EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: WOMEN COUNT IV, 2013-14 THROUGH 2017-18
Since 2014, the Women Count report series collects and publishes analyses of production credits to assess gender parity in theater hiring decisions. We ask: whose plays are being done, who is directing them, and how many women are being hired for theatrical off-stage roles in New York’s theaters beyond Broadway? The goal of the report series is to change the conversation from anecdotes to action plans to support advocacy efforts on behalf of women playwrights, performers, and off-stage theater workers.
The universe of theater companies covered by the Women Count report series has been tweaked over the years to drop companies that have stopped producing, such as The Pearl, and to add others, such as Second Stage after the first report, and just this year the recent production history of Irish Rep has been added to our database.
The August 2014 and October 2015 Women Count reports include analyses of 22 theater companies. The third Women Count report completed in February 2018 covers 23 companies, seven seasons (2010-11 through 2016-17) and nearly 700 productions. This fourth Women Count report covers 22 companies, the five most recent seasons (2013-14 through 2017-18) and 515 unique productions.
As in prior reports, summary tables, many with company-by-company detail, include gender hiring breakdowns in multiple roles. Findings from the most recent five completed Off Broadway seasons reveal several areas in which women are dominant, some areas where parity is being approached, and many other areas where parity is far from the norm. This report does not analyze why such decisions hiring have been made. Rather, the series seeks to document the status of these decisions and to allow the field to consider ways to promote parity.
- Productions Off-Broadway across the five most recent study seasons 2013-14 through 2017-18 continue to be dominated by “new” plays with world premieres within five years of the study production. Individual seasons of plays produced Off Broadway in study companies range from 73% to 80% “new” plays.
- Women playwrights represented in the study theaters range from season lows of 28% in 2013-14 to a season high of 42% in 2017-18.
- Women director credits by season range from a low of 37% in 2013-14 to a high of 47% 2017-18.
- Set designer credits are generally less than one third women, ranging from a season low of 20% in 2015-16 to a season high of 32% in 2016-17.
- Lighting designers are overwhelmingly men among recent study productions, with a season low of 11% credits for women in 2014-15 to a season high of 23% credits for women in 2017-18.
- Costume designers are primarily women, with a five-season low of 70% in 2016-17, and a five-season high of 74% women in 2013-14.
- Sound designer credits are one-fifth women across the seasons, with wide variation among producing companies. Season rates range from 13% women in 2016-17 to a season high of 21% women in 2017-18.
- Production stage managers, stage managers, and assistant stage managers are 70% women in each study year, reflecting national trends.
Women Count IV, covering 2013-14 through 2017-18, has been written using data assembled from production playbills, season announcements, theater web sites, published production reviews, on-line databases, and professional networks.