National Play Festival furore

The 2010 National Play Festival’s publicity material has been decried as sexist and demeaning to women.
[This is archived content and may not display in the originally intended format.]

As debate rages over the lack of opportunities for women directors and playwrights on Australian main stages, the National Play Festival – Australia’s leading market for showcasing new unproduced plays – has raised eyebrows and ire with its leading publicity image.

When the festival website went live on December 6, 2009, its front page featured – among other images including a dead or unconscious woman and an older woman in dressing gown and curlers – a sexualized image of a suspender-clad woman baring her buttocks at the viewer. A hyperlink on the woman’s buttocks led web browers to the ‘Performances’ section of the website. The image also appeared on collateral, including postcards, disseminated at the National Play Festival 2010 launch at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts on Thursday December 3.

Unlock Padlock Icon

Unlock this content?

Access this content and more

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts