What We Did
“We were struck by the apparent difference in confidence that was demonstrated by male and female students. Anecdotally, men tended to be happier to assert that they could do something new even if this was not the case.”
CHRISTOPHER HAYDON, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND CLARE SLATER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Tonic did a lot of primary research – interviewing student designers, their teachers and experienced professionals of both genders. We met with various experts in the field and had discursive conversations about both the nature of the work itself and the working conditions that may play a part in gender selection for these roles.
What We Learned
A key issue that came up repeatedly was the challenge of doing a job that required the usual long hours associated with technical rehearsals – particularly when one has young children. We were also struck by the apparent difference in confidence that was demonstrated by male and female students. Anecdotally, men tended to be happier to assert that they could do something new even if this was not the case. Women as a result tended to learn more because they were less quick to assume they knew the answers. But this reticence can be read as a lack of confidence and can harm employment prospects.
What We’re Doing in Response to What We Learned
We want to develop a scheme to focus on giving greater opportunities to young female lighting and sound designers to get more experience in this field.
Is This Work a Step Towards a Bigger Goal?
We have an overarching aim at the Gate to increase access to the arts and to act as a ‘teaching theatre’ so this sits closely with some of our core goals.