After last year’s analysis of the 2012-13 DC theater season, which focused on playwright demographics, I determined to expand the scope of this year’s study and, in whatever ways I could, to make the data more extensive and robust. With that goal in mind, I brought new partners into the mix for this year. Patricia Connelly and David Mitchell Robinson, both playwrights themselves, have a level of comfort with and understanding of data that helped ensure the statistical and intellectual soundness of the endeavor. We’ve collaborated in our research, and we’ve also put our heads together to figure out how to track the upcoming season, what data points to gather, how to make our calculations, and what conclusions we can safely draw. This blog post, furthermore, has been vetted by all three of us as well.
This year’s analysis of the 2013-14 DC theater season explores more than playwright demographics; we’ve also taken a look at directors. In addition, we’ve investigated the plays themselves as well, though only to a modest extent. As of the writing of this blog post, our analysis is only partly complete. We’ve gathered data on roughly one-third of the theaters producing plays in the upcoming season, though those theaters represent approximately 70% of the plays being produced. We believe that these initial results are worthy of examination—thus this blog post—but we will continue to update our analysis throughout the coming year, too. We’ll present revised numbers toward the end of 2013, when we get closer to 50 or 60% of the theaters and 90% of the plays, then present final numbers at year’s end. (For reference, our analysis covers plays that are opening between September 1, 2013 and August 31, 2014.)
Wherever possible, the data we’ve presented have been compared with numbers from last year’s analysis. In some cases, direct comparisons are possible, but in others—because the nature of the analysis has changed—we are only able to make rough approximations.
If there are any questions about any of our statistical methods, we are happy to entertain them.