Dame Harriet Walter wants more women in plays

The leading British actress has made a call for playwrights and directors to stage more female-driven plays. Harriet Walter

Walter, who is currently playing playing Henry IV,  Brutus in Julius Caesar and Prospero in the Tempest, three male leads, claims that she has been driven towards taking male parts due to a lack of strong female parts.

The Guardian reports that statistics released last year by the Writers’ Union showed that work by female writers contributed to just 31% of plays staged in UK theatres in 2013. Research by 11 of Britain’s most important and influential theatre groups found that during six months of 2015,  only 29% of their plays were directed by women, and a very similar statistic were female actors.

Walter stated that imitating men shouldn’t be the only answer and that society should think beyond Shakespeare’s template of ‘…female’s who only matter in as much as they relate to those men’.

Despite admitting that males in the arts are  “very sympathetic” to these issues, Walter added:

“Male playwrights, on the whole, are probably more interested in male characters. They need women characters to be the women in their lives or to be the domestic difficulty.”

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