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Theater Now Has Its Own Bechdel Test

Theater Now Has Its Own Bechdel Test

Just over a third of theater roles in England are for women, according to a 2014 study by Tonic Theatre

To help correct the gender lopsidedness on stage, the London-based Sphinx Theatre Company has introduced a new test to help playwrights, producers and other decision-makers increase female representation and employment. 

Inspired by the Bechdel Test, the Sphinx test encourages better and more roles for women by asking “how prominently female characters feature in the action, whether they are proactive or reactive, whether the character avoids stereotype and how the character interacts with other women,” according to The Stage.

The test will be distributed theaters and organizations across the UK, but Sphinx artistic director Sue Parrish claims that it is “in no way prescriptive.”

“This is the result of a lot of conversations about how frustrating it can sometimes be that it seems that the repertoire is just stagnant and is repeating itself with very small changes, but no huge step forward,” commented Parrish. “Following the arts council’s agreement to monitor equality, the pressure is on programmers and artistic directors to actually find a way of improving their presence of women, but also BAME actors. So this tool is also a way of helping artistic directors and people who commission at all levels to think about how they might address imbalances.” 

[via The Stage]

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