Following accusations of a “boy’s club” mentality, Company B is hitting back in a rather interesting way, announcing that its Philip Parsons Memorial Lecture will be focused on theatre’s missing women.
Drama engulfed Company B when blogger Joanna Erskine questioned the lack of women in creative roles in the company’s 2010 season. It gained widespread media attention, and denials from management.
Notes surrounding this year’s lecture say: “There has been much discussion recently about the lack of women in key creative roles in theatre and much speculation around why this is the case. Are enough female creative voices being nurtured? Do audiences notice? What could and should be done to rectify the gender imbalance in the creative landscape?”
It adds: “The Philip Parsons Lecture was established to stir debate, confront problems and urge for change. With this in mind and with a focus on directorial roles in this forum, Company B Belvoir hopes to provide a platform to continue the conversation and look at where we go from here.”
Rachel Healy, Director Performing Arts at Sydney Opera House and former long-term General Manager at Company B Belvoir will deliver a short opening address giving an introduction to the debate. She will then join the panel of distinguished women including: theatre notes blogger and critic Alison Croggon; emerging director Shannon Murphy; Marion Potts, Associate Artistic Director at Bell Shakespeare and Gil Appleton who will provide an historical overview.
The panel will share their perspectives, pathways, experiences and thoughts for the future. Moderated by ABC Journalist Monica Attard the discussion will then be opened to the floor for debate.
The Memorial Lecture is delivered annually by a prominent arts practitioner or commentator, and provides a vital platform for senior arts professionals to speak candidly about the industry and raise debate. This event has been designed as an open access forum to facilitate discussion in the community around this issue and members of the public are welcome to attend.
The recipient of the 2009 Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award will also be announced at this event. Awarded annually to a playwright under 35 years of age, whose work demonstrates an original and compelling theatrical voice, the winner will receive a writer’s commission supported by Company B Belvoir. The 2009 shortlisted writers are Tamara Asmar, Van Badham, Tahli Corin, Nick Coyle and Caleb Lewis.
This year’s lecture is on December 6.