Nebraska Shakespeare Company joins ‘50/50 by 2020’

Hailee Domagalski, Katie Otten and Hannah Clark played nuns in last year’s production of “King John.” The upcoming season will aim for 50/50 parity between men and women.

The Nebraska Shakespeare Company has joined a nationwide initiative to provide equal opportunities for women.

Called ‘50/50 by 2020,’ the movement aims to get gender equity in Hollywood and encourages local and state organizations to do the same. Nebraska Shakespeare has decided to integrate this into their current season and continue it until 2020 in the hopes of providing more opportunities for women on and off the stage.

Deborah Steinberg, a spokesperson from WomenArts, explained in a press release from Nebraska Shakespeare Company that the initiative supports parity for female theatre professionals. WomenArts is an organization dedicated to increasing the visibility of women artists in all art forms.

“The movement supports works written, directed and/or designed by women in the professional theatre and advocates for more opportunities for women to be involved in professional productions,” Steinberg said.

For Nebraska Shakespeare, this means altering traditional male roles on stage and allowing females to play them as they plan to in their all-female production of “All’s Well that Ends Well” in June and July.

“For the past 32 years, Nebraska Shakespeare has been thrilled to work with countless talented actors,” says Interim Artistic Director Sarah Brown. “Since Shakespeare wrote so few parts for women, however, we have only had the opportunity to work with a small percentage of local and national female artists. In our 33rd year, Nebraska Shakespeare is focusing on a Female Forward season, offering opportunities to more female artists than ever before.”

As one of Nebraska’s major theater companies, theater students at Creighton felt that this could set an interesting standard for the Omaha theater community as well.

“I think that’s a big step in the right direction toward equity in the workplace,” said College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, Talia Fittante. “As a musical theater major, it’s important for me to see this happening and know that there are possibilities in all positions in the arts.”

Fittante will be playing the role of Paulette Bonafonté in the Fine and Performing Art Department’s production of “Legally Blonde” next week. She noted that the arts industry can be a very difficult realm for women to break into and these spaces for women can make a huge difference.

“The arts are a mostly male-dominated field and this timeline sets a standard for actual, visible change.”

In addition to “All’s Well that Ends Well,” Nebraska Shakespeare Company will be producing “Timon of Athens,” “Hamlet” and “Othello.”

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