Adam Cook comments on the lack of female writers and directors in the state theatre companies.
Interview with Cook, 18/3/2011, from The Barefoot Review. Listen here. Quoted from 15:00, talking about the vision for the State Theatre Company:
I make lists. And you write: New Australian; Comedies; Classics; Radical; Imported Foreign Hit – you know, because there is always one of those, whether it’s God Of Carnage… this year in Sydney and Melbourne it’s a play called The Vibrator Play, there is always a brand new play from overseas that people are all doing or all considering because it’s a terrific play.
So that’s sort of how it happens. And then working out what opportunities I can create for local directors. I don’t import anybody. Everybody who works here is from here. Because I think you can’t turn up and bring your mates when you come to a new city. And not even your mates, but people you esteem and admire from other cities.
So when we get criticisms about the lack of opportunities for woman directors: there aren’t any living here who’ve earned their stripes except for Catherine Fitzgerald.
People think just because they want to direct that they should be in a 600 seat theatre working with us, and David Mealor has earned it. You know? He’s so entrepreneurial, he’s so gifted. He’s done lots of work off his own back. I had him assisting me on two shows last year specifically for that reason, so that I could have a better sense of him and how he works and how he thinks so I could give him a job on the main stage. And he’s earned it.
So you know, there is a lot of talk in the cultural community at the moment about woman directors and woman playwrights and the lack of representation in State companies.
Q: Coming off the back of BossLady?
Well, before that. Last year was all about woman directors and where are they, and this belief, frankly, that there was this conspiracy amongst male directors to keep women out. And I was at a forum in Melbourne, which was a two day forum, and I was one of the few men there, but I thought I’m very interested in all of this and to hear it all and to put our point, and what I didn’t have the guts to say, but I’ll say to you, is that there is no conspiracy, you just have to be talented, and the people who would hire you have to agree that you are.
And that is the blunt fact of getting a job. You just have to be good. And the same with playwrights, they think “why aren’t you doing my plays?” Well, I don’t think it’s very good. There’s always one answer, isn’t there? Why isn’t someone dating you, why isn’t someone returning your call or your text, whatever. It’s pretty clear.