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Bring more women on to theatre boards (your views, October 26)

Hadley Fraser and Ross Noble in Young Frankenstein: some readers felt our two-star rating was unfair. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Following Erica Whyman’s piece (‘In the wake of Weinstein, we must get our own house in order’, October 19), what about increasing the number of women on the board of the Royal Shakespeare Company?

A 50:50 ratio of male and female board members would be a great start, with a huge impact on the employment of women and their empowerment at such a well-known, publicly subsidised company.

We really need the RSC to step up to these challenges. The time for platitudes is over.

Elizabeth Berrington
Via thestage.co.uk


This point is well raised. The RSC does want a balanced board that reflects the UK’s diversity.

In recent years, the numbers of women and of men on our board have been closer than they are now, and we intend that future board appointments will move towards redressing the current gender imbalance.

Catherine Mallyon
Executive director, RSC
Via thestage.co.uk

Equity’s election procedures

Your obituary for Tony Booth states that he forced my resignation as president of Equity.

That is incorrect. In fact, someone else spotted the change in the law: Equity’s council was no longer able to elect the president. Instead the president had to be chosen by the whole membership, so I resigned and immediately stood for election by the union’s members.

In that election, my opponent received 2,000 votes and I received 6,000 votes, making a total of 8,000 votes – the highest number recorded in an Equity election.

Frederick Pyne
London NW1

Inspirational drama teachers

I agree with Lyn Gardner (Opinion, October 19) that inspiring drama teachers are the unsung heroes of British theatre.

If it wasn’t for Norah Button, the founder of the Liverpool Theatre School, I may never have enjoyed a long career as a screenwriter.

Button was honoured with the Carl Alan lifetime achievement award on October 14 in recognition of 60 years teaching the arts.

Barbara Jago
Via thestage.co.uk

Bad taste guide is ill-judged

Given the concerns raised by the Harvey Weinstein case, the crude stereotypes about lecherous drama school staff in West End Producer’s supposedly humorous A to Z of drama schools are grotesque.

Making light of and normalising this type of behaviour through humour is offensive to people who have been victims of it.

Those who have been at the receiving end of abusive behaviour by those with power in our industry need our collective support, and this article provides exactly the opposite.

I find it staggeringly inept and entirely disgraceful that the author wrote it and The Stage published it.

Nick Hunt
Email address supplied

Sense of humour failure

Having read The Stage’s two-star review of Young Frankenstein, I feel compelled to write in protest. I firmly believe you sent the wrong person to review Mel Brooks’ masterpiece of musical comedy, brilliantly performed.

Natasha Tripney’s write-up bears no resemblance to the audience reception of this production, which I have seen twice in two weeks – on both occasions the audience rose to its feet. The comment about “kick-line fatigue” is unrecognisable to me.

I also find the two final paragraphs of the review hard to accept. The reviewer seems to be under the impression this musical comedy is to be taken seriously – what has happened to her sense of humour?

Jennifer Hoare
London WC2

Quotes of the week

Rupert Goold. Photo: Alex Brenner
Rupert Goold. Photo: Alex Brenner

“Two great writers, two great companies, two breathtaking designs. Been a blessed year. Ink and Albion. Sounds like an Islington pub though...”
Almeida artistic director Rupert Goold (Twitter)

“If 18 months go by and I haven’t done a play I feel like I’m not an actor any more.”
Rory Kinnear (The Times)

“You have to work on something that makes you uncertain. Something that makes you doubt yourself… After Gypsy I got nothing but backstage stories and I said, ‘The only thing I don’t want to write is anything to do with showbusiness.’ ”
Stephen Sondheim (New York Times)

“There is a real sense of ownership from our local community for the theatre, so we feel a massive sense of responsibility for how we play our part in the area.”
Sian Alexander, executive director at London’s Lyric Hammersmith, speaking at the Theatres Trust conference

“Harvey Weinstein was probably the most horrid man I ever met. He was a big bully. He screamed abuse. When he switched into flattery it was insulting, it was crass. I can remember being hollered at, it was frightening.”
Nicholas Hytner (Sunday Times)

“It’s how theatres work more and more. I’ve been slow waking up to it, but theatres really want to pencil it in their programme before the plays even exist, so they then have control over what they are doing. When I was starting, it was completely the opposite – what the writers brought to the theatre is what they’d do.”
Playwright Nicholas Wright on the commissioning process (London Theatre)

“It is wonderful to be in a play where the female character is the one that shines so brightly, because that is frustratingly rare. Thomas goes on one hell of a journey emotionally. It’s just quieter. It’s Saturn next to Jupiter.”
Actor David Oakes on Venus in Fur (Theartsdesk)

“It didn’t cross my mind that I wouldn’t be. But now I jolly well am making a point of it. The pay gap is absurd, laughable. It’s a nonsense that we are even having a conversation about it.”
Actor Eve Best on getting equal pay (Evening Standard)

What you said on Facebook

About Lyn Gardner’s column on inspirational drama teachers...

Education, not exams, should be our target. Reducing music, drama, art and crafts can only lessen the overall educational attainment of our young people. The discipline, teamwork and need for concentration instilled in the young through involvement in music and drama teaches patience and the desire to succeed, which transfers to other subjects.
Alan Lees

I wouldn’t be in the professional position I am today – being able to meet clients and lead teams across different projects – if it hadn’t been for my acting workshops and teachers who helped me not to fear taking centre-stage.
Stephanie Bazin

As a drama teacher, I have had the privilege of helping young people who felt they were of no worth come to realise their potential and unique value. Drama is the key, as are all the arts. Don’t throw it away.
Nini Pitt

About paying more than £100 for a ticket to a West End show…

I wouldn’t pay that for tickets because there’s also travel, accommodation and meals to add on top if you don’t live in London. You could probably spend the same amount and go abroad for a week. I suppose it depends how much you want to see a particular show.
Rosemary Horn

Go to the Tkts booth on Leicester Square for the best deal. You might not get the show you wanted to see, but there are tickets for most big shows. Last time we went, we paid £50 for two tickets for Les Mis – they were good seats.
Sue Ross

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