Adventures in Programming

25th Sep 2019

Programming is a tricky thing, especially when you only have a couple of shows a year. And representation can be a difficult balancing act when you have so few opportunities (although not as difficult as some might have you believe). With that said, we wanted to talk about our next piece of programming, which we will announce in the coming weeks and has an all-male cast. 

Being a touring company, we can’t announce seasons, so it is harder to include everyone in how we balance representation across the board. But such balance is critical to us and we remain committed to 50/50 casting across our projects both as a company and for each funding cycle, and we are on target to achieve this for 2018-22. 

We are a female-led company, and we are planning an all-female project in the coming years. We are excited about it. Everyone can do better at representation, but we are mindful of our choices. Since the first programming meeting, we have discussed the fact this is an all-male play and what this means for our entire slate of work going forward. We have taken into account how we balance the whole team working on the show, including female creatives, and how our decision affects future projects. 

We’re proud of our record of representation that goes back to the founding of the company. Having a look over the last eight years we have produced twelve full-length plays, eight of which were written by women. Seven of those were newly commissioned pieces of work, and five of those were written by women. Of our seven current un-produced commissions, three are by writers who identify as female and three are by writers of colour. Since 2011 we have employed eighty-four actors and forty-three of them were women. 

We point this out to set the context in which we believe it is possible to programme a play that has an all-male cast. We don’t want to work in an industry that wouldn’t be able to programme this play any more than an industry that fails to champion representation. This conversation is essential, and we don’t want to shut it down, but we also think this play is very important. Crucially, it addresses many of the issues surrounding intolerance and toxic masculinity that are prevalent in our modern world. 

We believe representation is key here. This play, written in 2003, deals with issues around class, masculinity and homosexuality in 1960s England – a time when it was still a crime. The intersectionality of the piece matters to us, and while women do not appear in this particular play, we still believe it is a piece of theatre for everyone. Representation is so much more than one group, and this cast will include actors from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds and, in the context of our body of work, we believe it to be a project with much to offer.

Having said all this, sometimes people get things wrong, maybe we got this wrong. We hope not, we don’t think so, but we are open to criticism. Come and see the show, chat to us, engage us in debate and then decide.

Kate & Martin

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