Artistic Directors. Values Worldwide.

This month I would like to share three things I came across. The first two are about increasing opportunities for women to access leadership positions in arts organizations, and the third points you toward the always interesting Visual Capitalist website.

New Arts Leaders

In Buffalo, New York, the theatre leadership scene is changing with the hiring of three women this fall by theatre companies. Each organization has a relatively small budget, and each produces a very diverse range of programming. The new leaders do an excellent job conveying their excitement and optimism on how they plan to connect to their communities and “make theatre that matters.”

Meanwhile, in Scotland, theatre companies have been making some progress in creating a more equitable gender balance over the last five years. The changes extend into casting, design, and music direction. However, the research shows there is still room for improvement. There is also a link in the article to a 36-page report called “Where are the Women? Part 2” That report is the data source for the online article and is worth your time.

Either article could be used in discussions about leadership, gender equity, and planning.

Valuing Values

The Visual Capitalist website can be a useful resource in the classroom to help students see the big picture on a wide range of topics. The posting early this month on values provides insights into what is important to people worldwide. The 56 values listed include family, relationships, and tradition, to name a few. The graphic shows 22 values spread across eight geographic clusters. Who would have guessed, for example, that the value of “Righteousness” would be as strong as it is in China? On the other hand, it is no big surprise that “Material Possessions” is a high value in North America, Europe, and China. The company that provided the data, Valuegraphics, has some interesting reports on its website in the “Publications” tab.

Another chart that I found fascinating shows What Happens Every Minute on the Internet. For example, YouTube users upload 500 hours of video every minute! You can sign up to have a free daily chart emailed to you. Try it. You might like it.    

In Closing

I waited an extra week to post this month until there was more certainty about America’s election outcome. In theory, the Biden/Harris win should have a positive impact on the arts community. However, there remains a great deal of uncertainty as we wrap up 2020 and head into the next year. Let’s hope there is more attention paid to how hard hit the creative industries have been due to the pandemic.

Thanks for subscribing to these posts and best wishes.

Bill Byrnes


New artistic directors represent seismic change in Buffalo theater

Jeff Miers Oct 15, 2020, Updated Oct 19, 2020, Buffalo

The year 2020 would have been historic in the Buffalo theater community even without a pandemic forcing the adoption of virtual performances and challenging the financial solidity of so many companies within that community.

Four major theater companies in the region have new artistic directors or managing directors this season who found that one of their first acts would be to cancel their seasons in terms of the traditional in-person theatergoing experience.

Significantly, three of the four  – Kate LoConti Alcocer at the Irish Classical Theatre Company, Annette Daniels Taylor at the Paul Robeson Theatre and Margaret M. Smith at Ujima – are women. While that flies in the face of the national average, where roughly 70% of artistic directors are white and male, it continues a local tradition led by such women as Mary Kate O’Connell (O’Connell & Company), Meg Quinn (Theatre of Youth), Loraine O’Donnell (Kavinoky Theatre) and the late Lorna Hill (Ujima).

Link to full article:


Scotland sees female representation in theatre soar

Women artistic directors remain seriously underrepresented in Scotland’s highest funded companies despite great strides towards parity overall.

By Liz Hill, ArtsProfessional, 11/05/2020

Opportunities for female creatives in Scotland’s publicly funded theatres have grown significantly in the past five years.

Scotland outperforms England and some other European countries on this measure of equality, according to new research commissioned by Stellar Quines theatre company.

The research, conducted earlier this year, found 48% of all creative roles at Scotland’s 26 publicly-funded theatre companies were held by women last year – up by 9 percentage points compared to similar research conducted in 2014/15.

Women were cast in 52% of the 523 roles in shows produced by these organisations, half of which are now artistically led solely by women. Five years ago, this figure was just 17%.

But despite progress on gender balance, five out of six artistic directors at Scotland’s highest funded theatres – Citizens, Dundee Rep, Lyceum, Traverse, Tron and The National Theatre of Scotland – are men. In contrast, 19 of 21 assistant directors are women. 

Link to full article:

Link to the “Where are the Women? Part 2” report


The World’s Most Influential Values, In One Graphic

By Dorothy Neufeld, 11/5/2020, Visual Capitalist

Our basic values can inform ideals, interests, political preferences, environmental views, and even career choices.

With sweeping data covering half a million surveys in 152 languages, Valuegraphics identifies 56 values that influence human behavior. It uncovers what people care most about around the world, through a contextualized dataset.

Link to the graphic: