No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne, 1624
In 1624, poet John Donne wrote that no man can be “an island.” This is today taken to mean that no man can live alone. He must be social, must rely on his network, and collaborate with “the main” for personal and professional success.
In 1624, a poet could get away with writing “man” and allowing it to stand for the human race. But the lack of access in both the public and private domains for other genders meant Donne was, in all practicalities, explicitly referring to the male sex.
In 1624, the theatre of the Renaissance stage was booming; Shakespeare had died only a few years prior, and plays like Thomas Middleton’s A Game at Chess caused a stir when its salacious political satire caused it to be shut down by authorities. It was produced and performed by the troupe Shakespeare had been a part of for years: The King’s Men.
In 1624, theatre was by and for men. Men wrote, produced, and played all of the parts. Women could see it, from the stalls of the Globe, but its revolutionary actions did not include their status as second-class citizens.
Today, things have changed. Women have made strides in all aspects of society.
Yet women and non-binary professionals are employed in the theatre in far smaller percentages as compared to men. A 2013-2014 study by Tonic Theatre showed that, on any given night, 29% of directors on the West End are women.
4% of the writers are women.
30% of production designers are women.
20% of lighting designers are women.
0% of sound designers are women.
Part of the Main Productions will change this. We’re dedicated to creating space for female- and non-binary- identifying theatre professionals. We create and produce plays that show the interiority of women and non-binary characters, that portray them as the confusing, complex, and nuanced humans they are.
50% of the population is women. 70% of drama school graduates are women.
It’s 2018. Let’s make other genders a part of the main.