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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

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Theater, Feminism, Dramaturg, New Plays, Female Playwrights


In the wake of Emily Glassberg Sands' well-publicized thesis, Opening the Curtain on Playwright Gender, theater artists across the country are up in arms about the disparity that has long existed between male and female playwrights. Glassberg Sands’ audit study showed that literary managers and artistic directors rate female-authored scripts lower in terms of quality, marketability, and audience response. In addition, recent studies show that only 20% of the plays produced in American regional theaters each year have female playwrights. As a positive step towards equality, I curated and produced a festival of new American plays by women entitled Voices in Contemporary Feminism(s). It was my goal to instigate change first by staging new American plays by women and then by engaging artists and audience members alike in conversation about feminism(s) and feminist themes, female playwrights, the current position of women in American theater, and how we can change the status quo. This thesis describes in detail the impetus behind creating the festival, the planning process, and the events of the festival itself, and then draws conclusions about the role dramaturgs can play in combating gender inequity.


First Advisor

Harley Erdman

Unspeakable Acts.pdf (185 kB)
Appendix G: Unspeakable Acts

A Live Dress.pdf (367 kB)
Appendix H: A Live Dress