I'm currently working on a report for the Writer's Guild of Great Britain about ageism in theatre with particular focus on writer development opportunities. Below is a series of questions I will put to theatres, but I'd like some feedback before I do that. Have I missed out any questions? Are there any other questions you think I should ask?
We have a Facebook group called 'Written Off! where you can post feedback or you can find my contact details and email me via my website
1. Theatres do a great job of targeting underrepresented groups, but not often when it comes to age: When targeting underrepresented groups in your writer development programmes, do you specifically include older writers as an underrepresented group, and what do you consider to be an older writer?
2. Age restricted opportunities: Do you run age restricted writer development projects? What are the target age groups? Is this dictated by funding or artistic policy?
3. There is a perception that open opportunities are not really open to all ages: Where you run writer development opportunities that are not age restricted what are the ages of those who have participated over the past 3 years?
4. Use of the word ‘Young’ obviously excludes older writers: Do you use the word young in opportunities where there is no age restriction? Have you used the word young where you actually meant new? Are there images of older writers on your website?
5. Finding the very best new writing: Do you have a statement outlining what you aim to achieve through your writer development opportunities? How do you ensure that it encourages the broadest possible range of applicants?
6. In my research so far I have discovered a general preconception that literary departments are run by young white males. Could you share details of your team using basic equality monitoring figures?
7. In my research so far it has emerged that older women face specific barriers. Do you have opportunities aimed specifically at women that are open to any age? Do you do anything to specifically encourage older women to apply? If so what are the ages of participants over the past three years?
8. Please give examples of good practice where you feel your organisation is offering good opportunities to older writers, or where your organisation is making an effort to reach this group.