Statistics Revealed: Gender Parity in Mainstage Sydney Theatre Company’s 2017 Seasons

A year after Women in Theatre and Screen (WITS) formed in response to Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s (DTC) record low percentages of female directors and playwrights in its 2016 programming, the theatre company has made a complete reversal with a female-led 2017 season.

This revelation comes following WITS’ publication of its independent analysis of mainstage Sydney Theatre Companies’ recently announced 2017 Seasons (see below).

In 2017, DTC (59% women), Belvoir (50%) and Griffin (50%) achieved gender parity in their programming of writers and directors. Sydney Theatre Company (34%) and Ensemble Theatre (16%) have male-dominant seasons, again. It should be noted that Griffin did not achieve gender parity in its independent season programming (40%).

DTC has seen a 42 per cent increase in the employment of female writers and directors, while Ensemble Theatre remains the lowest, with a further 14 per cent drop since last season.

“WITS is thrilled to see DTC make such a complete reversal in approach to gender parity. The company who sparked the fire for the most recent wave of women’s equality rallying in the industry because of their almost entirely absent female voices in 2016 has taken concerted and successful action to give voice to Australia’s talented female creatives,” WITS co-founder Maryann Wright said.

“Not only has DTC’s changed attitude manifested in their 2017 programming, but DTC also offered invaluable in-kind support to give a platform to Sydney’s best Independent female theatre-makers by housing WITS’ inaugural women’s theatre festival, Festival Fatale, in October this year. DTC has set an impressive example for the rest of the industry, and showed that with initiative, parity can happen almost instantly.”

WITS continues its mission to empower female creatives and encourage theatre companies and producers to introduce effective gender parity targets. WITS believes in equality for diversity of women, and in affirmative action in pursuit of gender parity.

To see affirmative action in action, join WITS for the inaugural Festival Fatale 29 and 30 October at the Eternity Playhouse consisting of two days of female-led theatre projects. Full festival line-up at


Statistics compiled by WITS’ Michela Carattini and Maryann Wright



ANNOUNCING… WITS Game Changer Launch for Festival Fatale & the WITS on showcase.

WITS on – A New Showcase for Women Playwrights


On the eve of International Women’s Day, in conjunction with WITS (Women in Theatre & Screen), will unveil a new showcase of work by Australian women playwrights.

WITS on will highlight a collection of over five hundred playscripts amassed over nearly forty years. The online Showcase will feature the capacity to search for scripts written by women or containing significant and complex female roles.

Director of Gail Cork said:

“ is delighted to be collaborating with WITS to highlight the extraordinary body of work by Australian women playwrights.

“ is the definitive online repository of Australian playscripts, featuring over 2,000 works. WITS on makes that vast collection accessible in a brand new way that advances gender equity, an issue that the theatre sector has struggled for years to address.

‘When this collaboration between and WITS was first suggested we immediately recognised it as an idea whose time had come.”

WITS spokesperson Matilda Ridgway said:

“The WITS on database is a tool for vigilance. For promoting female playwrights, promoting stories that have a significant and complex female experience at their heart, and promoting plays that have great roles for female actors.

“We hope it leads to a richer and more diverse theatre ecology and to true parity for Australian women writers for performance.”

See the database here:

Festival Fatale – Making HERstory


On the eve of International Women’s Day, Women in Theatre and Screen (WITS) proudly announce WITS will produce a two-day women’s theatre festival, Festival Fatale, in October at the Eternity Playhouse, supported by Darlinghurst Theatre Company and Creative Partnerships Australia through the Match Program.

The festival will include main-stage performances, cabarets, play readings and workshops by female-driven independent theatre companies. All programmed writing will be by women and all leading protagonists on stage will be women.

Festival Fatale comes as a response to the gender gap in Australian theatre company’s 2016 Seasons, where roughly 30 per cent of women make up the writer and director creative teams. The festival attempts to bridge that gap by showcasing groundbreaking, relevant and significant work by women.

“WITS want to demonstrate that by not providing women with equal opportunity, Sydney audiences have been missing out on experiencing women tackle the human condition in the theatre in a complex, challenging and significant way,” festival director and co-founder of WITS Lizzie Schebesta said. “We hope that ‘Festival Fatale’ will excite and encourage other theatre companies to follow our lead in programing significant female content for their audiences.”

In order to raise required funds for the festival, WITS has launched a Pozible campaign, asking the Australian theatre community to put their money where the women are and pledge today:

WITS is a Sydney-based arts collective fighting to ensure that women are represented equally and with integrity across all creative fields in the theatre and screen industries in Australia. Founded in October 2015, WITS works to steer energy and resources towards positive advocacy and support for women in the industry, as seen in their Think Tank events previously hosted at the Seymour Centre, Belvoir and Carriageworks.

Submissions for Festival Fatale open in May. More information at Connect with WITS on Facebook:



Monday, March 7th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Equity Courtyard MEAA, 245 Chalmers Street, Redfern NSW


CONTACTS Gail Cork 0412 106774

WITS rep: Matilda Ridgway: 0433 753583

Media and Publicity: Maryann Wright: 0414 621 917

Think Tank 3 – Podcast and Pictures

Thank you to our sold out audience at Carriageworks on 22 February for WITS Think Tank 3. We heard from leading women in the film and television industry:


Listen to the full podcast on the night here:

Pictures from the night (credit: Julia Dray):


Third Forum: 22 February 2016, 7pm

Join Women in Theatre and Screen (WITS) for Think Tank 3 as we discuss the ‘types’ of roles written for and available to women in television and film.

We track the creative process from writer to producer to casting director to agent to actor to distributor.

How can we create roles more reflective of women in society? How can we shape diverse, complex voices? How can we ensure women are represented earnestly in every step of the creative process?

Meet us on Monday 22 February 2016, 7-9pm at Carriageworks, Sydney.



panelists and wits

Carriageworks’ director Lisa Havilah will welcome the audience.

A keynote address will be given by Associate Professor Elizabeth McMahon to frame the evening’s discussions.

Three key announcements will also be made by WITS on the night.

Join us for drinks afterwards to network with your industry colleagues until 10pm. After our inaugural Think Tank at the Seymour Centre, followed by our sold out Think Tank at Belvoir, we now have our biggest space yet with our gracious hosts, Carriageworks.

With a bigger setting we’re charging a small monetary amount this time ($10 per ticket) to meet costs. Book your tickets here: or here:

Buy Tickets NowWITS Think Tank 3

Be part of the conversation. Actively shape your industry to reflect the reality you know it can be.

Please note this will be our final WITS Think Tank of the year. It is our final opportunity to have extensive, public debate and network before we knuckle down and start upskilling and producing work.



Second Forum: Monday 23 November 2015, 7:30pm

VENUE: Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney.

WITS welcomes you to the second forum: Making Gender Parity a Reality

Join a panel of industry professionals to discuss HOW we can achieve gender parity and diversity on our screens and stages, and why it makes good artistic, cultural, ethical, and business sense to do it.

Featuring Panellists:

Pete Evans (Co-Artistic Director, Bell Shakespeare)
Pearl Tan (filmmaker Pearly Productions, co-chair of Equity Diversity Committee)
Wesley Enoch (Artistic Director, Queensland Theatre Company)
Ana Tiwary (filmmaker at Indivisual Films, co-organiser of WIFT)
Dino Dimitriadis (Artistic Director, Apocalypse Theatre Company)
Penny Harpham (Artistic Director, She Said Theatre)
Lisa Havilah (Artistic Director, Carriageworks)
Courtney Gibson (Chief Executive, Screen NSW)



Gender parity is good for everyone. Join the conversation.

All welcome: women, genderqueer, men. You have a place here.


BOOK here:

RSVP here:

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

For more information, contact:

Like us on Facebook.

Tweet to us on Twitter.