Theater Jobs Mostly Go to White Men, According to New Study


When it comes to diversity in theater, women and minorities are unsurprisingly underrepresented in the industry.

According to a new study from the labor union Actors’ Equity that looks at employment data from 2013-2015 shows, minority stage managers and actors are getting fewer jobs then their white, male peers. In the most lucrative productions, like Broadway shows and national tours, women reportedly had only 35 percent of the principal roles in plays, 42 percent of principal roles in musicals, and 37 percent of stage manager jobs.

White people are hired for the majority of on-stage contracts and have higher salaries, with black members reporting salaries 10 percent lower than white members on average. And only 11 percent of the principal roles Broadway and touring plays and nine percent of those in musicals go to black performers. According to the New York Times, six of 137 stage management jobs for Broadway and touring productions during 2013-2015 went to black people.

The study comes at a time when companies, critics, and actors are taking a hard look at diversity in the theater industry. A study released last year from the Asian American Performers Action Coalition found that there was an uptick in casting more actors of color in New York theater and earlier this year New York’s Midtown Theatre Subdistrict Council pledged $2 million to different organizations to help increase diversity in NYC theaters.

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