Biographies of Canadian Women Playwrights

Canadian Stage 26 Berkeley Street seat mapOn-line Profiles of Canadian Women Playwrights is a scholarly project which will address a widening void in theatre scholarship in Canada: the absence of scholarship addressing current work by contemporary women playwrights in Canada.

As a demographic, women are clearly having a large impact on the shape of Canadian theatre, and yet there is neither sufficient scholarly investigation of this impact nor a research archive to support that inquiry. The resources which provide information about the playwrights and their work remain strikingly inadequate because incomplete and out-dated, makes any kind of thorough or systematic analysis of current playwriting by women impossible. Within the past six years, five scholarly books have been published on contemporary women playwrights, but all focus on the last decades of the twentieth century. This attention to the work of only a few current playwrights is disturbing. In 1982, Rina Fraticelli prepared a statistically substantiated profile of the status of women in Canadian theatre. The results were alarming, particularly for second-wave feminists: although women comprised the majority of the audiences in theatres across Canada, of the 1153 productions in 104 theatres which Fraticelli analysed, only 10% of the plays produced were by women playwrights, and 13% of the directors were women (Fraticelli.) Rebecca Burton considered 1945 productions mounted across Canada between 2000 and 2005; she discovered that 27% of plays which were produced were written by women.

On-line Profiles of Canadian Women Playwrights will address this gap in knowledge through providing accessible, accurate material in an on-line format, and by pioneering a new online mode of scholarship on contemporary Canadian women playwrights in the form of analytic essays that draw on emergent digital tools.

Project Leaders: Dorothy Hadfield, University of Waterloo, and Ann Wilson, University of Guelph