Home

According to a recent study, only 25% of the plays produced in Chicago's 2015-16 theater season had female authors. Only 36% were directed by women.  A deeper dive into the numbers suggests larger theaters cast fewer ratios of women than smaller non-equity companies, a sobering reality for female actors thinking about job advancement.

 

Disappointing stats like these and how the recent presidential election put misogyny and gender equity squarely in the media spotlight spurred 10 female identified performers and an all-female identified production and design team to devise Gender Breakdown.

 

A compilation of true, absurd, uncomfortable and gut-punching stories culled from more than 200 Chicago theater artists, Collaboraction Theatre Company's first world premiere of 2017 is a response to the lack of gender equity on and offstage. 

 

Vivid tales of violence, miseducation, segregation, and the ongoing disrespect and marginalization of women - even in Chicago's acclaimed theater industry - pull back the curtain on real issues of misogyny, gender politics and racism within the theater industry and beyond. 

 

Ultimately, via deeply personal stories from training, auditions, and the rehearsal room, Gender Breakdown theatricalizes the question "How is this possible, that in 2017, females are still marginalized in our community?"

 

Gender Breakdown is created by Dani Bryant and directed by Erica Vannon - the lead artists behind Spanx You Very Much, an exploration of female body empowerment through a 45-woman dance explosion, and the break-out hit from Collaboraction's 15th and Final SKETCHBOOK Festival in 2016. 

 

Previews are Thursday through Saturday, February 16-18 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, February 19 at 3 p.m., and Tuesday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. Preview tickets are only $5. 

 

Performances run through March 19: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. No show Thursday, February 23.

Industry Town Halls are Monday, February 27 and March 13 at 7:30 p.m. On February 27, researcher Kay Kron will lead a post-show panel discussion with Deb Clapp, Executive Director, League of Chicago Theatres; Lori Myers, Not in Our House; Laura T. Fischer, Not in Our House; and Kimberly Senior, Collaboraction Founder and Director. The March 13 post-show panel features Kay Kron, Willa Taylor of the Goodman Theatre and more guests TBA.

 

Gender Breakdown is presented in The Vault at Collaboraction Studios in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Single tickets to performances are $20-30; $10-$15 for students, educators and industry. 

 

For tickets and information, visit collaboraction.org or call (312) 226-9633.

 

 

More about  Gender Breakdown

   

Gender Breakdown is a compilation of true, absurd, uncomfortable and gut-punching stories about gender inequity culled from more than 200 Chicago theater artists, many gathered at Off Menu potlock dinners at Collaboraction.

 

"Female identified artists continue to fight for equal representation, equal pay, three-dimensional characters and rehearsal environments that are free from micro-aggressions and commodification," said creator Dani Bryant. "Gender Breakdown harnesses the same artistic vision and raw electricity of Spanx You Very Much to explore how, even in an oftentimes liberal-leaning business, inequities based on gender pervade the theater."

 

Dani Bryant (creator) is a devised method playwright and process facilitator who specializes in using social practice as an artistic entry point - letting collaborative discussion shape each project. In addition to creating over 20 pieces of devised theater, she holds great passion for leading facilitated community conversations about gender parity, mental health, arts education and food and body politics. Originally from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, she attended The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and received her BFA from the Hartt School of Theater. She is currently pursuing her Master's and certification in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Drama Therapy. She is the founder of Knife & Fork, co-creator of For Fork's Sake Live and Cabaret Vagabond and is an Artistic Ensemble Member at Adventure Stage Chicago.

 

Erica Vannon (director) is a director, producer and collaborative artist. She is the founder of Lost Geneva Project, a project based theater company committed to telling women's stories, and a co-founder for Knife & Fork, a food and social practice theater company. For the past three years, Vannon has directed for Shimer College. She served as a co-artistic director for Blank Line Collective, a collaborative, movement-based theater company from 2007-2010. She has worked with Collaboraction, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, Chicago Fringe Festival, Rhino Fest, and 20% Theatre. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Directing from the University of North Texas and a Graduate Laban Certificate of Movement Analysis (GL-CMA) from Columbia College Chicago.

Gender Breakdown stars Brianna Buckley, Jazmin Corona, Kamille Dawkins, Rula Gardenier, Kate Hawbaker-Krohn, Priya Mohanty, Siobhan Marguerite Reddy-Best, Carolyn Sinon, Aimy Tien and Mia Vivens.

                     

The all-female design and production team includes Sarah JHP Watkins (set designer), Carley Walker (lighting designer), Katherine Pavlovna Goldberg (costume designer), Karli Blalock (sound designer), Sarah Moeller (producer), Kelly Butler (production manager), Caitlin Body (stage manager), Brittany T. Jasper (assistant stage manager) and Becca Venable (technical director).

 

Breaking down the numbers

Statistics cited in Gender Breakdown and in this press release shed light on hiring parity across theater professions during Chicago's 2015-16 theater season. The research was undertaken by Kay Kron and Mariah Schultz as a part of Kron's Master Thesis at DePaul University. The study includes the full Jeff eligible season for Equity and Non-Equity theaters nominated for a Jeff Award in any category during Chicago's 2015-16 theater season. (Musicals were not included, because their generally larger cast sizes would have made them overly influential on the overall percentages.) In total, the study encompassed 52 theatres, collects statistics on over 250 plays, resulting in over 4,500 data points. 

 

Gender Breakdown Lounge

 

The Gender Breakdown Lounge is a performance arts venue for an eclectic range of arts programming to complement Collaboraction's Gender Breakdown.

 

After every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night performance, starting at 9:30 p.m., there will be additional performances in Collaboraction's Salon space featuring female-identified artists, including theater, story telling, music, comedy, dance, opera and more. 

 

                                                                   

Following is the Gender Breakdown Lounge line-up (at press time, check collaboraction.org for updates):

 

Friday, February 24

Music with MICHA

Poetry with Kay Kron

 

Saturday, February 25

Womanscape pre-show reception at 7 p.m. 

featuring poetry by Arica Hilton 

&

Saints & Sinners at 9:30 p.m. 

Curated by Sandra Delgado, featuring Sandra Delgado, Minita Gandhi, Sadieh Rifai, DeAnna Brooks, Ilana Faust, Nancy Garcia, Rose McInerney and Theo Allyn

 

Thursday, March 3

The Things We Were Learned 

Featuring Michelle Leatherby, Paige Maney and Olivia Perry

 

Friday, March 4

Beautifully Broken by Ashley J. Hicks

Spoken word with Khloe Janel

 

Saturday, March 5

Any of my Enemies by Molly Brennan

 

Thursday, March 9

Token by Kaye Winks

Phone Calls with John Kasich by Eileen Tull

 

Friday, March 10

Hair Crownicles by Medina Perine

Stand-up with Edith Lule

 

Saturday, March 11

Music with Layla Frankel

 

Thursday, March 16

Music with Soft Ledges

Dance with Ms. Miscellanea

 

Friday, March 17

Baby Crow Productions presents 13 & Not Pregnant by Joy Donze,

directed by Mia Capotorto Sommese

 

Saturday, March 18

Baby Crow Productions presents 13 & Not Pregnant by Joy Donze,

directed by Mia Capotorto Sommese

 

Published in Buzz Extra

Mysteriously seductive, Joffrey’s "Giselle" charms with its darkness

20 October 2017 in Dance in Review

Giselle, Adolphe Adam’s beautiful tale created for the ballet’s premiere in Paris back in 1841, has been re-imagined by the…

An Evening with Chris Thile – The Man, The Mandolin

20 October 2017 in In Concert

“That didn’t even sound like a mandolin,” I said to my companion – a mandolinist of some considerable skill –…

Review: "Hard Times" at Lookingglass Theatre

16 October 2017 in Theatre in Review

Lookingglass Theatre Company opens its 30th Anniversary Season with the return of the award-winning “Hard Times”, adapted from Charles Dickens…

BLUE MAN GROUP CELEBRATES 20th BIRTHDAY!

16 October 2017 in Theatre Reviews

With two decades in its home at Lakeview’s Briar Street Theater under its belt, Blue Man Group is still going…

Review: "Piaf: The Show!"

11 October 2017 in Theatre in Review

Darn those French and their "musical spectaculars." There are few things Americans do with more flare than the French, and…

First Folio's "The Man-Beast" a passionate tale of horror that delivers big

11 October 2017 in Theatre in Review

Set in the 18th century French countryside, First Folio Theatre vividly brings to life Joseph Zettelmaier’s “The Man-Beast”, a romantic,…

Rigoletto’s classic tale is a feast for the ears

10 October 2017 in Theatre in Review

Court jester Rigoletto prefers to hide his misery behind jokes and mockery of others. But it’s not the only thing…

Hilarious "Bewildered" will make you realize that YOU are the leading lady in your life!

10 October 2017 in Theatre in Review

Hell in a Handbag rings in its fifteenth-anniversary season with real magic in this hilarious spoof of the 60's and…

Review: The Crucible at Steppenwolf Theatre

09 October 2017 in Theatre in Review

It’s the season of Arthur Miller in Chicago. It appears Miller is enjoying a renaissance right now with three of…

Older than Mythologie: Orphée et Eurydice at the Lyric Opera

08 October 2017 in Theatre Reviews

The first time I went to the opera was in elementary school to see La Triviata. It was a school…

Foxfinder is vaguely relevant

03 October 2017 in Theatre in Review

The most depressing thing about the Foxfinder’s premise of “near future” is that it looks remarkably like somewhat distant past,…

Suzanne Puckett; Poetry at its finest

03 October 2017 in BCS Spotlight

You tore him down! Discredited his name ~ Made him lie, cry and beg ~ Hold his head in shame …

 

 

10 Years! Fave Issue Covers

Register

Latest Articles

  • Mysteriously seductive, Joffrey’s "Giselle" charms with its darkness
    Written by
    Giselle, Adolphe Adam’s beautiful tale created for the ballet’s premiere in Paris back in 1841, has been re-imagined by the Ballet Master and Stager Lola de Avila, marking the opening of Joffrey Ballet’s 2017-2018 Season. Set in the Middle Ages…
  • An Evening with Chris Thile – The Man, The Mandolin
    Written by
    “That didn’t even sound like a mandolin,” I said to my companion – a mandolinist of some considerable skill – as we left Skokie’s North Shore Center for the Performing Arts after attending An Evening with Chris Thile. “That’s what…
  • Review: "Hard Times" at Lookingglass Theatre
    Written by
    Lookingglass Theatre Company opens its 30th Anniversary Season with the return of the award-winning “Hard Times”, adapted from Charles Dickens and directed by Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman , in association with The Actors Gymnasuim. It was first…
  • BLUE MAN GROUP CELEBRATES 20th BIRTHDAY!
    Written by
    With two decades in its home at Lakeview’s Briar Street Theater under its belt, Blue Man Group is still going strong. The show can best be described as a bizarre, performance-arty take on STOMP, with both running about 90 minutes…

Guests Online

We have 77 guests and no members online

Buzz Chicago on Facebook Buzz Chicago on Twitter