“You Can’t Be What You Can’t See” – An exploration into the underrepresentation of female theatre practitioners within the Scottish Higher and Advanced Higher Drama courses and the subsequent effects this has upon the theatre industry
This research project contextualises the underrepresentation of female theatre practitioners recommended within the Scottish Higher and Advanced Higher Drama curriculum, with the contemporary representation of women within the British theatre industry. Although gender and womanhood are contentious topics, for the purposes of this thesis, the researcher has defined the terms ‘female’ and ‘woman/women’ as the identification of any theatre practitioner, writer or character who chooses to identify/ is identified as female. In order to successfully execute this research, an interdisciplinary research design was adopted. This design consisted of a review of academic literature in relation to the standards and requirements of the Curriculum for Excellence and also the historical and present underrepresentation of women within the British theatre industry. Furthermore, qualitative data collection methods were employed; namely an online survey distributed amongst Drama teachers in the Central Belt of Scotland and a further two interviews with Edinburgh Drama teachers. From these research methods primary testimony was gathered which subsequently supported the contents of the academic literature review undertaken. The testimony of Drama teachers in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife provided the professional framework needed to contextualise this undergraduate study within Scottish education. From, the research findings, it was evident that the recommendations made by the Scottish exam board (SQA) for the Higher and Advanced Higher Drama courses are gender biased and thus reflect the literary canon. Furthermore, from the research undertaken within this thesis, it is indisputable that the underrepresentation of female theatre practitioners also reflects the present gender imbalance within the British theatre industry. It is therefore suggested that further academic and practical research is initiated in order to investigate this inequality.