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Playwright Lizzie Nunnery: ‘Theatre writing is a long way from gender parity’

Lizzie Nunnery Lizzie Nunnery
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There is still an “awful long way to go” before female writers are equally represented on stage, playwright Lizzie Nunnery has said.

Nunnery, who was speaking at the UK Theatre Awards, argued that the industry needs to “endlessly challenge” assumptions around women writers.

The playwright was awarded the UK Theatre award for best new play for Narvik, which ran at Home in Manchester earlier this year.

She told The Stage: “There is an awful long way to go when you look at the figures.

“When you get in to looking at the spaces the women are being commissioned for, so few women are getting asked to write for big spaces.

“I’ve been so lucky this year that I got to write a musical for the Liverpool Everyman’s main space, but I know I’m seriously in the minority and when you look at the London theatres that is really shocking, and it’s so important things change.”

Just last month, a survey of women writers at six of London’s leading producing theatres – including the Donmar Warehouse, the Old Vic and the Royal Court – exposed the “depressing” underrepresentation of female playwrights.

Nunnery said that while there was “no conspiracy”, and she had not encountered open misogyny in the industry, she believes the conversation around female writers needs to change.

“We all need to keep asking ourselves if we’re going far enough in our rethinking of how we place women on the stage and also in the stories we tell, and how to shift conversations in those meeting rooms,” she said.

“White, middle class men might naturally be drawn to stories written by white, middle class men, because they share that perspective, but we need to keep sounding those alarms.”

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