To direct at the MTC is not every directors dream. It is no the only place to direct theatre in Victoria. However, it is our state's flagship theatre company and one of the few fully professional, tax payer supported entities so I feel the POSSIBILITY of being appointed SHOULD exist for Victorian based women theatre directors. Lasts nights MTC program launch again illustrates that just becasue the opportunity SHOULD exist does not mean it DOES.
In 2006 of 11 MTC productions, 1 was directed by a woman (Kate Cherry). In 2007 of 12 MTC productions, 1 was directed by a woman (Kate Cherry). In 2008 of 12 MTC productions 2 were directed by women- NSW based Gale Edwards and a UK import Marie Aitken. In 2009 of 12 MTC productions 2 were directed by women - both NSW based - Cate Blanchett and Marion Potts. Now in 2010, there is again one female appointment, Kate Cherry. In five years have there really not been Victorian based female directors worthy of a gig?
If there are Victorian women of excellence capable of directing theatre (which I wholeheartedly believe there are)- why are they not getting the work? And conversely, if one wished to argue that there are none capable of directing on the main stage, then that itself begs the question WHY? Where are the opportunities? Where are the professional development pathways? Where is the evidence that Victorian women are not capable? Is the current MTC equal opportunity policy effective? And so it seems that we women who are already time poor running independent theatre companies, raising families, educating ourselves, educating others, developing new works, producing semi-professional and co-op productions and lodging countless time consuming creative development and presentation funding applications must add to our 'to do' list changing an overarching patriachal mentality that is ever present in our industry.
The AWDA will not be the first group of women to attempt to affect change. But wouldn't it be nice if we were the last? I am absolutely appalled that in the 21st century when women in all was of life are managing big budgets and assuming positions of authority, that in theatre we are still in a position where we have to argue/convince/lobby to insist that we are not only capable but entitled to basic equal opportunity rights. An almost equal percentage of tax payers are female, a higher proportion of MTC audience members are female, plays written by women being produced at the MTC is on the rise. The available roles for female performers at the MTC looks pretty good this year (you know if you are not a female of diverse cultural heritage) ... so why is there not a rise in the appointments of women directors? Is it because a director is seen to asume a leadership role and hold a position of creative authority? Is so, shame. Shame on all concerned.