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, and 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 feminism 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.
We generate new work representing a diverse range of authentic female characters and relationships by collecting real-life Bechdel test passing conversations to use as inspiration for new plays.
We ask women 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 four plays in the Bechdel Testing Life project were written by Isley Lynn, Guleraana Mir, Rabiah Hussain, and Lizzie Milton, and showed at The Bunker in London Bridge on July 22nd & 23rd.
To facilitate deeper discussion of the roles of women on stage and encourage the engagement of feminists with the theatre world, we set up Bechdel Theatre Festival: A series of 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 Festival 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.
*We named Bechdel Theatre after the ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ comic strip episode The Rule by Alison Bechdel, but not in collaboration with the artist herself. Alison Bechdel is not personally involved in this organisation in any way.