BRIDGING THE GAP
Bridging the Gap is a new, one time only residency for IBPoC female and gender-diverse playwrights, which will support vital and underrepresented voices in Canadian Theatre.
This residency is designed to address the gender gap in Canadian playwriting.
The Bridging the Gap Residency is offered by Puente Theatre thanks to the generous support of the Victoria Foundation through their Gender Equality Fund.
The most recent study on gender equity in Canadian Theatre was by the Playwright’s Guild of Canada in 2015. It found that less than a quarter of the plays produced in Canada are by women, even though they constitute 50% of the Guild’s membership and 59% of actual audiences – which shows that there is a significant gap between women’s aspirations and their acceptance in the industry. Moreover, this gap gets worse at larger and more prominent theatres; plays by women tended to be produced by smaller companies or for young audiences, which means their incomes in the sector as a whole were found to be 31% lower than that of men. Government funders are doing a better job, but still not achieving full equity; 53.3% of applications to the Canada Council were by women, but only accounted for 46.3% of successful applications. The situation is especially dire for women who are Indigenous, Black, or of colour, who hold only 3.7% of leadership positions in Canadian theatre today.
That report identified mentorship as one of the most effective methods of righting this imbalance. By providing infrastructure, networking, experience, exposure, and most importantly income, Puente Theatre can make a significant difference in fomenting the careers of female playwrights, which will have long term effects on the composition of our community. Each playwright we encourage has an impact larger than themselves: IBPoC female and gender-diverse playwrights will believe they have voices worth hearing, and most importantly, diverse audiences will begin to see themselves on our stages.
The Pandemic has made it difficult for theatre artists to reach our audiences, but in some ways it has been an opportunity to focus on writing – so that when it’s finally over, we’ll be ready to fill our theatres with a great swarm of exciting new plays. It’s going to be a renaissance, and it’s vitally important that the true gender and cultural diversity of our country is represented at the table. Puente Theatre can help by supporting gender diverse IBPoC/newcomer playwrights who are working on new plays – that we can then produce in the coming years. With the support of the Gender Equity Fund, we can create two six-month residencies, providing particpating playwrights with top-tier support – offering crucial commission fees to help with living expenses, providing mentorship and significant networking opportunities, and culminating in an intensive week-long workshop process, featuring live read-throughs by professional actors and feedback from top-tier industry professionals.
The residency in brief
Each playwright will receive six months of bi-weekly dramaturgical support from an IBPoC dramaturg.
Each playwright will receive a $6,000 commissioning fee to write their play.
Each playwright will receive ongoing mentorship by our artistic director as well as networking opportunities with other playwrights, directors, actors, designers, and artistic directors.
Each playwright will be offered an intensive week-long workshop process with a director, a stage manager, and professional actors.
Each playwright will have a public presentation of their play at the end of their workshop in order to elicit feedback from audience members, as well as from top-tier industry professionals.