Along with David Berthold (Artistic Director La Boite Theatre) and Jo Pratt (BEMAC) I was part of the provocateur triumvirate at last night’s La Boite Unlocked series. After the Q&A at the end of what was a very relaxed, thoughtful hour and a half, someone asked if our talks would be made available. Here, with a few tweaks, is what I had to say. I followed David’s talk which you can find on his blog Carving in Snow. There were, of course, a few ad-libs and diversions along the way which inevitably happens as one speaks. This is the gist of it, though.
The title of tonight’s session is telling – towards diversity. The towards part. I’m going to have to use a much overworked metaphor – the idea of a journey towards something – or maybe journeys because, if we’re talking about diversity, then there isn’t just one road. For women, the journey is part of a process that started about 2000 years ago, and it’s one that meanders off the beaten track from time to time, and starts and stops intermittently.
To put things into some kind of perspective, it was really only about 150 years ago that the first blips on western culture’s historical timeline marked the coming to legislation of various women’s rights issues. They’d been a long time coming – are still coming – and the journey to equality for women as part of the wider civil rights movement (as David mentioned) has been one of the great political challenges and civic engagements of the 20th century. As to fits and starts in a field closer to home – the theatre – a comment in the recent Australia Council Report on Women in Theatre (WIT) notes that about every 10 years or so someone asks ‘Where are the women?’ There is usually an explosion of outrage followed by a flurry of discussion and a gradual settling down into silence and inaction. Gains are lost in the one step forward, two steps back routine. Maybe creeping or stumbling towards diversity would be a better descriptor for the journeys we’re on. Continue reading Towards Diversity: La Boite Unlocked – 2