All good things must come to an end. Last night was the third and final post-show panel discussion in the series that I’ve programmed and hosted around Jagged Fence’s new production of The Father, starring Alex Ferns. While I’m sad the series has finished (it was such invigorating fun!), I’m happy to say that we went out on an absolute high.
Following the past two weeks, in which we tackled “Feminism Today” and “Parenting Rights”, last night’s discussion subject was titled “Women in the Arts: Is Enough Being Done About Gender Inequality?”
Director Fiona Laird suggested that the balance be redressed by only allowing only plays by female writers to be produced for the next 300 years
The guests gathered to debate the point were: The Stage editor Alistair Smith, director and feminist campaigner Fiona Laird, actor and Act for Change founding member Stephanie Street and Evening Standard chief arts correspondent Louise Jury (click here for full panelist biographies); and, from The Father, director Abbey Wright, leading lady and producer Emily Dobbs, and cast member June Watson, as well as, on behalf of venue owner the Ambassador Theatre Group, London programmer Charlotte Longstaff.
The short, collective answer to the question posed was a definitive NO(!) from the panel. But there were many bright spots noted (e.g. artistic director Daniel Evans‘ commitment to 50/50 casting in his current Sheffield Crucible season) and positive-change suggestions made. One of the more provocative: Fiona Laird’s suggestion that the balance be redressed by only allowing only plays by female writers to be produced for the next 300 years!
Once again, the discussion continued vigorously in the pub afterwards. While there are no more post-show panels, there are still a handful of performances left of The Father. Don’t delay as performances have been selling out.
The Father runs at Trafalgar Studios 2 until 11 April 2015.
Event photography by Peter Jones.