Tuesday 25 October 2016

Debra Messing voices support for #WakingTheFeminists and female playwrights in Ireland

Published 09/11/2015 | 09:56

Debra Messing Twitter
Debra Messing Twitter

Will and Grace star Debra Messing has voiced her support for the #WakingTheTeminists campaign highlighting the plight of female playwrights in Ireland.

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The campaign ignited in the wake of the launch of the Abbey Theatre's programme of commemoration for the centenary of 1916 which features just one play written by a woman among the ten chosen.

The national theatre's outgoing director Fiach MacConghail has come under fire for his 'Waking the Nation' programme with the hashtag #WakingTheFeminists trending on Twitter as people weighed in on the debate.

Messing took to Twitter to voice her support, writing, "I STAND WITH YOU WOMEN IN THEATRE #IRELAND #THEABBEYTHEATRE" with a photo of herself holding a sign reading the same.

On Friday Mac Conghail posted an open letter "To everyone taking part in the debate on #WakingtheNation #WakingTheFeminists" on the Abbey Theatre official website.

"I regret the gender imbalance in our WAKING THE NATION programme for the significant year ahead. The fact that I haven’t programmed a new play by a female playwright is not something I can defend," he wrote.

"This experience has presented a professional challenge to me as a programmer and has made me question the filters and factors that influence my decision-making.

"I believe we have made improvements in advocating for and promoting female artists of all disciplines at the Abbey Theatre since 2005 but there is still a long way to go.

"I welcome the vigorous debate that has ensued since the announcement of the WAKING THE NATION programme. I look forward to participating in an open and frank dialogue and offer the Abbey Theatre as a venue for this discussion. Our challenge now is how to address this imbalance both here at the Abbey Theatre and nationally in the arts community and beyond."

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