Inequality in Theatre

A Discussion of Women in Theatre

Examples of Inequality in Theatre

  • Cross-dressing Roles
  • Very popular in Shakespearean times
  • Today it is usually a joke
  • However, there was a recent time that it was acceptable. Denice Hicks was the first American woman to play King Lear.
  • Waiting for Godot does not allow women to act in the show.
  • Imbalance of classical roles
  • Women's roles were all stagnant until the late 80s early 90s. The roles were usually mothers, lovers, or harlots.
  • Men have always tended to have the more adventurous leader roles, such as kings, soldiers, artists, inventors, and are 9 times out of 10, the lead roles.
  • Stereotyping
  • See the second page of the handout.

Helpful Ideas for More Equality

  • More Casting Opportunities
  • Casting is a very difficult process in which the director must choose the best actor for each role in the show.
  • However, with the lack of female roles in shows, shows should be more willing to cast women as male roles, if it does not mess with the story of the show.
  • Some people have done shows with changing the gender of characters, with usually positive outcomes.
  • The Gender Continuum is the theory that characters could be masculine or feminine but have masculine or feminine traits.
  • Writing More Roles
  • Theatre has a play canon for which most of the playwrights are white males who tend to write about white males.
  • There are female writers or plays with female characters, but those shows are not very popular, or are drowned out by the popularity of other shows.
  • But that doesn't mean all shows are bad!
  • Stereotyping Removed!
  • Two of the most popular shows of the time are Fun Home and Wicked.
  • Fun Home is a show a lesbian who has to deal with her family life,
  • Wicked is the story of two of the witches of Oz.
  • Both shows are about very strong females who are the leads of their own shows.