What We Did
“As a man, there is a slight apprehensiveness about talking about these issues, a feeling perhaps that you are part of the problem, but for me this was also Advance’s greatest value. It’s really important that men are in these conversations as much as possible, otherwise it can feel equally excluding and difficult to contribute, to tune in and contribute to progress.”
Tonic really helped us answer some of these subsidiary questions and also pushed us to commit the ideas to an action plan which produced some helpful timelines and real frameworks for moving forward.
We also found that, simply by exploring our question in the context of other organisations’ questions, that opportunities to partner and co-produce with our colleagues started to emerge.
What Did We Learn?
That female-centred stories mean female characters driving narrative, and that narrative, and who’s driving it, is a powerful, political choice. That the kinds of stories you tell can change the gender balance of the teams telling them, let alone the audiences watching them. That, in effect, story can significantly influence the gender-balance of the workforce in our sector. And that, if we are focused in how we commission and develop, these kinds of stories can also make sense at box-office.
In practice, Advance has helped focus our recruitment processes for creative teams as it is imperative that we improve the gender imbalances in our own figures. We now work harder to identify and recruit outstanding female directors, designers and writers. We also have an action plan in place for the delivery of new work by female writers and/or about female protagonists and intend to implement this over the next three years.
What We’re Doing in Response to What We Learned
We want to get commissioning and continue to keep these ideas at the centre of our focus. To hand over this learning to new team members as part of our induction processes and programming criteria.
Is This Work a Step Towards a Bigger Goal?
Yes, to create confidence across our theatre in the value and importance of this work.