Department of English Publications


Canada’s Feminist Past, Present, and Future

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Book Review

Publication Date

Summer 2012




Canadian Theatre Review

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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it takes to make feminist theatre now. When I was a graduate student in the 1990s and early 2000s, eagerly reading Elin Diamond’s essays and laughing at work by Split Britches, I imagined we had come a long way and would continue to forge ahead, achieving, if not full theatrical equality, then clear and measurable gains. Of course, gains have been made, but far fewer than any of us had hoped or dreamed. In Canada in 2006, statistics released as part of the “Equity in Canadian Theatre: The Women’s Initiative” project (jointly sponsored by Nightwood Theatre, the Playwright’s Guild of Canada’s Women’s Caucus, and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres) revealed that “little significant change” (Scott 22) had occurred since damning statistics on women’s participation in Canadian theatre were first made public in Rina Fraticelli’s 1982 report on the same topic, commissioned by Status of Women Canada. Meanwhile, in the United States in 2009, research conducted at Princeton University by Emily Glassberg Sands produced some surprising and disturbing findings: that female artistic directors are much more likely than their male counterparts to reject work by women; that plays featuring major female protagonists are less likely to be produced, especially in major for-profit centres like Broadway; and that, while women’s theatre advocates may scoff at the notion, data analysis reveals that artistic directors do, in fact, receive far more work from men than from women (Cohen).


Review of Nightwood Theatre: A Woman's Work is Always Done by Shelley Scott

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