Stellar Quines and SHE Scotland to empower young woman critics through new writers' programme
- Deborah Chu
- 4 December 2019
The initiative aims to redress gender imbalance in theatre criticism, with their work to be published via The List
Loud-and-proud feminist theatre company Stellar Quines, in partnership with the North Edinburgh charity SHE Scotland and the Royal Lyceum Theatre, will be spearheading a new initiative designed to empower women and girls in the field of theatre journalism. The project will see a group of young women attend the Lyceum's Christmas show An Edinburgh Christmas Carol, receive backstage access and meet the cast and crew behind the theatre's festive production. The results of their experience – ranging from interviews and reviews to photography – will subsequently be published in The List. For many participants, this will be their first time seeing a show at the Lyceum, and all of the writers will be previously unpublished.
Though much of the dialogue around gender equality in British theatre has centred upon the imbalance on stage – with only 35% of roles performed by women, and a mere 30% of work written by women – less well-known is the paucity of women's voices in the world of theatre criticism, with only 30% of writers and reviewers of theatre identifying as women. Such a dramatic disparity in the way theatre is understood, interpreted and communicated has led to a systemic prejudice against certain experiences and issues grounded in gender, and thus are often overlooked in mainstream theatrical writing. Yet a diversity of experience, background and language is necessary to the foundation of a strong, vibrant critical discourse – and moreover, is vital to engaging wider audiences and theatre-makers.
But this project is just the beginning, as Stellar Quines and SHE Scotland plan to extend the initiative into a week-long young writers' programme in the summer, immersing future critics in the wealth of theatre that pours into the city during the August festivals, and empowering them to add their voices to the conversation. So make sure to watch this space, as the future of theatre journalism begins now.