gender

#Tesori2015

On Why Theaterkind is Still Rocking a Kinda Feminist Tony-Motto on Facebook

(disclaimer: I know Playbill.com named last week #WomenInTheatre-week, but I’ll take it as someone pointed out early last week, when she said “Shouldn’t every week be #WomenInTheatre-week?!”. And I’m like hell, yeah!)

I think even way before the nominations for the 2015 Tony Awards had been announced a thing started on various social media platforms – in my eyes mainly on twitter and it might have been the girls from The Interval NY who started it in the first place.

The “thing” was a hashtag, the hastag #Tesori2015 to be exact. To me it meant “we” – what ever that very flowy and ever changing ‘we’ on the internet is – were rooting for Jeanine Tesori, the composer of Fun Home, to win the 2015 Tony Award for best score (together with Lisa Krohn). And although I’m German and (sadly) living MILES and MILES and MILES away from the place of action – that is: New York City – I was so rooting with them.

In the weeks from the announcement of the nominations leading up to the actual Awards there was a lot of talk and bringing up of statistics happening. Important and kind of shocking pieces of information were put up on the internet – like the one that Jeanine Tesori is, with her nominations for both Shrek (2008) and Fun Home, the female composer (for theatre) with the most Tony nominations in Tony-history! Or that – in case of her win – she’d be the first female composer from a musical theatre background to win. The first EVER female composer to win a Tony for best score was Cyndi Lauper in 2013 for Kinky Boots.

YES RIGHT!

2013 – the first EVER female composer. Back then it were the 67th Tony Awards.

And now 2015 #Tesori2015 really happened. And along with it also the history making fact that Fun Home won “Best Musical” as the first musical ever to be written entirely by women, focussing on a female character, having SO MANY amazing female parts in it.

I mean – really?! It’s been effing 2015!

As you might or might not know I’m all in for gender equality and gender parity and general awareness about these things not happening most of the time. And this is also why – as pathetic as it sounds – I was about to do something very, very stupid and impulse-buy plane tickets to the big ol’ city of musical theatre and be there, see the shows that created such a buzz. Long story short I didn’t do it. But I have plans….

Anyway….the reason why I am writing this is to say something about why I still hold the “#Tesori2015”-flag high, most prominently on the profile pic on the Theaterkind facebook page, even though it’s SO June 2015 and we all know two months is a CRAZY long time on the fast and ever changing internet. I think this might be a sign, some kind of slogan to keep reminding us about women making theatre history this year and also reminding us that we still aren’t somewhat near gender parity when it comes to who gets to be heard in artistic contexts – both in the US and in Germany as well.

I mean – we’re living in bloody 2015 and women have come so far and there are people saying we should be happy with what we have achieved and can do, but: NO. If I can choose to be happy about being able to open a bank account and being unhappy about women not getting the artsitic opportunities they mght deserve I most definitely will choose the latter.

I really want to raise awareness among all of us and keep us thinking about why some people get heard and recognized while some really don’t and why that might be having to do something with their gender!

And that’s it for my short-ish rant about women and Tonys and making histroy and non equality, in case you want to read some more about these wonderful topics I poped some links below….

read more about what the girls on The Interval do over here.

especially their project-ish article in which they quoted a lot of young women, including me, in theatre about the history-making Tony Awards 2015 over here.

and then I have some articles I wrote here on this blog about the lack of gender parity in German theatre. Namely here and here.

P.S: I just recently scrolled through a new jury for a new competition for young musical theatre writers and out of the 13 members there’s only one (in numbers: 1!) woman. And while I don’t want to imply with any word I’m writing here and these men aren’t great men in and for German musical theatre – they are and I am inspired by so many of them! – I’m also just like: REALLY?!?!

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International Women’s Day

People who know me personally or are just familiar with me talking about what and how I (would) like to work usually know how much I am into everything ‘gender’ (this sounds so weird. SO WEIRD!). I’m getting a lot of my (academic) inspiration from what Judith Butler wrote, especially from Gender Trouble‘s second to last chapter. Basically 80% of my undergrad classes in my major dealt with gender and how we see bodies (on stages and I’m trying hard to keep in that way in grad school. While I am usually primarily thinking about how gender might be constructed in certain theatrical productions, in certain moments through music, action, dance, language….basically whatever you could think of.

A big part of my private personality is about being a feminist which (to me) means: I am all in for equality of all people. And if that means rooting for women for a while in order to get us (women, society) as far as we can get in equality – so be it. That certainly doesn’t mean I don’t like men or the work of men. In fact some of my very dear collaborators are male and I will continue to work together well with men. Why shouldn’t I?

But – and there is a big, big B-U-T!

If you have been following this blog you might remember my post about two major competitions held in (musical theatre) Germany these days I posted a while ago (if you don’t: check it our here!) and if you – aditionally or alternatively follow me on twitter you might have guess that I’ve recently jumped on the gender parity waggon, mostly because of the amazing (journalistic) work the ladies at The Interval do.

Actually this has – especially in musical theatre in Germany – bothered me for a while. While in most other genres of theatre women tend to become more and more likely to cover high(ish) positions – it isn’t the case with musicals.

What I wanted to leave here in order to celebrate international women’s day today is: The men in our community are doing good work.

But – and here it finally comes, the big B-U-T – let’s just raise awareness for now. May I ask you to – every time you go and see a show, will you read the names of creative teams and just take a moment? If there aren’t any women in it or if there are, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just think about gender parity in German musicals, okay?

And for those you are making the decisions: I would love to see women and girls encouraged to do work in our business.

I have a hard time starting out myself and I would LOVE to see and meet other young professionals working in/with musicals! But just for now I wish us all (women AND men) to have a fantastic women’s day which I will celebrate by going to Leipzig and see my college’s production of Songs For a New World.

 

Just in case you were just thinking I was making things up here or you need some kick to start thinking about gender parity in theatre, Frank Wesner took this impressive shot last Monday during the first preselection of works at the CREATORS contest I mentioned earlier and in the other post liked above. Pictured are the creators of the five new musicals featured in this preselection. Do I need to say more? 😉

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