Knowledge Sharing

We want PLEDGE to be a tool that artists and educators consider useful in their efforts to diversify the theatre repertoires being produced in Canada. For that reason, we share this resource with audiences of theatre artists and educators as widely as possible, and we always invite feedback on how the project might be improved.

On this page, we will post news, links, and documents related to our efforts to spread the word! If you have an idea for how we might reach out to your school or network, please get in touch!


December 2023

We advocate that theatre schools to make public commitments to improving gender parity and diversity in the repertoire of their productions. For instance, we recently spotted this commitment in the Strategic Plan at the Canadian College of the Performing Arts in Victoria:

“The College has made an increased commitment to Canadian content inclusion, requiring students to have a foundational Canadian repertoire. Committing to the Pledge Project, we acknowledge that educational institutions with a large proportion of female students need to ensure their voices are being served with an increased proportion of female playwrights and directors.”


September 2023

Sharable poster from our online playreading event celebrating the expansion of PLEDGE to include two-spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming creators along with women. The event featured excerpted play readings by Sunny Drake, Adjani Poirier, and Andrea Scott, all of whom have work in the PLEDGE database.


September 2023

The press release celebrating the expansion of the PLEDGE database with the annoucement of our online playreading event.


September 2023

PLEDGE launches new Instagram and Facebook pages. Be sure to follow us!


February 2021

On the occasion of its 5th anniversary, the creators of PLEDGE organized a panel presentation for the annual congressional meeting of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR), which that year met exclusively online.

The panel, titled “PLEDGE Project at 5 Years: CATR Panel Presentation about Gender Parity in Canadian Theatre Programs,” included reflection on the project from its initial web designer, Mariel Marshall, co-founders Rebecca Burton and Barry Freeman, and research assistant Alexa Elser.

The session was attended by Canadian theatre researchers and educators who provided constructive suggestions about how we might better attract traffic to the site, and learn more about how decisions are made around choosing productions at post-secondary schools.

More information on the meeting can be found here.


February 2021

Critical Digital Methods Institute

On 22 February 2021, co-founders and project leads Rebecca Burton and Barry Freeman presented at a “faculty workshop” of the Critical Digital Methods Institute, a research cluster in the Department of Arts, Culture & Media at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

At the workshop, Rebecca and Barry talked about their ongoing efforts to translate their work on PLEDGE into systemic change in the field. Attendees were researchers in arts and media and they provided useful feedback on the projects website design, mandate, and strategies for engaging educators and artists.


September 2019

PLEDGE co-founder and project lead, Rebecca Burton, publishes a paper in the journal alt.theatre entitled, “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Canadian Theatre Here and Now – Part 1: Playwrights Guild of Canada and its Women’s Caucus,” which traces the advocacy of women-identifying playwrights in Canada in effecting change in the Canadian theatre industry. The article contextualizes the PLEDGE project alongside similar efforts, such as SureFire and the American Kilroys.

February 2019

PLEDGE made another appearance at the 2019 FOOT festival where they had a presentation solely dedicated to PLEDGE.

To learn more visit https://www.cdtps.utoronto.ca/events/festival-original-theatre-foot-2019-equity-diversity-performance.

February 2018

In 2018, the PLEDGE Team presented a panel entitled “Pledging to Change: Diversity and Disability in Post-Secondary Theatre Curricula” as part of U of T’s Festival Of Original Theatre (FOOT). Held on Saturday, Feb 3rd, 2018, the panel included Alex Bulmer, Rebecca Burton, and Barry Freeman with moderation by Sarah Robbins. More information on the festival can be found here.

2017-2018

PLEDGE receives pledges from two academic institutions (the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor) to produce more plays written by women!

For more information check out our archived page on pledged institutions.

July 2016

In July Of 2016, Ainslee beer, on behalf of equity, prepared a gender based analysis on theatre awards in Canada from 1992 to 2015.

You can review the analysis here.

Winter 2016

In the winter of 2016, Nicholas Hanson and Alexa Elser authored the article “Equity and the Academy: A Survey of Theatre Productions at Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions,” examining gender equity on the post-secondary stage. What they found would highlight the need for resources like PLEDGE.

For more information, you can read Hanson and Elser’s article below.

April 2015

In 2015, Michelle MacArthur authored a report with, best practice recommendations, on achieving equity in Canadian theatre.

To read MacArthur’s findings be sure to read the report here.

October 2006

In October of 2006, Rebecca Burton wrote a report on the phase one findings of equity in Canadian theatre: The women’s initiative. The report, Adding It Up: The Status of Women in Canadian Theater, can be found here.