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We are working on the next showcase of our Sphinx 30 writers. More information coming soon!

Our friend Futures theatre has released a new podcast series! Fully Amplified is a 7-part original drama-documentary series exploring the stories of over 30 women and non-binary people from all walks of life, brought to you by some of the UK’s most dynamic writers.

For more information go to: www.futurestheatre.co.uk/fully-amplified

SPHINX IN THE GUARDIAN, April 2022

“We need more women running theatre and employed across the board,” says Milton. “Until the people running the building look like us,” she argues, the issues raised by #MeToo “risk being forgotten”

Read it here: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2022/apr/07/me-too-have-things-changed-for-women-in-theatre

Sphinx, alongside other members of the December Group, has written an Open Letter to Oliver Dowden. Find out more here.

Dear Oliver Dowden,

Over the last 2 months, we have been looking at the question of how to rebuild the arts post-coronavirus, from the perspective of women’s equality.  Our concern is that gender inequality will increase in straitened, risk-averse conditions.

Our research shows that one reason less work by women is programmed is that women are sometimes viewed (incorrectly) as more of a box-office risk.  This aligns with evidence in Sphinx Theatre’s year-long research project on Women in Theatre, conducted with Jennifer Tuckett at the University of Cambridge last year, including quotes from NPO Artistic Directors:

“There isn’t enough money to make exciting commissions happen and there is pressure on the bottom line to deliver sure fire winners, which often means extant texts, which often means male written.” 

“I would say that managing risk is a challenge for every theatre. There are things that I know in the wider sphere wouldn’t be a risk, but here they would be. And that often is to do with contemporary new work that’s not necessarily of a known quality”.

“The challenge is we need a play that’s recognizable, that we can get an audience in with…. and the repertoire’s dominated by men. So it’s how you change that.”

We will be sending you the Report of our recent research, and from the major Women in Theatre Forum (partners including The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, Equity, ERA 50:50, University Women in the Arts, Sphinx Theatre, Black Womxn in Theatre, Stage Directors UK).

We are writing to flag up this issue now, however, as we notice that your taskforce has only 3 women out of the 9 task force members (33%).  Our research from Australia has shown that a gender-equal team is more likely to consider all genders’ needs.

We also notice that 0% of the leadership is female, as both yourself, as Chair of the taskforce, and the newly appointed Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal are male.

For all these reasons, we ask that you use a ‘gender lens’ to make and review all your decisions.

We will be sending you our Report within the next few weeks.  We ask you and your taskforce to reflect, and act, on its findings, as you consider how best to rebuild the arts post-coronavirus.

We hope you will let us know what measures will be put in place to ensure gender equality.

Best wishes,

Maureen Beattie OBE, President of Equity

Sue Parrish, Artistic Director, Sphinx Theatre

Polly Kemp, Co-founder, ERA 50: 50

Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director, Watford Palace Theatre

Jennifer Tuckett, Director, University Women in the Arts

Dr Julia Pascal, writer, director, academic and the first female director at the National Theatre at the South Bank

Chloe Todd Fordham, playwright, dramaturg and the former Literary Manager at Graeae Theatre Company

On behalf of The December Group

Pick of the Week

Five Characters In Search Of A Good Night's Sleep @ Southwark Playhouse

Five Characters In Search Of A Good Night's Sleep @ Southwark Playhouse

Five insomniacs try to make it through the night. From dusk to dawn, they struggle with a crisis in their lives which they must resolve by morning. ViSiBLE is a theatre company dedicated to creating performance work that throws fresh perspectives on later life and living longer. Directed by Mike Alfreds.

On till 21st May

The Straw Chair @ The Finborough

The Straw Chair @ The Finborough

Inspired by a true story, The Straw Chair is a modern Scottish classic, exploring liberty, marriage, madness, incarceration, and female empowerment, against the backdrop of the lost way of life of the Western Isles. This production is directed by Polly Creed, produced by True Names Productions, and stars Siobhan Redmond.

On 19th April – 14th May

Prima Facie @ The Harold Pinter Theatre

Prima Facie @ The Harold Pinter Theatre

Tessa is a thoroughbred. A young, brilliant barrister who loves to win. She has worked her way up from working class origins to be at the top of her game; defending; cross examining and lighting up the shadows of doubt in any case. An unexpected event forces her to confront the lines where the patriarchal power of the law, burden of proof and morals diverge.

15th April – 18th June

In the Press

Alex Critoph: It’s time to let women tell their own stories in theatre

The Stage, 3rd March 2020

Arts Council England accused of barely mentioning women in its 10 year Strategy

The Stage, 7th February 2020

Sexism and gender divide ingrained in UK theatre

The Guardian, 27th Jan 2020

Time to drop the cliche that women only write 'domestic' plays - Erica Whyman

The Stage, 26th September 2019

Timberblake wertenbaker and jude kelly join symposium exploring gender equality

The Stage, 12th December 2018

Female theatre leaders hail arts council meeting as a major step forward for gender parity campaign

The Stage, 7th December 2018

We're now confusing diversity and equality. Which is our priority?

The Guardian, 17th June 2018

Women are being excluded from the stage. It's time for quotas

The Guardian, 24th April 2018

Sphinx theatre's sue parrish: we must break down the barriers to gender parity

The Stage, 8th March 2018 for International Women's Day

Directors must deal with how older plays depict women

WhatsOnStage, 12th May 2017

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