Ontario, May 31 - The Pledge Project, a new online database of large-cast plays by Canadian women, launched yesterday at Queens' University in Kingston, ON
at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Theatre Research (CATR). Rebecca Burton, Playwrights Guild of Canada, Dr. Barry Freeman, University of Toronto Scarborough, and Sarah Robbins, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, spoke about the Pledge Project to academics, students, and professors to introduce this new resource, which will help educators address the lack of gender equity found in post-secondary theatre training programs.
Pledge is an acronym for a “Production Listing to Enhance Diversity and Gender Equity,” and its goal is to improve the number of women playwrights produced on the mainstages of university and college theatres in Canada. This fully searchable and filtered database includes plays written by Canadian women that suggest a cast size of six or more performers. In addition to providing a database resource, the Pledge Project invites schools, departments, professors, and visiting directors to make public pledges to improve the representation of women playwrights and other marginalized communities at their institutions. Pledge began as an initiative of Equity in Theatre (EIT) and is now being lead by UTSC’s Equity and Diversity in the Arts Committee, and the Women's Caucus of Playwrights Guild of Canada.
UTSC’s Dr. Barry Freeman says, “Because educational programs typically produce plays with large cast sizes, the Pledge project provides information about plays written by Canadian women with a cast size of six or larger—currently a list of more than 325 plays. Programs or institutions wishing to make a commitment to produce plays by women can submit their “pledge” on the website and be celebrated for their work in advancing gender equity in our field.”
The Equity and Diversity in the Arts Committee is an integral part of the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Its mandate is to promote diversity of all kinds, including diversities of race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or identity, age, ability or disability, religion and aesthetic or traditions of practice. EDA aims to increase understanding across difference, to challenge social and institutional barriers to equity, & to empower students to champion diversity in their professional pursuits.
Playwrights Guild of Canada is a registered national arts service association mandated to advance the creative rights and interests of professional Canadian playwrights, promote Canadian plays nationally and internationally, and foster an active, evolving community of writers for the stage.