Carey Perloff | Breakout session
This breakout session is entitled "Women Leaders in Theatre". If women make up the vast majority of theater patrons, why are men holding the majority of leadership positions in the theater industry? In 2013, the leadership of San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) and the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) partnered for a study on gender equity in the theater, particularly looking at leaders in the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). There were only fifteen women who served as artistic directors, or help the combined Artistic Director/CEO position in the seventy-four LORT theaters at the time. The situation on the executive/managerial side of the theaters was better, but not much: there were nineteen female leaders. There was only one female artistic director of color. For women of color, none were top executive/managerial leaders. These percentages have been largely unchanged for 20 years. Our research suggests that many issues associated with the scarcity of women in top leadership are also true of people of color. There needs to be action on both fronts, paying particular attention to the virtual absence of women of color in theater leadership. In this breakout session, Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of A.C.T. and Sumru Erkut of WCW aim to identify the ways in which artistic and executive directors are currently being selected, and point to recommendations of how to make the selection process more gender balanced.
Carey Perloff is celebrating her 24th season as artistic director of A.C.T. Known for directing innovative productions of classics and championing new writing for the theater, Perloff's recent productions include Monstress, Indian Ink (nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival), Testament, Arcadia, and Racine's Phedre in a coproduction with the Stratford Festival. Perloff is also an award-winning playwright. Her play Kinship premiered at Theatre de Paris in 2014 and was produced at the Williamstown Theater Festival last summer, staring Cynthia Nixon and directed by Jo Bonney. Other plays include Waiting for the Flood, Higher (2011 Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Theatre Visions Fund Award winner), Luminescence Dating, and The Colossus of Rhodes (Susan Smith Blackburn Award finalist).
Before joining A.C.T., Perloff was artistic director of Classic Stage Company in New York. Under Perloff's leadership, CSC won numerous OBIE Awards, including the 1988 OBIE for artistic excellence. A recipient of France's Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Perloff received a BA Phi Beta Kappa in classics and comparative literature from Stanford University and was a Fulbright Fellow at Osford. She was on the faculty of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University for seven years, and teaches and directs in the A.C.T. MFA Program. Perloff is on the board of the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Sarasoty, FL and is the proud mother of Lexie and Nicholas. Her book Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater was published by City Lights in 2015.