About Mask and Wig's Transition to Gender Inclusion
Is Mask and Wig open to students of all gender identities?
Yes! Last Spring, we made the decision to open up our membership. All Penn undergraduates, irrespective of gender identity, are invited to join the Cast, Writing Staff, Band, Business Staff, or Stage Crew. If you’re thinking about auditioning for Mask and Wig this Fall, fill out our interest form to connect with us! You can read more about each of our sections here.
Why did Mask and Wig make this change?
Last Spring, we made the decision to open up our membership in an effort to better reflect the full talent and diversity of Penn’s campus, while continuing our mission of “Justice to the stage; Credit to the University.” All students are now offered the equal opportunity to participate in the full Mask and Wig experience – which includes putting on professional-grade productions, performing in our historic center city Clubhouse, taking our show on Tour, and engaging with our vast alumni network. You can read more about our decision here.
Will Cast members be assigned to parts based on their gender?
Not necessarily. Just as SNL has cast members portray characters whose gender identities do not always match (i.e. Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer, Fred Armisen as Penny Marshall, etc.), it’s about casting the right performer for the right part, regardless of gender identity. In the burlesque theater tradition where Mask and Wig got its start, it was common to have people of both genders playing characters of the opposite gender.
What preparations has the organization undergone to welcome its first cohort of non male members?
Opening membership to students of all gender identities cannot be done without thoughtful preparation. Mask and Wig has engaged in Club-wide review processes, and a series of workshops and discussions with various campus resources. Click here to learn more about our specific preparations to ensure that Mask and Wig continues to be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space for folks of all genders.
If you are interested in hearing a non-White and/or non-straight perspective, including how identity may have shaped experiences in a formerly all-male group, please free to contact some of our members at [email protected].