The Bechdel Group is a New York City based theatre company. Our purpose is to foster writers writing for women by producing free readings, events, and performances that feature dynamic female roles. We also aim to foster an active and engaged community of actors, playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, and theatre lovers.
We work with scripts in development that include the feminine experience beyond a woman’s romantic relationships. While we acknowledge that love, sex, and romance are all primal parts of being women, we insist that no real, three-dimensional woman lives in a romantic bubble. We want stories about women with diverse, layered, complex lives.
All our events are free to the community. We believe that theatre should not be cost-prohibitive.
We welcome conversation around inclusion. What does it mean to be a woman? What do we mean by ‘female’? How can we better make space for our non-binary and trans community members?
We strive to cast our readings consciously. We are very aware that casting often defaults to white and cisgender and work to critically examine our own choices and include issues of intersectionality in our community conversations.
We aim to provide meaningful experiences for playwrights that lead to concrete writing development.
Our selection criteria is based on The Bechdel Test, which states that, in order to pass, a movie or play must contain: 1. two women (with names) 2. who speak to each other 3. about something other than their romantic relationships.
The Bechdel Test first appeared as a conversation in a comic strip of Alison Bechdel's. Although now an integral part of feminist film theory and criticism, The Bechdel Test was never meant to be a test. As such, we are excited to continue the discussion of what we believe the 'spirit' of the test to mean, how plays might push the boundaries of the test, and what we mean by 'woman.'
What We Do Monthly Readings Each month, we hold a workshop reading featuring two works in development. Actors (both pre-cast and from that evening’s community) read a roughly half hour selection of each script. Selections are followed by informal community discussion and guided playwright feedback. Overnight Writing Challenges Twice a year, we host an Overnight Writing Challenge, where ten playwrights each write a ten-minute play in 24 hours. Each script must include at least two women and have a central plot that does not revolve around romance. Staged Readings The Bechdel Group annually produces one full staged reading of a previously workshopped script.
Our History The Bechdel Group held its first reading on June 30th, 2014. Since that date, we have workshopped over 80 new scripts in progress.