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Victoria Hamilton: ‘Harvey Weinstein scandal will bring real change to theatre’

Victoria Hamilton at the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. Photo: Peter Jones Victoria Hamilton at the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. Photo: Peter Jones
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Doctor Foster star Victoria Hamilton has voiced her hope that the Time’s Up movement will be used to force a genuine culture shift for female performers.

She said the spate of sexual harassment allegations, which prompted the global Time’s Up campaign, had provoked a change in the industry’s “sexual politics” that would lead to better treatment of women.

Hamilton was speaking as she collected her fourth Critics’ Circle theatre award – for best actress for Albion at the Almeida – where she sported a badge for the campaign group Equal Representation for Actresses.

She told The Stage: “[ERA] began with an anger at the lack of representation, that we’re still having this conversation. It should have all been sorted out years ago, but it isn’t. Nothing is happening.”

She said the Harvey Weinstein revelations, and the wave of harassment and abuse allegations that followed, meant the “sexual politics in this profession are [now] so different”.

“Fantastically, it means that a shift is actually happening… I do think that’s what gives you faith, that this isn’t just a bubble that’s going to burst and it’s all going to go back to what it was. People are drafting legislation and guidelines that will actually change the experience for actresses auditioning and rehearsing, and that’s huge.

“Part of me thinks, ‘Don’t get too hopeful’, but I really don’t think it can go back to that now, and that’s amazing.”

Hamilton went on to argue that the movement could also challenge the scarcity of roles for women over 40.

“Isn’t it wrong that once we’re over 40 the only way to feel about being in this profession is terrified, because the parts aren’t going to be there and the pay isn’t going to be there?

“Hopefully there will be more and more roles like the one I’ve just played [in Albion], and it will not be a rarity that there’s a woman over 40 leading a show, driving a story. Hopefully in another 20 years that will be the norm, and that’s just brilliant.”