Field Services), (Dana Harrison, Managing Director) and (Carina Salazar, Grants and Events Coordinator). 

****Please edit this letter to reflect your personal experience and relationship w/Theatre Bay Area - see the top of the letter for three options****

3) Share your actions w/friends and artistic peers, and encourage them to email as well.  Male and female friends as well as not current members of Theatre Bay Area who are involved in local theater can and should be encouraged to email this letter.

4) Please do all of this as soon as possible!  The Theatre Bay Area offices are currently closed for a winter holiday and will re-open on Jan 3rd.  We'd love to see their inboxes full of this request.

5) Once you have completed sending the letter, please email to report your action.  Or Bcc the email address in your correspondence with TBA!!!

Thanks so much friends!!!!

And now, the letter:

Dear Brad, Dana and Dale:

***I am writing as an individual member of Theatre Bay Area for (FILL IN AS APPROPRIATE) number of years. 

*****OR I am writing as a company member for  (FILL IN AS APPROPRIATE) number of years with (FILL IN NAME OF COMPANY). 

*****OR I am writing as an artist in the Bay Area theater community who is not a current member of Theatre Bay Area.

As Theatre Bay Area prepares for its annual conference, I urge TBA to prioritize including a thorough and focused conversation about gender inequity in Bay Area Theatre.  In recent months the theatre community has witnessed both a local and global groundswell of energy, passion and concern around the specific issue of gender parity, and it is long past time to give it the attention it deserves.

According to Theatre Bay Area’s own 2008 ‘Baseline Survey’, women make up 57% to 79% of individual members in every category (actors, administrators, choreographers, directors, designers, educators, funders, patrons, playwrights, and technicians). 

In addition, women are over 50% of the Actor’s Equity membership and, in some studies, over 70% of ticket buyers nationwide, (60% for TBA’s above mentioned survey).  Furthermore, plays by and about women consistently find the most success with the US. theatre box office.  Yet women still are not represented equitably on US stages, nor have any American theatre service organizations made the gender parity issue a priority for examination in their publications or conferences.

Given these numbers, a focused discussion on how to include more women in the creative aspects of theatre production and performance is not only overdue, it is crucial to defining theatre for a new generation, as well as for the audiences we are already blessed to have.  

Theatre Bay Area, as a highly regarded service organization, has a unique opportunity and obligation to its members to provide the leadership and platform for examining this issue.  Facilitating a serious and focused dialogue between individuals and companies at the upcoming TBA conference will raise awareness about the intricacies of this vital matter.

I look forward to attending this year’s conference and engaging with TBA staff, member theatres and individuals about the urgent issue facing our work. 

I hope you will seriously consider making gender inequity a primary focus of the conference.

Thank you for your time.  


Friday, December 14, 2012

News Round-Up

International: The Guardian UK has been running a thoughtful, articulate and passionate series of articles this week on representation of women on British stages.  There are infographics, data analysis articles, a feature, an opinion piece, and a second infographic that focuses specifically on the gender breakdown in Shakespeare.  It was interesting to me to see how similar the British data was to what I've been finding with the Counting Actors project: especially at the higher budget levels, the ratio of representation male to female is roughly 2:1.

Local: Theatre Bay Area's Chatterbox blog has new content relating to last week's Diversity Symposium.  Staff member Dale Albright has a wrap-up post that includes suggestions for taking action.   And several attendees share their reactions, thoughts and reflections in this blog post (and a few mentions of the Counting Actors project there as well!).  Finally, today, there's a post from me on the TBA site as well, which should be cross-posted to the Works by Women SF site very soon as well.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Slumps

I could be seriously worried right now.   Compared to earlier this year when it seemed like my agent was sending me out every few days, I've barely heard anything (other than those weird beating the bushes kinds of calls where they need twin native Tagalog speakers or real-life professional chefs who also have rare skin diseases).

I could be freaking out - have they forgotten me? Did someone say something and they've decided they're going to drop me and haven't told me?

I'm not worried and I'm not riding any emotional roller coasters.  Thanks to my audition tracking spreadsheet.  Since I've tracked auditions in a spreadsheet for a few years now, I'm at the point where I can see trends in the audition calendar - and, it turns out that for every year I've tracked December is just a slow month when it comes to auditions.  So I'm fine - it's the calendar, not me.

I'm using these quiet weeks to work audition pieces, look at the bigger picture and think about what I'd like to accomplish in 2013.  Because if it's anything like the last few years have been, January is going to get really busy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Counting Actors: November 2012

I started this project in June 2011, and have now counted over 200 shows.  To see past posts in this series, and learn how to make a contribution, please visit the Counting Actors Info Page.

8 shows counted:
San Jose Stage/Race (this is actually an October show that I somehow forgot to count!)
ACT/Elektra (Female translator not counted below; also not counted are onstage female cellist, and 4 understudies: 2m, 2f, 1 union, 1 non-union of each gender)
Golden Thread/ReOrient 2012 Series A (A festival of 6 one-act plays with multiple writers and directors and an ensemble cast, each actor featured in at least 2 pieces)
6th St Playhouse/August:Osage County
Killing My Lobster/KML Does Not Fear the End (a collaboratively written sketch show with lots of cross gender casting for both men and women)
Impact/Toil and Trouble
Aurora/Wilder Times
CenterREP/Status Update

The Stats:
6 male directors, 6 female directors
14 male writers, 9 female writers
52 total actors
27 men, 25 women
17 equity actors, 35 non-equity actors
9 union men, 8 union women
50 local actors, 2 non-local actors

Thank you so very much to the folks who continue to contribute show statistics to this blog, and to the folks who do so for the first time as well!  This month that list includes: Kristin Brownstone, Liz Gjeltsen, Phoebe Moyer, Melissa Hillman, Rosie Hallett, and Darl Andrew Packard.

I also need to thank those of you who continue to talk about and share the blog posts with your friends and colleagues.