Sunday 18 August 2019

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

Debra Messing Twitter
Debra Messing Twitter
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

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

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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