What We Learned
Tonic’s Advance programme brought together the Artistic Directors, Chief Executives, and senior creative staff of a cohort of eleven theatres.
These theatres recognised that something was preventing talented women in the theatre industry from rising to the top. They wanted to understand why this was the case, and then lead the way in addressing it.
From October 2013 to May 2014, Tonic worked with them to make this aspiration a reality. It designed and guided them through Advance, a six-month period of research, reflection and activity which tasked them to take an interrogative and methodical approach to understanding the root causes behind the comparative lack of women in key creative roles. Rather than settling for quick fixes or advocating a ‘sticking plaster’ approach, Advance tasked the theatres to understand not only where barriers to female talent exist within their organisations, but why.
As part of this process, Tonic conducted research with 641 people who work in the theatre industry. We interviewed, surveyed, and ran focus groups with actors, agents, casting directors, designers, devisors, directors, literary managers, playwrights, and academics, as well as students and tutors on performing arts courses. We also investigated the numbers behind who is making work in England, and on which stages. The findings were massive and far-reaching. There’s probably enough data for Tonic to construct a thesis on the subject, but given our time and budget doesn’t run that far we’ve summarised some of the findings here. Of course, if you’re interested in accessing our data, or talking through the specifics of what we learned about actors, directors, designers, or writers, you can always make a request via the contact page.
+ 10 key things we learned
These are the key themes that emerged across the research.
+ Interesting stats
Also, here’s a roundup of some interesting stats we found.
+ 5 key things theatres can do
We’ve included some suggestions here for what other theatres, learning from the 11 that took part in Advance, might like to do to move forward themselves.