Friday, October 2, 2009

The Age: Theatre company is failing women directors

by ROBIN USHER October 2, 2009 - 11:54AM

IT CAN be argued the Melbourne Theatre Company is the most successful state company in the country. This is not due to its size — its 2008 revenue of $10 million was well below the $25 million recorded by the Sydney Theatre Company. But the MTC's subscribers number 19,600, which is more than 2500 above the much bigger STC.

This success is due to the genius of the MTC's artistic director, Simon Phillips, in putting together programs that appeal to the broadest range of theatregoers. His associates over the past decade have included two notable women, Robyn Nevin and Kate Cherry, who both still occasionally work with the company.

Nevin went on to run the Sydney Theatre Company until two years ago, while Cherry is director of Perth's Black Swan company. This only makes it all the more puzzling that the MTC is putting its head in the sand when it comes to recent criticisms about the low number of jobs given to women directors in recent years — two out of 12 this year, slumping to only one in 2010.
Despite the damage such criticism does to its image, it seems the MTC is not interested in taking a leadership role on such a crucial issue. Melanie Beddie, a convener with the Australian Women Directors Alliance, wrote a letter to the MTC board criticising the few opportunities for Victorian women theatre directors in recent years... (continued)


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