A Question of Equity - April 1990

Submitted by root on Mon, 08/07/2017 - 17:44

Women in the Arts

4. WORKS BY WOMEN: b) Performimg Arts cont:

ii) Musicals and Pantomimes cont:  Overall there were 11 works - 3 of which were traditional pantomimes. Of the other 8 works:-

3 took place in the major theatres totalling some 70 performances. All the works had male librettists/authors, though one was adapted by a woman, and all had male composers.

5 were either commercial productions being promoted within subsidised venues or subsi­dised amateur productions. They totalled some 77 performances. 4 were by men and one was a male/female collaboration.

Women as composers or librettists within what is basically a form of popular entertainment would seem to be almost non-existent. The 2 women who did make some contribution were white and able-bodied.

iii) Opera: There were 9 operas performed within this period. All the librettists and composers were men. 2 were professional productions totalling some 8 performances and the other 7 were amateur productions totalling some 26 performances.

Opera is one of the areas within the subsidised arts which receives extremely large amounts of money and which - as with classical music - would seem to exist entirely to promote the works of men.

iv) Mime, Dance and Visual/Physical Theatre: All productions bar 1 were by touring companies or artists. During the period in question there were at least 39 works presented covering 41 performances (the 'at least' is because in the case of 1 mime company I do not have a programme of their work and therefore have treated the whole performance as 1 work).

Of these works 7 (18%) were by women - all of whom were white and able-bodied - and were included within 3 programmes which also included works by men. There were a further 4 works which were collaborations by men and women covering a further 3 performances.

Therefore overall women's works could be seen on 6 occasions that is 4% of the total. Although there no works by black women, 11 works (28% of the total) were by black men.

It is surprising, considering the contribution made by women performers in this area - specifically in terms of dance - how few women choreographers there are. The figures in this instance were somewhat better than might be expected, given the low national profile of women choreographers, as there was during the period, a whole dance programme based around the talents of a female dancer/choreographer. All the works by women were presented within this programme. However, as with drama, the works presented within the main auditoria were without exception by men.