Denise Gough has urged winners of awards to use their platform for advocacy rather than “self-congratulation”.
Gough was speaking at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2020 along with other representatives from ERA 50:50, which campaigns for equal representation for women on stage and screen.
ERA 50:50 won the Equity award for services to theatre.
Gough told The Stage that she feels a responsibility to use her platform as an actor to highlight unequal representation for women in the industry.
“Use your voice – what’s the point in being given shiny trinkets? It’s great, but use your moment for something other than self-congratulation.
“It’s great to be given a prize and have some kind of agency, but I don’t really want it if it means I have to shut up,” she said.
She added: “I want to get to the stage where we don’t have to do this, but I know I have a responsibility to speak up, especially when you start being given access to being in the gang.”
Gough argued that the industry needs women “in all of the positions behind the scenes” in order to achieve true representation.
She said: “We need lots of them so they don’t feel like there’s only room for one because that makes women compete with each other and then it becomes very dark.
“We need to know there is space for all of us. Then we can have a team of people that are going to look out for each other, rather than a superficial sisterhood.”