A study breaking down employment opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area theatre world by gender has found that female actors, directors, and playwrights have yet to reach parity.
A majority (55%) of the 500 productions that Valerie Weak, Founder of the Counting Actors Project, studied in the region had male-led casts. Only about a quarter (27%), on the other hand, were female-led, while a smaller number of works featured casts with equal amounts of men and women.
Weak embarked on her research after noticing a lack of acting jobs upon joining the performers’ union Actors Equity. She set out to discover how many roles were available to actresses — and whether this number was significantly less than the number of roles for men.
Her research led her to tally and classify 500 productions from 2011 to 2014. Weak’s conclusions will find parallels in theatre scenes all across the country: there’s a too-large gap between men and women working in acting, writing, and directing. Women wrote lots of central roles for men, but not the other way around, while improvement seems a long way off.