The Hyphenates



We are THE HYPHENATES. A coalition of multi-talented; multi- careered women in the performing arts dedicated to creating works that prominently feature the female perspective. The world is changing, women’s voices are booming, and we feel a strong need to see this evolution and revolution reflected in the arts. Our goal is quality of vision, story, voice, direction and seats at the table. Women are 50.8% of the population.

It’s time.


Several years ago, the talented actress Marcia DeBonis invited several friends to a dinner party in her apartment. She said that she knew so many talented, multi-hyphenated (actor-writer, actor-director, actor-producer) women that she thought it was high time we convened. So that night, Marcia, Julie Ann Emery, Susan Ferrara, Marin Hinkle, Mary McCann, Susan Misner, Kellie Overbey, Susan Pourfar, Carrie Preston and Cynthia Silver came together and our collective, THE HYPHENATES, was born.


Over the following months, the friendships of THE HYPHENATES deepened, and we began rallying around each other’s projects: plays, films, acting, writing, producing. We shared contacts and made calls. We became invested in one another’s work. Then Susan Ferrara came to us with a play that she had written inspired by the work of a truly remarkable woman, a pioneer: Mary Ann “Buzz” Goodbody. She was the first woman to direct at the Royal Shakespeare Company, a prestigious organization and the ultimate boys club. In the eighth year of her term with the Company, she directed what would become the HAMLET of her generation, starring a then- unknown actor named Ben Kingsley.

Susan’s play epitomized everything we’d been talking about during our Hyphenate meetings: how to excel as women in what is still, remarkably, considered a man’s world. In Buzz’s case, she hit the glass ceiling extremely hard. We think of her as a fighter, a trailblazer, a leader, and an iconoclast. Very few people have heard of her, and we want to remedy that by bringing Buzz’s story to a larger audience. We understand that we rise faster in our professions if we rise together; if we pool our efforts and become resources for one another.

We believe that the view of women is largely created by what we see in entertainment and in order to change, shape and empower that view, we need to work together.

We invite you to come with us on this journey. We want to share Buzz’s story, all of our stories, with the world, and we hope you will join us.

Imagine if Buzz had found a Buzz to show her the way.


•Only 6.4% of the 347 feature films released in 2013-2014 were directed by women1

•Only 1.3% of the 347 of the feature films released in 2013-2014 were directed by minority women*

1 “9 Depressing Facts from the Latest Women in Media Report”, by Charlotte Alter, Time, February 9, 2014, based on the Women’s Media Center’s Annual Report on the status of women in TV, news, movies and social media

•Several of the major companies didn’t release a single film directed by woman (Warner Brothers, Disney, Weinstein Company, Open Road)*

•The major studios and the ‘mini-majors’ had the worst record of employing women directors - just 3.8% of their films were directed by women.*

•“The numbers indicate that women and minority directors are virtually shut out of this multibillion-dollar industry that has a deep financial and cultural impact on our global society,” said DGA Diversity Task Force co-chair Todd Holland.*

•Women filmmakers were asked to direct a paltry 7% of the top-grossing movies of 2014**

•Only 12% lead protagonists were female**

•Only 30% of the speaking characters in movies were female***

•In art museums, 80% of the art hanging on the walls is by men. The women’s work is stored in the basement.***

•In orchestras, until blind auditions, 20% of the players were women.***2

•In May 2015 the American Civil Liberties Union asked for an investigation into gender discrimination in the hiring of directors for movies and television

PHOTO: Buzz Goodbody *Directors Guild of America Report, by David Robb, December 9, 2015

*∗*For Your Consideration – “How Women in Hollywood are Finally Taking a Stand Against Sexism” by Ramin Setoodeh, Film Editor, NY, October 6, 2015 – Though Female-driven films have done well at the box office, women still lag far behind men in job opportunities in Hollywood.

*** “Why the Count Matters” by Marsha Norman, The Dramatist, November/December 2015