Works By Women SF Explores Tactics for Gender Parity

Amy Clare Tasker

Amy Clare Tasker
TACTICS Series Curator

This is a big week for discussions of gender parity in the Bay Area theatre community!

While Theatre Bay Area is hosting a fascinating series of interviews on Howlround where women in theatre are discussing their personal relationships to the issue of gender parity, the feisty Works by Women San Francisco is posting its own series where feminist theatre artists are sharing their ideas about the best strategies for achieving true equality.

Curator Amy Clare Tasker, a San Francisco theatre director and member of the Yeah, I Said Feminist Facebook group,  has dubbed this the “TACTICSseries (Theater Artists’ Collected Thoughts Insights Challenges & Strategies for Gender Parity Advocacy).  As she writes:

“The problem is clear. The causes are thorny, complex, and controversial; the solutions equally so. Many women and men have worked toward change for decades, and more are now asking, “What can we do?”. The TACTICS interview series investigates what our community is already doing, what we’ve tried, and what we can do next to advocate for equal and better representation of women in theater.”

So far she has interviewed Rebecca Ennals, Artistic Director of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival; Christina Augello, Founder and Board President of DivaFest; Roberta D’Alois, playwright and Artistic Director of Jump! Theatre; Emily Davis, Artistic Director of the Messenger Theatre CompanyValerie Weak, San Francisco based Equity actor, teaching artist, and creator of the Counting Actors Project; Laura Shamas, Co-Founder & Outreach Agent, LA Female Playwrights Initiative; Emily Kaczmarek, New York playwright, performer, and Teen Programs Manager at Step Up Women’s Network; and me, Martha Richards, Founder and Executive Director of WomenArts.

Tasker asks great questions  – “What are the biggest challenges facing women artists?”, “What tactics have you seen or used to achieve gender parity?”, “What worked?”, “What is one action someone could take today that would make a difference?”

She is getting great answers, and I highly recommend that you read this entire series of interviews.  As someone who has worked for women’s equality in the arts for a long time, I have been thrilled to read all the great ideas from these smart, hard-working, talented women.

Yes, we are challenging deeply entrenched attitudes about gender, and yes, the struggle is hard, but surely with so much brainpower on our side, we will eventually prevail.

Thank you, Amy Clare Tasker, for putting this series together.  It is truly inspiring!

Tune into a national Howlround conversation on advocacy best practices, moderated by Marisela Treviño Orta and Amy Clare Tasker on Thursday, May 2 at 11AM PDT/2PM EDT on Twitter at #newplay.