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David Hare: I’ve been on about women’s lives for 45 years and nobody listened

The playwright said changes in the creative industries had been caused by forces outside of them.

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David Hare at the premiere of The White Crow (Ian West/PA)

David Hare at the premiere of The White Crow (Ian West/PA)

David Hare at the premiere of The White Crow (Ian West/PA)

Sir David Hare has said he sees little change in the film and theatre industries and that both are moving towards equality only because of the “pressure of change in society itself”.

The screenwriter and playwright, who enjoys a reputation for creating leading roles for women, noted that while there were more stories being told about women, the number of women working behind the camera remained tiny.

He added that he had been “going on about women’s lives for 45 years now” but nobody had listened.

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David Hare with Oleg Ivenko, Ralph Fiennes, Gabrielle Tana, Carolyn Marks Blackwood and Ilan Eshkeri (Ian West/PA)

David Hare with Oleg Ivenko, Ralph Fiennes, Gabrielle Tana, Carolyn Marks Blackwood and Ilan Eshkeri (Ian West/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

David Hare with Oleg Ivenko, Ralph Fiennes, Gabrielle Tana, Carolyn Marks Blackwood and Ilan Eshkeri (Ian West/PA)

Sir David, 71, said: “I think there is undoubtedly a change in the theatre and in the cinema. I don’t, I’m afraid, believe that it’s come from within the cinema and the theatre.

“I believe it’s come from outwith, it’s come from the pressure of change in society itself.

“And the way you know that is, yes, there are more stories about women, but the number of women behind the camera is still tiny.”

He cited Collateral director SJ Clarkson as an example of a woman who had struggled to find recognition in film.

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Ralph Fiennes acts in and directs The White Crow (Ian West/PA)

Ralph Fiennes acts in and directs The White Crow (Ian West/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Ralph Fiennes acts in and directs The White Crow (Ian West/PA)

Sir David last year said he was “sick to death” of hearing about the need to create “strong” female characters.

Responding to this, he said people had ignored how he had been writing diverse female parts for almost half a decade.

He said: “Look, I’ve been going on about women’s lives and about the importance of portraying women’s lives for 45 years now and nobody listened for the first 45 years.

“And at last, people are listening.

“Now I don’t think that’s a change in the industry, I think that’s a change in society… and the industry is running along behind.”

Sir David has written The White Crow, the Ralph Fiennes-directed film about Russian ballet star Rudolf Nureyev’s defection to the West in 1961.

The White Crow is released in cinemas on Friday March 22.

PA