Can we move beyond gender-swapping roles on stage and write better characters for women?
A theatre announces that a classic male role will be played by a woman and gets a plethora of headlines as a result.
While giving a woman a meaty, lead role is something to be applauded, it exposes the shortcomings in onstage equality in theatre-land.
Gender swapping characters isn't fresh, new and exciting, it's starting to feel overused, calculated and like lip-service.
Progress in Hollywood
Given the progress Hollywood seems to be making on equality and diversity theatre land needs to up its game.
In fact, recent research shows that films with a female lead have bigger box office takings than those with a male lead so there is also a business case.
Part of the problem is the reliance on regurgitating classic plays which tend to be male-dominated.
They do exist - Lynn Nottage's Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse is a great example (link to review below) - but it shouldn't feel like a rare treat.
In the meantime, gender-swapping classic roles is starting to feel overused to the point where feels like a cheap marketing ploy.
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Sweat, Donmar Warehouse - Lynn Nottage's superb play about globalism and the American Dream.
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