Our conversation was rich, personal and diverse. We were asked to speak about our work from an Australian or an American perspective. We discussed the astonishing and often stifling global impact of the United States. We marveled at Australia's gender parity in contrast to our inability to get anywhere near it. We recognized that our countries are both young and were founded on indigenous lands, colonized by immigrants and built by slave and prison labor. We called attention to guiding principles of our countries: "Freedom" for Americans and "Fair Trade" for Australians Two very distinctive and grand notions that mean different things to different people and don't always trickle down evenly to each citizen.
As playwrights, we each address issues of race, class, gender and sexual orientation in our work. However, our approach to these universal issues vary beautifully and uniquely in style and form. Each of us has an essential and distinctive artistic vision in response to our personal, political, geographical and historical experience. And even this brief, but powerful shared international experience will no doubt impact how we continue to shape our stories.
It was a fantastic conversation. You can listen to it in its entirety here on #NewPlay TV. Also, the folks at NNPN shared these statistics in the program and I wanted to share them with you as well:
United States of America
Population: 315 million
# of Playwrights: 10,000+
# of Nonprofit Theaters: 2,000+
Federal arts $ per capita: 46 cents.
2012-2013 Theater Stats/Nonprofit (TCG):
70% of plays were written by men
20% by women
10% by ensembles
21% by playwrights of color
Sources: American Theatre Magazine, Time, Dramatists Guild, Wikipedia, Outrageous Fortune, "The Gates of Opportunity"
Population: 23 million
# of Playwrights: 200-1,000
# of Professional Theaters: 220+
Federal arts $ per capita: $16 USD
2012-2013 Theater Stats:
57% of plays were written by men
43% by women
6% by indigenous playwrights
7% by playwrights from a non-English speaking background
Sources: Australia Bureau of Statistics, Australia Council, PlayWriting Australia