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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sex

Yeah... thought that would draw you in.  Or rather, sexual carbon trading for parity in the theatre.  Sorry, bit duller isn't it?  Trust me, it isn't.  It's fascinating.  Read on.
I started writing this post a year ago when there was a running debate going on about the under representation of women in the theatre and the idea that there should be an imposed 50 % gender split in theatre - specifically on casting.  The issue doesn't seem to have gone away, so here goes.  (I will refer throughout this blog to the sex of people mostly using the word gender.  I appreciate that gender is a subtler word and so has a far greater range for misunderstanding, but I can't encourage the internet porn trolls too much with constant repetitions of the word sex.  I get enough people hitting this blog for the wrong reasons as it is.  Some of the searches that have led here are truly disgusting.  Which amuses me enormously.  We're such a sick species.)
It's an interesting problem, gender balance, one that I don't think modern playwrights do enough to adjust.  I'm taking as my inspiration for this post the book Freakonomics, which applies the tools of economists to social problems.  Largely the authors (being economists) discuss incentives, the incentives people have to act in certain ways.  The use of incentives and the application of raw data helps keep the discussion dispassionate, which when debating sexual politics is a sensible place to be.
So, why are more parts offered to male performers rather than female performers in British theatre?
Now, unfortunately I haven't got as much raw data at my finger tips to work with, I cannot even state as a fact that the above statement is statistically true, but from my experience of theatre going and theatre making I believe it to be true, which is as good a reason to pontificate as any other.  I'm sure someone, somewhere, has gone through all the cast lists in the last decade or so and can give me a percentage - if you have, do let me know.
So, taking this statement as true, why is this happening?  Surely in the twenty-first century we should have reached some approximation of parity?  Is it because the theatre industry is institutionally sexist, assuming that such a term as institution can be used for such a disparate group of people, or are there other factors which come into play to disproportionally shift the ratio?  There is one immediately straightforward reason for the lack of parity, the trend for revivals in theatre.  For the history of theatre is essentially sexist.
Let's start with a bit of history - English theatrical history specifically.  Most plays have a male bias.  We can forgive pre-civil war playwrights for this, as women were not allowed to perform and the stock of good boy players must have been limiting.  There was no incentive for Shakespeare or his contemporary to write more than a handful of female parts per play and only a limited incentive to write more than a couple challenging female parts per play.  His incentive to write a character like Lady Macbeth was that the company had a young boy who could handle so powerful a role.  Presumably the company had one other strong 'female' performer and a couple more okay ones.  These are the roles that modern rivals inherit from pre-female theatre, good parts but in short supply.  (It has just occurred to me that is an exception to this rule: the boy companies, who were entirely composed of boys for whom the issue of gender divide would be irrelevant.  The plays these companies performed were noted to be more risky, but I don't know whether they were any more representative.  Worth a look.)
But from the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 women were allowed to perform and there is no inherent excuse for a lack of parity.  In fact, quiet the reverse.  At the Restoration there was a high incentive for playwrights and producers to write or adapt plays for a cast split 50 / 50 male / female.  In fact, there is a lot of evidence to suggest the Restoration was the only point in English history where plays on average balance out as having a 50 / 50 male / female split.  Well, for the Restoration proper, anyway, say from 1660 onwards for about a decade or two.
I was researching a series of talks on the theatre a few years ago and I went through my personal collection of plays noting down the gender splits through history.  I have a reasonably representative collection of about 3000 plays, covering each age with some consistency.  I was surprised to see that most plays from 1660 to 1670 had a ratio of about 50 / 50.  This state of affairs doesn't last for long and onwards from that date the ratios fell from 50 / 50 down to about 70 % male / 30 % female.  It was a very neat curve, bar the odd fluctuation.
(I think it is important to point out that this isn't a conclusive or authoritative survey - results from this survey can be distorted by the quality of the part on offer.  For example: should a lead and a supporting role, i.e. a maid in the background, be classed in the same way?)
The reasons for this, I suggest, are these.  At the restoration of the theatre the two men charged with setting up the patent theatres had to find actors quickly.  The old male actors from before the civil war were mostly old or dead, so casting about they picked the best they could find and the pool of choice was wider with both sexes in play.  (It might also be due to the professed delight the audiences had for a pretty ankle, so lets not assume the incentives were necessarily enlightened, it was the seventeenth century after all.)  But whatever the reason the balance was often an even split and sometimes weighed in the favour of the female players.
The producers were incentivised to find the best performers from as a largest pool as possible and used the novelty of female performers to the full before that novelty faded.  If plays from before the civil war did not fit this company structure the producers were clearly incentivised to change the play, not the company.  This might have been good for the performers, but it did also contribute to the decline of stage writing and the general demolition of the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
The shift away from parity came pretty quickly - partly, one assumes, because the men were able to work themselves into positions of power more easily, partly because as the age grew more genteel, less rude and raucous, the reputation of actresses as immoral whores (as opposed to the men as just rakes) worked against them holding greater sway.  In other words, once the incentive to find a company of performers quickly and from a limited pool had gone, producers could impose their own whims upon the company.  The novelty factor of actresses had gone and, more importantly, the perceived immorality of actresses - something that was a box office draw forty years earlier - was now damaging to sales.  One by one actresses who married or moved on were not replaced and men took their place - possibly using older plays with their 70 / 30 split as an excuse.
I think here we see an important process in play.  There is a trend - a tendency for men to muscle in and take positions of power in companies.  There is a constant pull against women exerted in a company, not least the pressures to retire once married or after becoming mothers.  I'm not going to go into detail into the reasons for this - they are many, mostly misogynist - but I think it can be taken for granted.  Parity was doomed.  For parity to be achieved there needed to be a counter-incentive for the company, as large as this trend and throughout the rest of English theatrical history there hadn't developed a good enough incentive, either within the theatre or in wider society.

For the next few hundred years parity remains non-existent - and the longer the unbalance went on for the harder it became to break the cycle.  Every year a new batch of plays are written for a company, for the company structure, the cast ratio being 70 / 30 - but how can you write a play for the company with a different ratio without putting a number of the company on ice?  It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.  The company performs plays with a ratio of 70 / 30, so the company must be 70 / 30, so all new plays have to be 70 / 30.  And on it goes.
We're still discussing quantity rather than quality.  Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the decent parts in many plays sometimes numbered four, three, two, sometimes only one.  The leaders of the company, the actor managers, made sure they got the best parts.  Like movie stars today the box office draw got the big bucks and the best lines.  (There's a lot of overlap between theatre and film - for example: nineteenth century melodrama didn't get killed off by naturalistic theatre, it just moved onto the silver screen where it exists to this day.)  If the actor-manager was a woman, or was a couple, then there was always a guarantee of at least one or two good quality parts.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the demolition of the old actor-manager play production tradition.  Increasingly the writer/director held sway over what the stage saw performed.  Increasingly, rather than rewriting the play to fit the cast, the cast was chosen carefully to fit the play.  At last a chance to break the old structure seems to appear.  Except it didn't, quite.
From the twentieth century onwards the casting of plays becomes increasingly fragmented, so plays written for a cast of women could exist.  However, there wasn't a clear incentive to create a demand for this to happen.  Again the fixed company principle does another back flip.  In 1660 a company of equal diversion creates a demand for plays with parity, from the 1700's onwards the fixed company becomes a trap and in the twentieth century the lack of a fixed company removes any kind of incentive to reach parity.  And we need incentives because the trend against it is still routed in the same problem as in early centuries - revivals are unbalanced and revivals are the safe draws that theatres always fall back on when times are hard.
It is depressing, if unsurprising, that in the twenty-first century some level of balance hasn't occurred.  Of course, producers of revivals will always want to cast according to the sex in the play, and most old plays are stacked against women.  There will always be a dis-incentive, an artistic one, to not destabilise the perfectly good play because of gender politics and it isn't an unreasonable wish.  There are producers who will cast gender blind productions, or play with a complete company of female actors.  These are all, to follow the 1066 and All That approach to history, good things.  There are other producers who will go the other way and cast only men.  This is increasingly considered a bad thing.  But this is a non-debate and a red herring.  It isn't an issue about how one company casts it's play - the issue of casting practises will rage forever as it is basically one of personal taste which you cannot legislate against - it's about how that casting balances within the whole theatrical micro-climate of Britain. 
However you cast old plays, new plays should always make an attempt to keep the rest of the numbers balanced.  This isn't always possible - for reasons I will outline - but the attempt should be made.  But for that to happen you need incentives.
But enough of all this general stuff, let's talk about me.  Or rather, let's talk about this issue through my work.  My own plays have always had a reasonable balance between male and female, half and half or stacked in the favour of women.  Oddly, even the reasonable exceptions of my one-man shows tend to end up with a lot of additional women in them.  The reasons for this are simple - THERE ARE MORE ACTRESSES THAN ACTORS!  I've always thought that this was such an absurdly simple concept and I'm amazed people haven't caught up yet.  If you advertise for an actress then you tend to get a queue round the building clammering for action, but for an actor the best you get is a doctors waiting room on a wet Thursday, half empty and slightly sickly.  You immediately get more choice with women and therefore tend to get the best choice of actors, rather than make do and mend.
Type, what type!
This is why my storytelling shows tend to be mostly populated with women.  At a get together for the cast of The Natural History of Trolls I was accused (in the nicest possible way) of having a type - in that I had cast a lot of beautiful twenty-some-thing dark haired women.  My reply was simple - they're who turned up and were good.  We didn't get many men audition and not all of them made it.  (In fact, I think we only cast one man out of about twelve who auditioned - we cast the rest of the men from people we already knew.)  What upset me more about the accusation was that we didn't get a good age split - the twenty-some-thing element was more annoying to me than the gender imbalance - or that they were cast for being brunette.  Which is absurd.  I prefer red heads.
But storytelling is a neutral format, a third person narrator can look or sound like anything, so what about plays where it is reasonable to expect the casting to match the script?  (Is that assumption even reasonable?  The Restoration producers saw no problem at all in changing the text to fit the cast?  Do we overplay the importance of text over production?  Speaking as a writer - yes - but I'm biased.)
When writing a play I immediately hit the problem of quality parts rather than the quantity of them.  One of the challenges a writer faces when writing a play is finding characters that move the plot along (supposing that the work is primarily narrative driven, rather than dream driven, which is a whole different blog for a future date).  In a play set in the present it is a relatively straightforward task to place women in positions where they move the action forward, though I would argue only relatively as I don't think the modern world is actually anyway as open to women as we'd like to think.  Setting aside the present day and it's relative freedoms, a play set in the past is a nightmare.  The characters who move the plot along tend to be, by the nature of history, male.  (History is actually entomological nonsense and if I was the word I would sue, but it is otherwise a wise an clever judgement on the practical reality of male driven historical narratives.)  Whilst there are women in the story of history, it isn't always possible to make them primary movers in the action without choosing an unusual point in history or changing it.  You end up writing the part that all actresses dread receiving - The Wife - who is interesting but often passive.  (Obviously this is a massive generalisation, but it is one we see every day in television drama, even when set in the present!)  One of the thrusts of feminist theatre has been choosing specific groups or individuals in history who have challenged the norm - which is fine if you are writing a specifically political work.  But I am not advocating the production of political theatre, simply that the playwright should be aware of the effect his or her work has on the world around them - i.e. that their work creates jobs and adjusts the balance of work in the marketplace.  Supposing your work gets staged, of course.
It is unfair to ask the playwright to follow a certain political view when writing a play.  You have to follow where the story leads you and sometimes it doesn't lead you towards parity, even if you have a good incentive for it to do so.  I had this problem with my, as yet, unstaged two part epic play Amleth.  As it's based on existing myths and legends the cast list was, up to a point, set before I sat down to write.  I could add additional female characters, but I couldn't always make them do anything structurally useful - and so whilst it was possible to up the female cast size a bit, I struggled to improve the quality of part.  There are four good parts for women as opposed to eight for the men.  (Actually, it's far more complicated that that, the play is in two parts, so I'm doubling characters over two plays and there is a lot of overlap and room for a change of ratio dependent on the director.)  More importantly, any minor character added for the sake of it will be the first to go if the producer can't afford a cast of thousands - which most can't.  So, whilst I did add the odd extra female character, they almost all double with others, which creates precisely no extra job opportunities and doesn't help the starving actress very much. 
The general point is that there are paths of least resistance which playwrights (male and female, I do love the gender non-specificness of the word playwright) will tend to follow because that's the easiest way to tell the story.  And because telling the story is our primary concern, unless there is a good incentive to do otherwise most of the time writers won't go out of their way to change a perfectly good story to reach parity - to damage a work of art for the sake of a political ideal.  Amleth is partly unbalanced because I wasn't determined enough from the start to deal with it.  I might be able to gender reassign one character, but to make it any more equal now would mean gutting a play that I'm very pleased with, something I really couldn't face doing.  I really couldn't.
Individual playwrights will always baulk at changing their work to suit an ideal.  There is nothing worse than being preached upon when creating.  I remember an incident at a discussion forum thing where one playwright insisted that all playwrights should write about such and such a cause, that other playwrights were cowards for not writing about it.  Of course, this is nonsense.  The only duty a playwright has is to the work they feel they want to create, it is not for anyone to dictate which battles we fight for.  I tend to write morality plays, though ones which don't set conventional boundaries of morality, and I have a great love and interest in civil liberties, gender politics and attacking organised religion (which is just the most fun because it is soooo easy).  I don't think that everyone should write about civil liberties, it isn't something that floats everyone's boat.  We must fight our own battles, not the battles we feel we should fight. 
But - and this is a big but, wide as a TV screen - an awareness of the implications of our work is very important.  The content of our work is not divorced from the production of it.  Decisions we make about the cast have an impact, a direct impact, on the world around us.  Our casting decisions makes the labour market what it is.  By writing a play about fluffy bunnies which is only aimed at pleasing children, whilst insipid, can actually be a more positive political act if the cast is gender balanced than a political play cast entirely by men.  We have some power, as the authors of our works, to strive to make the world a more balanced one.  But our power is limited.  We are but individuals fighting in a complex struggle.
Taking the moral issue away from the individual the problem isn't writers, the problem isn't society, the problem is (ironically perhaps) that we don't really have theatre companies any more and that theatre producers are not setting boundaries from the top down.  The old school idea of a theatre company, a company of actors who work together over a period of time to put on plays, is unviable unless you're heavily subsidised like the R.S.C.  These days most 'theatre companies' (even, to some degree, the R.S.C.) are not companies, they are theatre producers.  The director and support staff are all permanent members of the organisation and then they hire in actors as and when they need them.  Therefore the writing they commission can take any shape the author wants, unless there is an incentive otherwise.
But if you had a theatre company, split equally, and showed this group of actors to a writer and said: "Write a play for this lot.  They all need a part.  Make them good ones", then you would get a gender and age split to match that cast.  The story would naturally follow the shape of the company.  There would be a clear incentive to write parity.  It wouldn't guarantee quality of parts, but what can you do?  This is how Shakespeare wrote his plays and most people think that went rather well.  Of course, this is just pie-in-the-sky thinking, because even the R.S.C. doesn't hold onto their casts long enough for a play to be written in time for the company to still be there when it's finished. 
More realistically, theatre producers who commission work should set limits for the balance of the work produced.  This shouldn't be dogmatic.  There should be room for manoeuvre - a male heavy play can be offset by a female heavy play.  I wouldn't want to have said to David Storey when he was writing The Changing Room, "could you pop a few more women in" as it would have completely destroyed the play.  However, I would have said: "Okay, we'll do it, but in rep. with The House of Bernada Alba."  (Incidentally, am I the only person who longs for a back catalogue musical version of Bernada Alba.  I'd call it The House of Bananarama.  No?  I'll get my coat.)  Parity over time should be (and in some cases is) the goal of all arts organisations and the play or plays in production can move in any way they choose to reach it, so long as at the end of the year a reasonable balance is found.  This could be enforced more strongly by companies and from funders, though not dogmatically.
Whilst a move for parity should be made via pressure from above, from institutions and from the funders of those institutions, I personally cannot affect that change.  I can only encourage playwrights to do this from within - to develop the moral imperative which I have been wrestling with when writing my latest play Complicated Pleasures.  I failed to make Amleth balance, but I could with Complicated Pleasures.  And Complicated Pleasures is set in the near future and is partly about sex and relationships, so making it balance shouldn't be too hard - the plot, such as it exists, is driven by people, not history or action, and there are a lot of babies, for which women are pretty essential.  And, unlike Amleth, which didn't receive this ideological battering at such an early stage, Complicated Pleasures is still at the stage where I can do all sorts of horrible things to my characters.  I can change who they are with a flick of the pen or a click on Find/Replace.  I can swap genders round, remove their motivations from a scene and give them new ones, I can even make them enormously fat, just for the hell of it.  Dance for me fat people, DANCE!
The moment you change around the sex of a character you find the perceptions of their actions change enormously.  (In fact, one of the most interesting gender shifts you can make to a play is achieved with the alteration of a single letter.  If I added a to the end of my name, making it Roberta, I'm sure the whole play would be perceived in a completely different light.  An experiment I would, one day, love to put to the test.)  In the early stages of writing gender reversal is fascinating, liberating, because it means you can change how a character is reacted to, without necessarily changing a thing about the character themselves.  And when developing the essentials of a character gender isn't always important, though it does depend on the piece, and it does show you the assumptions people make about gender very clearly.
Characters should be, first and foremost, people.  X is a person.  To say X is A WOMAN or A MAN, immediately places expectations upon them which I find fascinating.  People are weird.  In real life people react strangely, they do and say weird things and they don't know why.  Often it has nothing to do with what gender they are or what they are perceived to be.  There is a trap there.  People do not and should not react according to the theories of psychologists because that is running the cart before the horse.  We go to analysts to decipher why the hell we did something, not to ask directions for our next fuck up.  Actors and directors can be the psychiatrists to the actions of my characters if they so wish, but leave me out.  So the action of a character doesn't need to be defined by gender - it may become so, simply by assigning the name, or because there is an issue in the play that can be expanded upon through gender.  That isn't to say my characters are genderless (not by the time I've finished) or act via a process of random chance, though chance is an important part of how I layer my material.  They should act with some strange logic of the individual.  It's divining that logic, the intuitive leap when you finally get the character and go - yes, that's so them! - that drives this playwright forward, because it's then that the character says something unexpected, does something great and you, the author, who should be God in your own Brave New World, have NO IDEA WHY THEY DID IT!  Trust me, that feeling is better than sex.  Well, better than mediocre sex.  Not mind blowing sex, let's not lose our heads here.

Back to writing Complicated Pleasures.  When I started attacking it this week for, hopefully, the last time, I found that it was a little bit heavy on the male side.  It's not a huge cast and it was only a little unbalanced, so I left my brain to have a mull over the issue.  It was still a very drafty draft, whole gales were rushing through the holes I'd left in scenes, and a lot of things can happen in a week.  So, in the back of my mind was the thought, get it to balance.  Well, I failed to make it balanced, as there are now more female parts than male, after I cut down three male characters and remade them into one.*  I cannot promise these are balanced in terms of quality, some are bigger than others, but I'm part of the way to paying for the excess of Amleth.  (Though as Amleth hasn't been staged, this is a bit irrelevant.  Maybe I should never stage it, to save the world from another unbalanced play.  Nah.)
But, while we're here, why stop at sex.  There is more.  I mentioned earlier about age variation in casting Trolls - so I felt it was important to have a good age range in Complicated Pleasures.  So there is a child (though it is to be played by a puppet, so he doesn't count) through a selection of twenty-somethings, up to the mid-fifties and possibly (depending on the director) beyond.  So, a good mix there.
But what about race?  Well, all of my plays are designed for colour blind casting (even Amleth should be thought of as a Shakespearean epic and cast regardless to actual British/Danish history) in that no one really mentions ethnic origin.  The characters are (broad brush) culturally British, which means the actor can possess any recumbent DNA available from the world, so long as they understand references to Bagpuss.  I don't explicitly address race and culture as an issue, so there are no issues in my plays that might bump against completely open casting.  I may some day write about race and culture, but at the moment it hasn't fired my imagination.  For the moment I will be satisfied with keeping the work open at all possible performers.  This isn't just morally right, but also selfishly advantageous, because my primary incentive as a writer is to ensure the widest possible scope for casting and talent in the staging of my work so that it is staged in as effective a form as possible, which means attempting to not exclude any talent from the process.
Do any of these decisions make the play better or worse?  No.  It just helps to make it fairer for people in the market place.
As a writer I know that the final shape of any play I write will be radically different from the first seeds.  If you write for a specific performance space then the shape of the play will be effected.  No point writing a farce for a space without room for at least seven doors.  It is the same, to some degree, with creating your imaginary cast.  Once you know who they are, the play will fill the form naturally.  It should be a challenge to the author of the nascent play to hunt for characters that fill out all walks of life, sex, age and origin.  If, when you start the seeds of a play, you think about parity, it will fire the imagination and lead you to create something that everyone can be involved in.  And if you fail in one play you can always go further the other way for the next.  I failed with Amleth to reach parity, but Complicated Pleasures is slightly weighted in the favour of the actress - it's the gender equivalent of carbon trading and I commend it to the house.

COMING SOON TO THIS BLOG:  Obscenity and the Fuck Event Horizon.

*Since publishing this blog I did a read through of the play and discovered that I'd missed a character off the cast list, so in fact the ratio of parts in Complicated Pleasures is 6 to 4 in favour of women.

****

A friend of mine, the delightful and talented Cheska Moon (who has so nearly been in my shows, but for the intersession of life) is part of this new enterprise below.  I haven't had a chance to see it yet, living so far away, but the reviews are very good and Ms Moon doesn't touch shit.  Give it a try, for me.




Paradigm Theatre Company presents

The Inappropriateness of Love

By Sarah E. Pitard

Directed by Cat Robey

Unrestricted View
Hen and Chickens Theatre
109 St. Pauls Road
N1 2NA
London

4th-29th September 2012

“Look... I, um... I had a good time with you...In fact, I had such a good time...that I'm inviting you to be my plus one to the wedding. What do you say?  Come with me?”

The Show

The Inappropriateness of Love is a dark comedy about six interconnected people, trying to figure out who they are and where their place is in the game of love.

Scooter, a 30-year-old computer programmer, has recently received an invitation to a friend’s wedding.  He really needs to find a date! Like a good son he occasionally calls on his mum for help, who is busy taking care of her husband with Alzheimer's. There is also Zoey, Scooter's best friend, an archaeologist on her way to Turkey to find some peace and quiet. Next there is Jessica, a therapist who is attempting to put her life together after a messy divorce with Darren. Darren is an older man, who doesn't know who he is, or what or whom he wants. He is dating Stephanie, Scooter's colleague, a naïve young woman looking for the perfect man.

The Inappropriateness of Love is Paradigm’s first full-length production, written by Paradigm's Artistic Director, Sarah Pitard:

“...Pitard's own piece of new writing, '3 X's The Charm'... was a brilliant start to the evening and gave a great first taste of what Paradigm Theatre had to offer.” (*****Remote Goat, ‘3 X's the Charm’, 2012)

2013 Off West End Award Nominated Director Cat Robey is a founding member of Paradigm, who previously co-founded LittleBerry Productions in 2011, a company committed to providing a platform for emerging talent and working with new writing. For Paradigm, Cat most recently directed 3 X's the Charm and a scene from A Woman of No Importance...or Somewhat Little Importance Anyhow for Paradigm’s Evening of Words and Wine Benefit Show. Freelance, Cat most recently directed Award Nominated production Ondine at The White Bear Theatre, London. Press for Cat’s previous work includes:

“A play is only as good as its director, and Cat Robey must take a large amount of credit for this magical piece of theatre.” (Frost Magazine, ‘Ondine’, 2012)
 “…Incredibly charming and engaging as a play, imaginative, surprising and, at times, profound; qualities which Cat Robey’s confident direction brings out.” (****Exeunt Magazine, ‘Ondine’, 2012)
            "Cat Robey’s direction encouraged high stakes, and a gradual build towards a thoroughly gripping climax." (Frost Magazine, ‘As Fate Would Have It…’ 2011)
            This taut drama… captures your attention from the outset. The chemistry between the actors is electric and the performances are remarkable.” (*****BroadwayBaby, ‘Feathers’, 2010)

The cast includes Jonathon West, Cheska Moon, Phoebe Batteson-Brown, Mark Arnold, Lee Lytle, and Gilly Daniels. Press for the cast includes:

            “Phoebe Batteson-Brown drew my eyes whenever she was on stage and although her parts were small, they gave indications of a much larger potential.” (Frost Magazine, ‘Ondine’, 2012)

            “Cheska Moon and Jonathan West were excellent in portraying the subtle changes between scenes and both brought vast amounts of charisma and comic timing to the roles.” (*****Remote Goat, ‘3X's the Charm’, 2012)

“...In a cast full of testosterone, Cheska Moon gives an excellent manipulative and sexy performance as goth queen Tamora” (The Londonist, ‘Titus Andronicus’, 2010)

“...Mark Arnold, an actor with more than his share of sex appeal...gradually sheds layers of protective bravado and, in the process, slowly reveals the man's deep need and his potential for emotional stability.” (The Record-L.A., 'Burn This' 1990)

Gilly Daniels as the nurse is an unstoppable force and accounts for at least three of
the strongest scenes in the production.” (The Times Colonist, 'Romeo and Juliet')


The Company

Created in January 2012, Paradigm Theatre Company is the only fringe repertory company in London. What that means is that besides producing four shows per season, we pull from the same body of actors, directors, and writers (our Artistic Associates) in order to produce each piece. We also have yearly season auditions where we bring in cast members from outside of Paradigm to provide a platform for emerging talent. The ethos behind this is that no member of the company will go more than a year without any artistic work, something that has become quite common for artists in the current economy.

The company produces four shows a year: three new writing pieces (one of which is an adaptation) and one classical play.

Paradigm recently produced a benefit show, staring Sylvia Syms, Annabel Leventon, and Dudley Sutton, to raise funds for the forthcoming season:

            “A brilliant evening of entertainment with acting, directing and writing that displayed absolute class. The honourable ethos of offering a creative platform is simply not ambitious enough. This isn't just a platform, it is a new and exciting theatre company that offers an opportunity for audiences to be thoroughly entertained.” (*****Remote Goat, A Night of Words and Wine Benefit Show, 2012)

The Season

The theme of Paradigm’s first season is “The Many Faces of Love”.  The theme explores all different types of love--whether it's love and attraction or love in its purest, most unconditional form. Each play will bring to the audience a glimpse of what it means to live for love, be deceived by love, be disgusted by love, and love with so mighty a heart that even death can't destroy it.

The Inappropriateness of Love is the first show of the forthcoming season.


The Theatre

The Hen & Chickens Theatre is a beautiful intimate venue with 54 individual raked seats in a black box end on space. It is upstairs in the cosy Victorian pub the Hen & Chickens Theatre Bar on Highbury corner.

This wonderful venue has been established for over 30 years and has an excellent reputation for new writing and comedy. Unrestricted View, the resident Production Company have been producing shows and programming visiting companies for the last thirteen years. Unrestricted View is run by actors for actors to provide a supportive artistic environment to explore and create.


All Paradigm Theatre Company headshots, CV's, and biographies are available on request.

More information and full company details, please visit: www.paradigmtheatrecompany.co.uk 

To purchase tickets online for The Inappropriateness of Love, please visit:



Thank you!
 

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