Ergo Pink Fest was a 3-day theatre festival of staged readings in Toronto conceived and hosted by Ergo Arts Theatre. The idea for the festival was formed when Ergo Arts Theatre’s Artistic Director, Anna Pappas, read in the 2015 Equity in Theatre study by the Playwrights Guild of Canada that “The greatest disparity in gender equity happens in the playwright category.” While some progress has been made over the past two years in changing the dominant voice in theatre, Ergo Arts is committed to continuing the push forward toward equitable and inclusive art.
The company’s newest initiative gives voice to female and non-binary identified playwrights who have written one-act plays that showcase the stories of women and non-binary characters, on the condition that they meet these three requirements: 1. The script must feature at least two women/non-binary people, who both have names; 2. These two people talk to each other; 3. They talk about something other than a man. (Those of you familiar with the Bechdel Test will recognize the criteria!)
At the inaugural festival, selected playwrights took their first draft through three sessions with a professional dramaturge, three workshops with actors and a director, which culminated in a staged reading. The festival itself was a three-day event featuring the readings of the new works; and panel discussions around themes impacting female-identifying and non-binary artists and their work.