History Of Women In Theatre

The role of women in theatre has long been the subject of much debate and discussion. While there, is little doubt that women artistes, playwrights, and producers have played a forceful part in shaping the world of theatre and continue to do so, their importance was not fully understood until more recent history. Working in the theatre has given women a chance to explore and experiment with different roles, as well as express their creativity to the fullest extent. As Kerry Powell writes in his book Women and Victorian Theatre, “ …a life in the theatre offered women a voice – the ability to speak compellingly while others, including men, sat in enforced silence, waiting in suspense for the next word.” It is this allure, intrigue and sense of power that women in theatre had over their audiences and will continue to hold. Learn more about the powerful, fascinating women in theatre from both the past and present.

Women of Yesteryear

1. The Life and Works of Susanna Centlivre – Learn more about this versatile writer well known for her comedies.

2. About Sarah Bernhardt – Sarah Bernhardt was an immensely popular stage star. Learn about how Henriette Rosine Bernard changed into the “Divine Sarah”.

3. The Life and Works of Fanny Kemble – An actress and an activist against slavery, learn more about this celebrated actress and writer. 

4. The Views and Ideas of Hallie Flanagan – Hallie Flanagan believed that the theatre must keep pace with the movies in order to win the interest and viewership of the audiences. Read about her views on theatre, drama and politics.

5. About Aphra Behn – Learn more about this intriguing and popular theatre personality, well known for her writing and productions.

6. About Ellen Terry – Short bio and picture of Dame Ellen Terry, one of the finest English actresses of the 19th century. 

7. Biography of Louisa Lane Drew – Read about this magnetic and forceful stage artiste who was both a skilled character actor and a great comedienne.

8. About Minnie Maddern Fiske – Biography and pictures of the talented American playwright, actress and director.

9. Biography of Laura Keene – Read about the talented American actress and theater manager who was, unfortunately, also the actress onstage when President Lincoln was assassinated. 

10. Life and Works of Charlotte Cushman – Biography of Charlotte Cushman, a strong and commanding actress. Also, find useful links to her early years, milestones, quotes, chronology and digital bibliography. 

11. About Susan Glaspell – A detailed biography of this famous and talented writer. Also, find useful links, interesting pictures and a bibliography of the works of Susan Glaspell.


Women In Theatre Today

12. About Caryl Churchill – Find out more about the author of “Top Girls”, her life and work.

13. Biography of Maria Irene Fornes – Learn about the life of Maria Irene Fornes, a superbly talented writer and director. Also, find helpful links to her plays, awards and publications.


14. Everything About Emily Mann – A detailed biography of Emily Mann, McCarter Theatre’s artistic director and her work as well as her future plans.

15. Zelda Fichandler’s Biography – Useful information about the Founding Director of Arena Stage in Washington and a remarkable figure in the field of performing arts.

16. An Interview with JoAnne Akalaitis – Read an interesting interview with the multiple award-winning and internationally acclaimed director and learn more about the intricacies and aspects of her work.

17. About Megan Terry – Read a brief biography of this internationally known playwright, author and performer and also, find links to her bibliography.

18. About Beth Henley – Read the biography and learn about the works of this Pulitzer prize -winning playwright. Also, find useful reviews, bibliography and links to more information on Beth Henley.

19. Biography and Works of Adrienne Kennedy – A detailed biography and list of works by Adrienne Kennedy. 

General Theatre Links

20. Arizona Women’s Theatre – The official website of the Arizona Women’s Theatre Group, a non-profit corporation that stages works that showcase the lives and experiences of women.

21. Black Ensemble Theatre – A well-known arts institution that stages productions and performances to highlight African-American history and reaches out to a cross-cultural section of society.

22. The Women’s Theatre and Creativity Centre – A Canadian theatre group that offers workshops and projects to develop and hone the creative talents of women in the arts.

23. Jewish Women’s Theatre – A theatre group that aims to promote the creative expression of Jewish women in America.

24. Women’s Theatre Festival – Information about the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, its events, artists, awardees and hosts.

25. Kathie Rasmussen Women’s Theatre – A theatre company that believes in giving women a chance to express themselves and also, educate the audiences about the finer aspects of theatre.  



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