Bechdel Testing Theatre - get involved!

What is the Bechdel Test?

The Bechdel Test is a blunt but enduring tool used in feminist film criticism and analysis for 30 years to check for the representation of women on screen.

To pass, a film must:
A) contain 2 female characters (preferably named), who
B) must talk to each other, about
C) something other than men.

How does it apply to theatre?

The theatre industry, suffering from similar problems of underrepresentation noted in the worlds of film and TV, could benefit from Bechdel testing its play scripts.

At a recent Open Space event organised by GAP Salon and Devoted & Disgruntled at Camden People's Theatre on the topic of gender in theatre, Beth Watson raised the question for discussion, of whether it would be useful to apply the test to stage scripts as well as screen.

Using Twitter to raise awareness

Beginning online with a twitter page @BechdelTheatre designed to note & promote current productions that pass the test, has started to gain followers and raise awareness amongst audiences and reviewers.

The @BechdelTheatre twitter account encourages theatre-goers and makers to think about how many female characters are represented on stage, and tweet to promote plays that show women talking to each other about anything other than men.

Ideas to take this project beyond Twitter

To build a website hosting a list of published to Bechdel passing plays as a resource for directors, producers, actors and teachers.

To stage a Bechdel Theatre Festival of plays, new & old that pass the test, and debates around the subjects that arise from it.

Get Involved!

If you find a script with 2 female characters, who talk to each other about anything other than a man, post the name of the play & playwright in the facebook group

Beth is seeking collaborators to work with on these future projects, as well as spreading the word on twitter. If you'd like to get involved please email or get in contact through twitter @BechdelTheatre

For more information please see Beth Watson's blog about the ideas behind Bechdel Testing Theatre

Opinion article in The Stage

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