In theater, as in many other artistic mediums, men tend to dominate the genre. Plays with male leads are likelier to be produced more than shows featuring a leading lady, female producers are vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts, a mere 20% of plays produced are written by women, and only 6 women have ever won the Tony Award for directing. Only 6 women, ever.
These inequities within the theater industry aren’t anything new. Just think back to when Shakespeare was writing plays – plays that were acted, produced, and directed by males only (even the female parts were acted by men). Today, the gender gap isn’t so literal; there are an equal number of female directors out there, it’s just that the plays they direct don’t receive as much attention because of their content and characters. The world of theater has definitely become more inclusive of women, and some theater companies are particularly dedicated to increasing female exposure within the industry.
Just take The Arts Effect NYC, an organization dedicated to empowering young girls through fostering a love of theater. The Arts Effect offers award-winning programs for new artists and is “known for offering the highest quality acting training in an exciting supportive environment.” The organization provides acting classes for teens, up-and-coming actors, and even programs that are designed for only women and girls. Their All-Girl Theater Company was founded in 2007 as a way to nurture ensembles of girls ages 9-18, igniting a love of theater and helping them explore their worlds through an artistic lens.
The All-Girl Theater Company combines creative writing exercises, acting training, debate and discussion, and mentorship, which allows girls to “utilize the power of the theater arts to share their voices, challenge their communities, and inspire their peers,” according to The Arts Effect. These programs allow the girls to flourish within the theater arts, preparing them for creative future endeavors and giving them the skills necessary to not only be strong actors, but strong women as well.
Recently, the All-Girl Theater Company performed “SLUT The Play,” at the 2013 New York City Fringe Festival, garnering the group of courageous, dynamic young actors national attention, and critical acclaim. The Arts Effect NYC is offering fantastic programs for young actors, and provides an outlet for young women pursuing the theater arts that is unparalleled. To learn more about the All-Girl Theater Company and its upcoming outreach events and future productions visit The Arts Effect NYC’s official website.