Idomeneus at the Gate Theatre

Idomeneus at the Gate Theatre. Photo: Bill Knight.

Founded in

1979

Artistic Director

Christopher Haydon

Since 2012

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Profile

“The Gate is our oxygen.
It should be on the NHS.”

Bill Nighy

The Gate has been inspiring audiences and artists alike for 35 years. We are a small theatre but we always Think Big.

We are a home for anarchic spirits, invigorating theatre, and restless creative ambition. We welcome anyone who wants to change the world. In our ever transformable, 70 seat space we confront and debate the biggest questions that face humanity and act as a loudspeaker for unheard voices from across the globe. We are known to springboard the most exceptional new talent into becoming the theatre leaders of tomorrow. No two visits to the Gate are ever the same.

+ www.gatetheatre.co.uk

Company type: building based

Company Type

Building based

With 1 auditorium (seating 75-90 depending on layout), occasionally tour as extra activity

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Public Funding

£311,570

Arts Council England subsidy for the 2013/14 financial year.

Location: London

Location

Notting Hill, London

Productions

5

Opened in 2013

Staff

Core staff

Our Question

“Men are more naturally drawn to lighting and sound design.” Is this true? And if not how can access to these roles be made more equal?

There is a massive imbalance between the number of men and women that work in these roles. We were interested in the underlying philosophical questions about whether this is because certain jobs are more attractive to one gender or another or whether it is simply evidence of bias in recruitment and training opportunities. We wanted to explore how more women could be encouraged in to these roles.

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

Investigation

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.

Watch the interview with Christopher Haydon, Artistic Director, Gate Theatre.

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