Talking gender and representation on stage.
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Bechdel Theatre began as a campaign to get theatre-goers using the Bechdel test* to start conversations about on-stage representations of women.
We use the Bechdel test (which is usually applied to films) to reach feminist audiences who are passionate about gender and representation on screen, but might not go to the theatre as regularly. We let them know about stage shows that they may want to see.
Online, we use social media to promote plays where women are notably present. We share and retweet to help female-led and gender-conscious shows of every style and scale to get the audiences and recognition that they deserve, and help feminist viewers choose shows they may be interested to see. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
Offline, we lend our logo to production posters at theatre festivals such as Edinburgh, Brighton Fringe, and VAULT, using stickers to help them stand out from the crowd and reach audiences who value gender and representation.
Bechdel Theatre Podcast is hosted by Beth Watson and Pippa Sa. It includes reviews, previews, interviews and discussions about gender and representation on stage.
In a feature called #BringAFeministFriend, the podcast features feminists from non-theatre backgrounds and industries talking about how theatre shows contrast, compare, and relate to other arts, media, and culture.
Our blog features feminist commentary, lists of recommendation and mini-reviews for plays and productions that do more than pass the Bechdel test.
We update it during theatre festivals and at key points throughout the year, whenever there are just TOO MANY feminist theatre events going on to fit into a list at the end of our podcast episodes!
We generate new work representing a diverse range of authentic characters and relationships by collecting recordings of real-life Bechdel test passing conversations to use as inspiration for new plays.
We ask our followers to record their own conversations, then we give the recordings to playwrights, who create new work in response to what they have heard.
The most recent plays in the Bechdel Testing Life project were written by Isley Lynn, Guleraana Mir, Rabiah Hussain, Lizzie Milton, Bridget Minamore and Melissa Dunne, and were performed at The Bunker and Theatre Deli’s Old Library.
We facilitate deeper discussion of gender and representation on stage in pop-up conversations that we co-host with theatres and production companies who want to celebrate a show they’re staging which passes the test with flying colours.
An open and accessible alternative to formal Q&As, Bechdel Theatre conversations take place in theatre bars and cafes, where creatives and audience members are invited to informally share ideas and responses on a level platform.
Bechdel Theatre workshops are designed to empower performers and theatre-makers who self-identify as creating work that passes the Bechdel test. Our workshops are co-devised and lead in collaboration with feminist theatre-makers, previous collaborators have included theatre directors and writers Madelaine Moore, Lizzie Milton, Laura Keefe and Floriana Dezou. Workshops have been held at Spotlight, The Mono Box, Out of Joint Studios, and Bristol University.
Feedback from workshop participants:
“Fun, low-pressure, and I left feeling confident in my work.”
“I felt encouraged to take risks in a way I hadn’t before.”
“You come out feeling hopeful.“
“You’ll get great feedback and be able to single out what your personal strengths are.”
To find out more details or get us in to deliver a workshop at your company, space, or university, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Workshop enquiry” in the title.
*We named Bechdel Theatre after the ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ comic strip by Alison Bechdel, but not in collaboration with the artist herself. Alison Bechdel is not personally involved in this organisation in any way.