First Forum: Monday 26 October 2015, 7PM

A Conversation between women, for women.

VENUE: York Theatre, Seymour Centre, NSW. 

Featuring Guest Speakers:


WITS coordinators from L Erica Lovell, Libby Munro, Clementine Mills, Lizzie Shebesta

Why are women still so underrepresented in stage and screen? Why are women underrepresented in creative roles? Why are we still reading disturbingly sexist casting briefs? Why are there so few women artistic directors?

As women in the arts, we have a responsibility to foster and fight for an industry that gives a voice to women, not only for the sake of our own careers, but for women as a whole who have a right to see their stories represented on stage and screen.

We invite you to an open discussion of our experiences as women in the entertainment industry, and a brainstorm of practical strategies to address these challenges and facilitate change.

Equity is not rocket science. Let’s make it happen.


Media coverage in the lead up to the event: 

Sydney Morning Herald


Email your responses to the following questions:

Q1. What gender related issues have you observed as a consumer and maker of theatre and screen content?

Q2. How have these experiences impacted on you emotionally, psychologically, professionally, and financially?

Q3. What does your ideal future for women in the theatre and screen industries look like?

Organisers: Erica Lovell, Clementine Mills, Libby Munro, Lizzy Schebesta, Maryann Wright.

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8 thoughts on “First Forum: Monday 26 October 2015, 7PM

  1. Sally McKenzie says:

    Some women creatives like myself live in other states. I would have loved to have attended this First Forum. Given technological capabilities, perhaps the Second Forum can be webcast. Please officially include my apologies re non-attendance. Sally McKenzie


    • Maryann Wright says:

      Thank you Sally, we plan to record the speakers at Monday’s Think Tank and will definitely look into a live webcast for upcoming Think Tanks. Your apologies have been formally received (we have a list!). Thanks for your support.


  2. Mary Rachel Brown says:

    Sorry I will not be able to attend the meeting, I am in Malta. This is an issue I care deeply about. I am troubled that a bias towards men continues in our industry. Congratulations to those who have raised it and are taking action. Women supporting women is a vital part of finding a sustainable solution to this problem.

    For the record, I do not believe in quotas, I think they are a synthetic solution that does not address the systemic and cultural causes. Quotas are a forced solution that takes away the responsibility of reflection, rigour and inquiry – the elements that lead sustainable change.

    I am unsure of the rational in making this a female only meeting? The heart of this issue is about inclusion, so we should include men in the conversation. Accountability, agency and change will occur when all parties come to the table.

    For the record, two female directors where approached to direct my last play ‘The Dapto Chaser’.

    My last two plays have had a cast of four males. I am often at the end of inverse sexism.

    Literary manager – I think the play needs a female character.
    My response – It already has one – me – the playwright.

    Audience member – Wow, I thought you would be an old fat guy with no hair
    My response – No, but don’t panic, there are lots of them about

    Artistic director – Why do you write for men?
    My response – You would never ask Neil Simon why he writes a lot of female characters!

    I look forward to hearing about this meeting. Power to you from Malta!


    • Maryann Wright says:

      Thanks for your support and for sharing your experience Mary.

      We will be opening our follow-up Think Tank to men and women. This initial event is to give all women a safe, judgement-free environment to express their personal experiences and opinions. We have many male colleagues who have already expressed interest in playing a strong part in this group over the coming months.

      Re. quotas, we’d like to see overall quotas in the amount of women represented as playwrights, directors and actors on stage within an overall theatre season or film studio year of production. That way women are actively bolstered and supported, and their voices are always being heard.


  3. Teresa Zaidan says:

    Hi I’m an actor/Director.
    I would love to be apart of your forum and may contribute my thoughts and ideas. I know what it feels like to be less equal than a man. I come from a Middle Eastern background, I was raised among six brothers. I am a mother of five grown children, two daughters, three sons.
    I would like to be part of your forums.


    • Maryann Wright says:

      Thanks for getting in touch Teresa, your voice is very important. If you go to our homepage ( and subscribe to our updates you’ll be emailed every time we have a new event. Looking forward to seeing you at the next WITS event!


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