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Launch of Gender Equality in Practice in Irish Theatre

Minister Josepha Madigan launches gender equality policies of ten Irish theatre organisations

On the 9th July 2018 at The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts at Trinity College, Dublin, Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD launched Gender Equality in Practice in Irish Theatre; the gender equality policies of The Abbey Theatre, Cork Midsummer Festival, The Corn Exchange, Druid Theatre, The Everyman, Dublin Theatre Festival, Fishamble: The New Play Company, The Gate Theatre, The Lir Academy, Rough Magic Theatre Company.

The 10 theatre companies involved in the working group have come together to demonstrate the power of collaboration within the Cultural sector in Ireland, to share expertise, support and learnings and enhance the possibilities for women in the Irish theatre sector. It is vital that women’s voices are allowed to reverberate on stage, across the cultural sector and across society as a whole. – Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD

The ten policy documents crafted to encompass the individual workings and requirements of the ten theatre organisations were a result of one and half year’s work. Gender Equality in Practice in Irish Theatre began after #WakingTheFeminists drew international attention to the gender inequality that then existed within Irish theatre. This cultural phenomenon encouraged the participating theatre organisations to consider their own record in programming and supporting women within the sector and identify processes that would ensure gender parity and dignity at work in the future.

Working together the ten organisations agreed that the process had to be a learning experience and the amount of time it took to achieve the policies is an indication of the commitment to the subsequent outcomes of the process. All policy statements have been ratified by the boards of the theatre organisations. The policies are now active and all involved have undertaken to review their progress and measure results regularly.

Those involved feel they are leading the way for other art forms who have yet to address Gender Equality in their respective sectors. It is hoped that the policies launched today will provide a template for other theatre organisations and cultural sectors such as visual arts, dance and literature to adopt.

Theatre is by definition a visible sector, and a great deal of focus had been given to incidents within specific organisations; we are pleased to use that visibility to take a lead in identifying a robust, clear and decent code of practice that has currency throughout theatre in Ireland, and which can offer guidance for other sectors that may be equally in need of reform. – Lynne Parker- Rough Magic Theatre Company

While every organisation involved in the process have tailored a policy statement specific to the individual needs of each organisation some of the measures adopted include

  1. Gender blind readings for play
  2. Unconscious bias training for all staff
  3. Achieve equality of gender of board members
  4. 50% of a new play commissions to be allocated to women writers
  5. Gender blind casting
  6. Addition of Dignity at Work clauses to employees charter
  7. Re-examination of the female canon
  8. Work with third level institution to encourage gender parity in areas that do not reflect equality of gender.
  9. To achieve gender balance in programming within a 5year period.

For a full account of all Gender Equality policies of The Abbey Theatre, Cork Midsummer Festival, The Corn Exchange, Druid Theatre, The Everyman, Dublin Theatre Festival, Fishamble: The New Play Company, The Gate Theatre, The Lir Academy, Rough Magic Theatre Company, please go to wakingthefeminists.org

The process has been fully supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

For interview and further information please contact Dairne O’Sullivan dairnemosullivan@gmail.com or call on 087 680 1443.

Read the Gate Theatre’s Gender Equality and Dignity Policy or download it as a PDF here

Published on 9 July 2018