Stellar Quines to challenge gender imbalance backstage in the performing arts

Feminist theatre-making organisation launches new artist development opportunities for women building careers in creative design

Feminist theatre company Stellar Quines has launched a new initiative dedicated to helping women gain experience in technical roles in the performing arts industry. This three-year scheme, titled M*****classes, will provide hands-on experience, networking and mentorship opportunities for women looking to upskill or diversify their CVs with creative technical know-how.

In 2016, Christine Hamilton Consulting released a report titled 'Where Are the Women? Analysis of Creative Roles by Gender in Scottish Theatre'. Of the various sectors they examined, technical jobs revealed the most damning gender discrepancy: only 6% of lighting designers and 11% of composers, musical directors and sound directors in publicly funded theatre identified as women.

Designed in response to the report, Stellar Quines is now stepping up to the plate to challenge this imbalance and definitively change the performing arts landscape. Their M*****classes programme is an open call for women with experience in the music field who are willing to cross over into the world of theatre. Ideal candidates include musicians, composers, sound engineers and designers with little to no experience in theatre.

Stellar Quines to challenge gender imbalance behind the scenes in the performing arts

credit: Jane Hobson
The first M*****class session is designed for burgeoning sound designers. The three-weekend intensive course will include workshops and skill-building sessions with experts in the field as well as other women practitioners from The Lyceum, National Theatre of Scotland and Citizens Theatre. Participants will receive practical training in the creative, technical and personal aspects of the sound design process, as well as visits to see Nora at the Citizens Theatre, Local Hero and The Duchess of Malfi at the Lyceum.

'We are under no illusions,' says Jemima Levick, Artistic Director of Stellar Quines. 'Teaching someone to be a fully fledged designer in the space of seven workshops is a tough call but, if we can give a group of women a platform, a boost that enables them to move to the next stage, then that's what we will do.'

'The fact of the matter is that we will no longer accept that directors and producers can't ask women to work in these roles "because there aren't any". We are going to find them.'

The opportunity is free and open to any woman – including trans, intersex, non-binary and gender-fluid – at an early or mid-point in their career. Applications close 18 Feb at 10am.

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