Gender parity continues to be a significant issue across all social and economic sectors including the arts. Over the past several years multiple studies have been published examining the roles and participation of women in theatre across the United States. These studies—by organizations such as the Dramatist Guild, the League of Professional Women in Theatre, WomenArts, Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative, and Gender Parity Task Force Chicago—document that women are greatly underrepresented in theatres across the country as playwrights, directors, and managers.
Last year Denver’s Athena Project began collecting its own data on the status of women in theatre across the Rocky Mountain Region (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY). As a non-profit empowering and encouraging female voices in the arts, Athena Project believes it is important to look closely at what is happening with gender parity in its own Rocky Mountain Region in order to devise ways to better empower the female artists that it serves. The data collected for this survey adds to the research being done on small and vibrant theatre communities in medium and small-sized cities across the US.
Working with researchers at Klein Buendel, Athena Project sent a survey to 120 theatres across the Rocky Mountain Region. We received information from just over 20% of the theatres that were sent the survey.
The 2017 survey continued our gathering of information about the gender and racial composition of theatre leadership as well as the gender and racial composition of the directors and playwrights produced. Additionally, the 2017 survey attempted to collect data on the financial compensation of theatre company leadership and accounted for artists who identify outside the gender binary. It is important to note that with only two years’ worth of data this report simply states findings and does not strive to point to overall trends. We hope that within a few years, by continuing to collect data, and by continuing to have more and more participants we can begin to point to overall trends within our region.