Thursday, December 2, 2010

Victorian Theatre Network Meeting ‘3 Minute Pitch’ September 16th, 2010

Lucy Freeman

Straightjacket Productions: Artistic Director

Chair: Australian Women Directors Alliance

La Trobe University: Theatre and Drama Department

The Underrepresentation of Victorian Women Director’s on the main stage

While many industries have been adopting strategies toward a ‘critical mass’ of one third representation of women in leadership roles, the past 15 years in Australian theatre has seen the number of women in key creative appointments decrease. The statistics are particularly bad for women directors in the Victorian professional sector. Of the last 58 productions at the MTC, 7 shows were directed by a woman. 3 by Kate Cherry and 4 by other women who do not reside in Victoria. The news is no better out of The Malthouse. In the past five years, Victorian based women directors have had as much opportunity to increase their perceived ‘merit’ (which dictates their appointment suitability) as women seeking leadership roles in the AFL, the Armed Forces and the Catholic Church.

My pitch is for subsidised companies to outline their Equal Opportunity strategies and have their effectiveness assessed by a regulatory body. Non-compliance should carry consequences and results or reports be made public.

In the face of limited opportunities throughout history, a few Victorian women directors have shattered glass ceilings, some prefer the artistic freedom found working in the margins, and many have found strength in the community, youth, independent and education sectors. But many have walked away, fatigued at forever being dubbed ‘emerging creatives’ and ‘alternative’ to an imposed norm. Many are frustrated by the banging on seemingly locked doors, the unanswered invites to see their work and the longitudinal development opportunities offered young male directors – whose artistic sensibilities align with those of the monolithic decision makers. The popular catch-cry that women directors are responsible for their plight because they do not network and pitch “like men” – derives from a gendered assumption that men pitch the “right” way.

Under the leadership of Melanie Beddie, Jane Woollard and myself, the AWDA (Australian Women Directors Alliance) has recently reminded the theatre industry that workplace equity is not a choice, but a legal, ethical and moral requirement. Similar to the atmosphere in 1994, it is currently felt that ‘a breeze is blowing’. The current theatre industry’s legacy will be how well the issue is addressed THIS time. For lasting change, political and industry leaders must take the baton from the un-resourced AWDA and strategically advocate for an increase in interpretive female voices in the nation’s theatre.

The theatre industry is not exempt from equal opportunity because individual male or female artistic director’s aesthetic taste or personal and professional relationships necessitate it. MPAB and other state and federally subsidized companies are supported by the society for whom theatre is made. It is therefore reasonable to demand at least one third of all theatre company board and key creative appointments are female.

Women are not a sub-set of men. And, despite being listed as a ‘special category’ in arts funding, women are neither a homogenous nor a minority group. Men and women must together re-imagine an ethos and structure that welcomes the creative authority, artistry and potential of women, in all their diversity. Enough is enough. History has shown that a breeze is never enough to affect change. It is time for a wind machine, even if hiring one means re-jigging the budget and turning it on forces things to shift in unquantifiable ways.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Australian Women Directors Alliance ‘Creating Change’ Forum.

The ‘Creating Change’ Forum was held at the Arts Centre over the two days of 10th and 11th September, 2010. It was convened by Melanie Beddie, Lucy Freeman, Petra Kalive and Jane Woollard and was sponsored by the Office for the Status of Women and the Arts Centre. The Forum was attended by over 100 delegates from around Australia. 97% of these delegates were female theatre directors and theatre makers working professionally as well as in areas of teaching and research and administration. The AWDA ‘Creating Change’ Forum presented a model for thinking about social change in a dynamic and energetic way. Women directors claimed their legacy, their role as leaders in the theatre profession, and their commitment to supporting one another as we work towards greater diversity in our profession.

The key issues that brought about the need for the Forum are: The ongoing question about the visibility of women theatre directors; The desire to acknowledge and celebrate the existing body of work of women directors and the energy and vision of the diverse artists gathered at the forum; To facilitate a discussion to craft a series of future actions and allow an opportunity to envisage new theatres for the 21st century

Delegates were invited to reflect on the following statements and questions and to note their responses on the flip chart stands positioned around the room.
1:What am I here for?
2: What makes my heart sing?
3: In relation to my practice, what do I regret?

The forum began with a panel entitled 'How does it happen?' chaired by Lucy Freeman. This panel was pitched to practitioners in their first decade of practice. The meetings of AWDA which occurred throughout 2010 had made us aware that these practitioners often have questions about how to approach MPAB companies. Panellists were John Paul Fischbach: Executive Director Auspicious Arts Incubator, Maryanne Lynch: Dramaturge in Residence,
Malthouse Theatre; Vanessa Pigrum, Artistic Director, Full Tilt and the Arts Centre Program Manager, Creative Development; Aidan Fennessey, Associate Director, Melbourne Theatre Company.

The focus of the panel was to give an insight into how work is chosen and programmed in Melbourne’s Major Performing Arts Companies. Panelists were invited to share their thoughts and observations about making a pitch to their particular organisation.

The Forum continued with a gracious and hearty welcome from Judith Isherwood, CEO of the Arts Centre. A number of delegates later spoke about how important it was to be invited into the Arts Centre and be given support by them.

The second panel of the evening was 'Three Director’s Visions', chaired by Melanie Beddie. The panelists were Kate Cherry, Artistic Director of Black Swan Theatre Company; Tanya Gerstle, Artistic Director of Optic Nerve and Anne-Louise Sarks, Co-Artistic Director of Hayloft.

Panelists were invited to reflect upon their artistic practice from its beginnings to the present moment. This session brought together three very different visions and aesthetics from directors who work in a variety of settings - the mainstream, the experimental and the independent. Each of them articulated very adroitly their own vision and method within the context of the current theatre environment. This panel was very inspirational and set the tone for the Forum as a positive expression of the work of women theatre directors, their capacity to persevere, to speak articulately about their work, and to lead.

The first evening of the forum was rounded off with drinks and food. This informal gathering was an opportunity for delegates to network and share news and ideas for ongoing communication and support.

]The second day of the forum began early with a panel entitled 'Body of Work', chaired by Professor Peta Tait. Panelists Kim Durban, Maude Davey and Donna Jackson spoke about their own ongoing practice and the people who had inspired them. They each spoke with humour and passion about the assumptions they had made early on in their practice and the realisations they have arrived at now in their third or fourth decade of work. The importance of this panel was to make real the existing history of women’s theatre work in Australia. Ours is an industry which often focuses on the present and is too often forgetful of past achievements. This is doubly true for women artists and this panel was a timely and exciting reminder of the experience, skill and talent we already have in our working artists.

After a short break we continued with the fourth panel entitled 'Creating Change.' This panel was chaired by Jane Woollard and brought together women from theatre and non-theatre backgrounds who are all leaders in the own fields and whose passion is creating change. This panel was designed to allow the delegates to reflect on their own industry/community from new perspectives. Panelists Sarah Houseman, Executive Officer for the Victorian Association for Environmental Education (VAEE), Elizabeth Bennett, a barrister, and Kristy Edmunds Artistic Director of the New York Armoury, explored the notion of change and how it takes place, why we resist it, and how we might think differently about change How can movements for change, social diversity and community connectedness transform our industry and our working lives? These women’s thoughts and observations provoked exciting responses from the audience and very productive dialogues began.

The afternoon of the second day was devoted to the question 'Where to now? Building a practical vision.'
This session was facilitated by Rob Ryan. Rob met with eight group leaders, Marcia Ferguson, Liz Jones, Gorkem Aragalou, Penelope Bartlau, Jude Anderson, Naomi Edwards, Yvonne Virsik and Adena Jacobs, and outlined the process for the afternoon session. Each group leader sat at a table and delegates joined them. Each delegate was asked to consider “What are the changes we would like to see which will improve our working lives beyond the Forum?” Each delegate was asked to write down 8-10 ideas for a practical vision. The groups then selected the best 3 ideas from around the table which were then ‘published’ on flip charts for the consideration of all delegates. Then a shortlist of the best ten ideas to build a practical vision for change for women theatre directors was generated. Small groups further explored one each of the six most popular ideas. We investigated each idea with the following questions:

What are the component parts of this goal?
What actions are needed?
What do we do now to enable this idea?
Actions: Who will do what and when?

To lobby for the establishment of medium sized theatre companies in Australia.
A lobby group to establish a medium sized company which has long term funding. Models discussed included: 3 independent companies to have the support of a manager and a publicist for 1-3 years; adopting an artistic directorship model that provides programming experience; finding partnerships or forming alliances with a 150seat theatre (the size of Napier Street) or ‘flexible space’.

Developing a resource hub.
The need for a hub was identified to provide independent theatre makers administrative and production support to allow more energy for the creation of artistic work. The hub would have an orientation to independent theatre, with a focus on support for women as part of the mandate. The idea of a venture capital model was discussed in terms of the gaps that exist in marketing, the role of the creative producer/entrepreneur and material resources (such as rehearsal and performance space.) Ideally the Hub would be
part of a virtual network.

7 Shows by 7 Women Directors in Major Festivals in 4 years.
To develop a rough set of ‘rules’ to begin and then in 2 ½ years, identified 7 pieces of outstanding work. Individual women create and fund their own work, with ‘Fresh Directions’ lobbying for State Arts Festivals to look at the projects. The group agreed to meet again in a fortnight to flesh out the idea.
NB: This group has been active since the Forum, with one sub committee meeting and another meeting scheduled for late November.

Mentorships and training across a career.
Develop pathways to mentorship and fields of practice. TNV was suggested as a place for centralization and consolidation of opportunities. Possibility of approaching The Athenaeum Club and The Australian Council and Arts
Vic for support. The need to lobby major arts funding to change the structure of mentorship was identified.

A Directors Network.
Workshops and professional development and spaces suitable for development of work. The need for a website to profile directors and list employment opportunities. Regular meetings, lobbying issues, developing a social networking model and utilizing the Internet more
effectively. NB: At the most recent AWDA meeting it was decided that AWDA will continue as a lobbying and networking organization and that AWDA meetings and one-off events could be convened in response to need.

The Forum concluded with a challenge from the four convenors for delegates and AWDA membership to take up the task of lobbying and driving actions for change. The convenors expressed their desire for others to take on a leadership role within the Alliance. The Forum tackled many subjects in a limited time frame. In hindsight, perhaps we attempted to cover too much ground. The task of identifying areas of practical change and further work for professional lobbying, sub-committees and leadership development was difficult to achieve in the last session on Saturday afternoon.

However, the response to the Forum was overwhelmingly positive. Many delegates spoke of feeling uplifted, empowered and described how they had discovered a new energy for their work. This can be attributed to the feeling of solidarity in the room – that delegates benefited from hearing other women directors speak about their practice, and that being in a room with other women directors made them feel supported. One delegate said she felt good about her work for the first time in a very long time. This could be attributed to the sense of failure many women directors might feel as they struggle to break into MPAB structures. Is it because I am not good enough? Not sexy enough? Not skilled enough? To feel affirmed in our practice was empowering and positive.

The acknowledgement of difference and diversity of practice, method and aesthetic was also a positive aspect of the exchange. Delegates were affirmed in their own unique practice, however, there was no intention to discover a female aesthetic working in contrast to the male norm. Our gender is not a problem in our art making, rather the professional challenges we face are
related to professional development, employment opportunities and accountability to equal opportunity legislation in funded organisations.

The challenge for us all is to find new ways of working in a challenging profession, to propose new models rather than replicating the old, and to respectfully attend to the demise of old ways of thinking about leadership and art making. We are committed to being ready with strong arms and hearts to midwife the birth of energised, diverse and subversive theatres for the 21st

‘Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’
Mary Oliver

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Wonderful work happening at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Check out the posts below for more information on some work to go and check out....

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Friday 10th September 4:30-8.30 and Saturday 11th September 9.30-6.30 @ the Arts Centre.

Registration fee: $40 covers Fri/Sat and includes opening night event, lunch & tea/coffee (Fri only $20 / Sat only $30)

The AWDA Creative Change Forum is shaping up to be a dynamic and inspiring event for our industry.

The focus of the event will be a celebration of the practice of women theatre makers and the possibilities for change and transformation in the theatre industry as we move towards greater diversity and inclusion in our companies and in our work.

Concepts and questions the forum will address include:
What is frightening about the notion of equal opportunity?
How do we challenge major companies to think about diversity in positive and energizing ways ?
Why do existing structures which currently control resources fear to grant women artistic and financial leadership?
Do women make different kind of leaders to men?
How will the inclusion of a broader range of artistic perspectives contribute to the dynamism of our cultural life?

These issues will be explored positively through panel discussion and break out groups. Leaders in other sectors of the community will speak about change, diversity and inclusive structures of work in their own area of practice. Women directors will reflect on their past and ongoing practice and the development of their aesthetic as artistic leaders. The forum will conclude with a facilitated series of discussions about the issues that delegates would like to address. Recommendations for future actions will come out of this discussion.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER or email for more information

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The arts guide to philanthropic gifts and tax:

The guide was developed by Artsupport Australia in response to the ongoing requests from artists and arts organisations for information associated with receiving tax deductible gifts.

Please circulate to others you think may find this useful, and let us know your comments!

Best regards,


Ivana Jirasek

Projects coordinator, Artsupport Australia
Australia Council for the Arts
Tel: +61 2 9215 9315
Mob: 0403 702 422
Fax: +61 9215 9062

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2010 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards.
We welcome nominations for the following awards:

- Individual Award $40,000
- Group Award $70,000
- Facilitator's Prize $15,000

The Awards were created in 1984 to commemorate the life and cultural interests of Sidney Myer, and are primarily intended to enhance the status of the performing arts and artists in Australia. The Awards recognise past achievement, and consideration is also given to the potential of an individual or group to continue their contribution to Australian society through the performing arts.

We encourage you to submit a nomination, or nominations, for the three Awards. Please feel free to distribute information about the Awards to your networks.

A nomination form can be downloaded at .

Further information on previous winners can be found at .

Nominations close Friday 12 November 2010. Winners will be announced in early 2011.

Please don't hesitate to phone if you have any questions about the Awards or nomination process.

Best regards,

Debra Morgan
Program Manager
The Myer Foundation
Sidney Myer Fund
Level 18, 8 Exhibition Street
Melbourne, Australia, 3000

T: 61.3.9207 3042
F: 61.3.9207 3070

Monday, August 2, 2010


The Australian Women Directors Alliance Leadership Forum: Creating Change will be held in Melbourne on the evening of

Friday September 10 and all day Saturday September 11

The Australian Women Directors Alliance has been active since mid last year, raising public awareness for women theatre directors.

This event will be a positive and energetic conference that looks at new models of practice and alternate structures and methods of work.

We will be having speakers from all over Australia to come join us - keep posted for details on who they are!

This Forum on Creating Change is designed to be a one and half day event, for female directors and anyone interested in inspiring change in the arts.

Places in the forum are, however, limited as the focus will be on interactive discussion. Application to attend is through an expression of interest process.

Regional funding is available via RAV quick response grants.

Please fill in the expression of interest below.

All written submissions and the results of the day will collated and distributed to participants and contributors after the Forum. If you are unable to attend the forum but would like to receive this documentation, please indicate your interest on the form.




Applications for this residency in Castlemaine are now open. This is a quick response residency round. Applications due 5pm, 4 August, 2010

Aphids (based in Melbourne), Punctum (based in Castlemaine) and Castlemaine State Festival are joining forces to assist 2 young and emerging Australian artists working with the moving image (video/ animation / film/ machinima/ expanded cinema and more) to undertake unique professional and creative development hosted by Punctum at its Incubator space.

REMOTE SENSE will see a period of invention and intervention within Castlemaine’s metallurgic landscape, and conversation with the local film community, with potential outcomes generated through the mentorship potentially leading to exhibition and screenings as part of the Castlemaine State Festival.

Mentoring and Residency Dates:
The mentorship period falls between September 30 – November 20, 2010

For more details about the mentors, host, eligibility and how to apply, visit;

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Incubator Residency | Vitalstatistix | South Australia

Applications are now open for the 2011 Incubator residency program at Vitalstatistix.
Submissions are invited from directors, devisors, performers, designers, new media artists, playwrights and creative teams to develop new performance, installation or hybrid arts work. Based at Waterside, Port Adelaide, Vitals’ large and flexible space, Incubator residencies provide a highly sought after opportunity for creative development in a supportive producing environment.

INCUBATOR residents have opportunities to feature in Vitals’ future programming and in 2011 they will be hosting two residencies over the year.
Applications are welcome from artists across Australia.

A copy of the application form & guidelines are available on the Vitalstatistix website -


Monday, May 31, 2010

UpRiver | Incbator Residency for development of New Australian Performance Work

Riverland Youth Theatre (RYT) has a wonderful gift of space in our venue to share with artists in South Australia and from interstate. The recently upgraded Renmark Institute is a comfortable and versatile rehearsal and performance space.

A new partnership with Australian Landscape Trust has given RYT access to a range of accommodation options at Calperum Station, a 250,000 hectare former leasehold sheep property with frontage on the River Murray and, further north, an expanse of mallee country. The Riverland offers an inspiring environment conducive for creative dreams to take shape.

UpRiver provides groups of artists with in-kind accommodation and workshop space towards the development of new performance works. Residencies of one to four weeks will be open to young, emerging and experienced independent artists across all art-forms.

Through this residential program RYT will bring creative teams of writers, actors, directors, designers, dancers and other performing artists to the Riverland during the creative development stages of arts projects. In receipt visiting artists will be asked to share their skills with young people and the community in a gift-back workshop arrangement.

Please contact RYT’s Artistic Director Julie Waddington for more information and application forms.
P 08 8586 3437
F 08 8586 3475
PO Box 100 Renmark 5341
54 Ral Ral Ave

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Art Start Grants | Australia Council | Fertiliser for Budding Artists

ArtStart Grants
Australia Council for the Arts- Information Session

Tuesday 25 May 2010, 6-8pm
Old Council Chambers,
Trades Hall, Carlton


Come find out if ArtStart is for you.
ArtStart is a new grant initiative helping budding artists move from studying their atform to earning an income from it.

This info session is a great chance for you to:
· hear from successful ArtStart recipients about how they are using ArtStart to fertilise their careers.
· ask questions and find out what activities ArtStart could fund.
· find out other ways the Australia Council can support you and your art.

Old Council Chambers
Level 1, Trades Hall
Corner Lygon & Victoria Streets, Carlton VIC 3053
(entry off Lygon Street)

RSVP: Melissa Habjan, ArtStart Administration Officer,
on 02 9215 9162 or at

2010 ArtStart Grant information
Closing date: 4 October 2010
Applications available online from 23 August 2010

Arts Funding Forum | Arts Victoria e news | May 2010

We are pleased to invite you to an upcoming arts funding forum hosted by the Australia Council for the Arts in partnership with Arts Victoria. The forum will provide an overview of the ways that Arts Victoria and the Australia Council for the Arts can support your organisation or your work.


Arts Funding Forum

Date: Friday 28 May 2010
Time: 3-5pm
Venue: National Gallery of Victoria - Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

Please RSVP by Tuesday 25th

Please feel free to pass this invitation on to your networks. RSVPs are essential. Please register via

Saturday, May 8, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE - Melbourne Workers Theatre | May 4 2010

Melbourne Workers Theatre takes on new direction and a new board
After 23 years of making socially relevant theatre, the Melbourne Workers Theatre has re-imagined its commitment to providing compelling and thought-provoking work.
The new season will herald in a new vision, a new board, a new creative producer and new works.

“We will continue our loyalty to producing fearless theatre through the new direction of documentary theatre, addressing up-to-the-minute topics of our times,” said the Workers’ Theatre new Creative Producer, Gorkem Acaroglu.

Ms Acaroglu has already forged a solid reputation in the style of socially relevant documentary theatre in both Sydney and Melbourne with works such as her acclaimed “The Habib Show”.
About her new role at the helm, she said,“ The Melbourne Workers Theatre continues its long tradition of employing female directors in artistic leadership roles and spearheading diversity of perspectives on the Australian stage”.

The new board brings together a wealth of experience and expertise in a range of fields, reflecting the company’s fresh direction. At the AGM on the 19th April the following new members were appointed:

Sue Nattrass AO has a distinguished career as one of Australia's most experienced and high profile arts managers including roles as the Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Adelaide Arts Festival.

Lidia Bufalino is the Strategic Programs Director of Ernst and Young and specialises in strategic marketing.

David Vadiveloo is a documentary filmmaker and human rights lawyer. Mr Vadiveloo has received the Australian Human Rights Award for Individual Community Achievement for his work with Indigenous youth.

Professor Ghassan Hage is the Future Generation Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory at the University of Melbourne. Prof. Hage was awarded the NSW Premier’s literary prize and award (Community Relations) for the book Against Paranoid Nationalism.

Lena Cirillo appointed as the new Chair has lead the culture of focussed, productive and creative arts organisations over the past fifteen years including Polyglot Theatre, the Lygon Street Festa and Arts Project Australia. Ms Cirillo is currently working for Make-A-Wish in Fundraising and Development. “As the new Chair, I am passionate about leading such a diverse and committed new board. The depth and breadth of our collective experience and ideas is a wonderful asset to the Workers’ Theatre. We look forward to working with our Creative Producer Gorkem Acaroglu; who we know will deliver a very exciting season of fearless documentary theatre never seen before.” said Ms Cirillo.

For more information contact or 9326 6667

Monday, May 3, 2010

Interview with playwright Amelia Roper

"Moving up to a broader stage" by Robin Usher, The Age, Wednesday 28th April, 2010

Roper's focus is on cross-racial casting and making Australian plays more relevant, but there is a passing reference to male directors and it is certainly an interesting article.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sustainable Time

How time is managed is a key factor in the implementation of structural change. The term 'sustainability' need not only refer to energy consumption. It may also refer to professional work practice.

The MPAB companies and other peak bodies in the performing arts sector have been slow to question or even wonder about the shape of a career in Australian theatre - how this fluctuates over a week, a month or years. Meanwhile, the rest of the community is engaged with ideas about leading a balanced life, allowing time for family, community volunteering and other activities that lie outside the work sphere.

The chasm between the small-medium sector and the MPAB will never be breached as long as there are two modes of time/work management in place. Artists in the small-medium sector are accustomed to holding down part time jobs in the education sector for example, as it is impossible to sustain oneself financially through project work. Yet when we are given the opportunity to work within the MPAB sector, we are expected to be available for long working hours, to the exclusion of other commitments and activities, for the sake of an eight- week contract. The full-time leadership roles of associate director or artistic director are predicated on this model of 'giving over' to work, a 19thc belief in the intrinsic value of hard work. If one questions the value of working an 80-100 hour week, one risks being considered (oh horror!) a 'hobbyist'.

The management of the resource of time has consequences for women directors who are also parents. When one is a parent, one has responsibility not only for one's own timetable, but also the timetable of a child, which may not intersect with a 9-6pm-and-beyond working day. Of course women are not always the primary carers of their children, but they often are, and the reasons for this are cultural, emotional, structural and need to be addressed by MPAB companies if they intend to redress the gender imbalance in key creative roles. If we choose to have children, attend their school working bees, or volunteer in local environment groups, surely that makes us more resilient, connected practitioners, in touch with the world and her dreams? What kind of artists do we become when we grind away our time in rarefied 19thc arts sweatshops?

The time is ripe to make room in the MPAB world for the skills and varied experienced of many different kinds of practitioners, not only for the mono-focused, ‘unencumbered,’ driven white male.

A solution to fit the problem

In any change, the solution is the same size as the problem. For example, as we become more aware of global warming and diminishing oil reserves, we may convince ourselves that changing light bulbs, recycling and driving smaller cars is enough to solve the problem. This puts us in a state called 'cognitive dissonance', where we are half awake, believing we have been given the answer, yet knowing it is not really a solution for the problem.

The rush to solve the problem of inequality of opportunity for women directors in the Australian theatre workplace has lead to a flurry of events and initiatives in the past five months: the 'Where are the Women' forum held at Belvoir Street in late 2009 might be seen as one of these knee-jerk solutions. Despite the fact that this event was hosted by Belvoir Street, there has been no real desire for systemic change within this company. A transparent process for the selection of the new Associate Director at Belvoir Street is one way that this example of 'cognitive dissonance' could have been addressed. However, Belvoir Street has chosen a new Associate Director without an open process that could have provided the opportunity for female directors to apply for this position. Like changing the light bulbs, or driving an electric car, hosting forums and announcing initiatives for women directors within a particular age bracket does not address the underlying systemic problem.

If the MPAB companies truly wish to find a solution that is the same size as the problem, then the federal Equal Opportunity legislation may be a good place to start. Accountability, transparency and a willingness to engage with change and to consider new structures are the ways in which the MPAB companies might build a bridge between their own practice and the small to medium sector. If there is courage and energy for change, then we could create an industry where inclusion, resilience and social relevance are the pillars that support an excellent national theatre.

Jane Woollard

Artistic Director

Here Theatre