Nicholas Hytner predicts gender equality among theatre-makers

In Nicola Merrifield's article in The Stage 5 Dec 2012 Nicholas Hytner artistic director of The National Theatre predicts gender equality among playwrights and directors in 20 years time.

Quote from The Stage article - Nicholas Hytner “One of the things I can predict with confidence is that – looking at the young playwrights and directors in their 20s and 30s – that by the time they get to be in their 40s and 50s the theatre will be, in terms of sex at least, reflective of the audience that it plays to."

This is where I think his prediction fails. Firsty in terms of the audience, there are more female theatre goers than men, so it is wildly optimistic to think female playwrights and directors will outnumber men in 20 years time. Secondly, Nicholas may see 50:50 women to men playwrights and directors in their 20's and 30's but in their 30's this is when many career women pause to start a family. They do not (in my experience at least) return to work for the same number of hours or at the same level of seniority they left at - if they even return to the same employer or type of work. By the time women are in their 40s and 50s many have fallen behind their male colleagues if they started or are raising a family.

Quote from The Stage article: "Hytner’s comments came during the annual Directors Guild Peter Brook Lecture after he was questioned by an audience member about the trend of National Theatre artistic directors being white, male and largely educated at the University of Cambridge."

I don't think gender equality will be reached in 100 years, nevermind 20 years if more isn't done to help women retain the career they built up before they start a family, employers who can be flexible with their hours and not demote women, so that they can manage work with the demands of childrearing.

Full article from The Stage can be read here:

(c) Wendy Thomson 2013