UCCS SignatureBig names in the theater world are scheduled to participate in a panel discussion Sept. 18 at UCCS in which they will address gender disparity among playwrights and directors in the industry, according to a recent news release.

According to the announcement, women currently make up more than 60 percent of theatergoers but write fewer than 25 percent of plays produced in the U.S. The discussion will address the disparity’s existence, its implications and the challenges it presents.

“This is important to UCCS from an academic perspective — in terms of building the future for our students who are studying theater and dance,” said UCCS spokesperson Tom Hutton. “But I think part of the idea is that it is something that hadn’t been discussed much [in Colorado Springs], so we’re bringing in these national names to help us sort through that.”

The panel will include: Carey Perloff, a playwright and artistic director at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco; Tina Packer, founding artistic director of Shakespeare and Company and an expert on women in Shakespeare; P. Carl, co-artistic director of ArtsEmerson and founder of the online theater forum HowlRound; and Teresa Meadows, an associate professor in UCCS’s languages and cultures department and a scholar of women in theater.

Kevin Landis, an associate professor in UCCS’s Visual and Performing Arts department, spearheaded organization of the event. Landis also directs the department’s theater and dance program.

“There’s a perception of theater and the arts as ‘forward-thinking’—that we should be more inclusive than other industries,” he said. “Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily see that reflected in the numbers.”

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The university plans to host another such event in February that will address issues related to race in the theater industry, according to the release. “Such events raise the profile of the Theater and Dance program as it prepares for growth and new opportunities at the Ent Center for the Arts, which will become the signature UCCS arts venue when completed in early 2018,” according to the release.

The “Gender and the American Stage” panel discussion, which is part of the university’s National Town Hall series, is free to the public and is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. in the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater on campus. (Advance registration for the event is required and available at www.theatreworkscs.org/tickets.html.)

“UCCS has an amazing platform to bring in great guests,” Landis said. “I want this program to be seen as a place where ideas thrive.”