As Thinking Cap Theatre (TCT) artistic director Nicole Stodard reflects on the first nine seasons of the nonprofit professional company, gender parity has been one of her proudest accomplishments.
Studies have shown that gender parity and diversity in American theater programming has improved in recent years, but a recent study by the Dramatist Guild found that just three years ago, plays written by women represented only 28.8% of works produced by professional companies.
“Gender parity in season play selection has not just been on the list of TCT’s priorities since its founding in 2010,” Stodard said. “It has been at the top of TCT’s priority list.”
Of TCT’s 30 full-length productions, 16 plays were by women, 12 by men and two by transgender playwrights. In announcing the company’s 10th season, Stodard pointed out two of the five productions are by men, while three are by women.
The season opens Feb. 14 with Samuel Beckett’s 1960 contemporary classic, “Happy Days.” The play delivers an offbeat, endearing and thought-provoking study of a day in the life of an aged couple, Winnie and Willy. Award-winning local actors Karen Stephens and Jim Gibbons will star.
"Fefu and Her Friends,” will run April 3 – 19 at TCT’s home, the Vanguard Sanctuary for the Arts in South Fort Lauderdale. This 1977 Off Broadway hit Cuban émigré Maria Irene Fornes holds a monumental place in the history of environmental, site-specific theater that has become popular in recent decades, said Stodard.
Sam Mueller’s “Laced,” Oct. 16 – Nov. 1, is set in a queer bar in Tampa on the eve of the 2020 presidential election. Three young women must come to terms with what it means to be true to themselves in a society that is at once progressive, prejudiced and divided.
“Lovesong” by producer and screenwriter Abi Morgan (“The Iron Lady,” 2011; “The Suffragette,” 2015), will offer audience an emotionally and visually stimulating examination of love — from youthful inception to golden maturity, Nov. 20 – Dec. 6.
Rounding out the TCT season is “A Wilde Holiday, Oscar Wilde’s Beloved Fairy Tales,” Dec. 19 – 27, and adapted by Stodard and the company’s new managing director, Bree-Anna Obst. The Australian comes to South Florida after stints at leading stages in the U.K., U.S. and South Korea.
“I am especially energized about utilizing my background in theater administration and practice to help TCT as it embarks upon its most significant season yet, at a time when [our] mission has proven to be so vitally relevant to our society,” Obst said in press materials announcing the season.
The season will also include “Food for Thought: A New Conversation Series” and the return of two co-productions, “I’m Coming: A Performance Project,” in conjunction with Thou Art Woman, and “She Shorts,” in association with City Theatre of Miami.
Tickets for individual productions in Thinking Cap Theatre’s tenth anniversary season are $35 general admission at ThinkingCapTheatre.org.