A theatre director in Gananoque, Ont, has decided to break from an "antiquated, sexist, irrelevant practice" in the acting world by refusing to consider the weight of actors auditioning for parts.
Brett Christopher, managing artistic director with the Thousand Islands Playhouse, will no longer expect actors to include their height and weight on resumés when applying to audition.
'We cast for heart, brains, chutzpah and poetry. Not waistline.' - Brett Christopher, Thousand Islands Playhouse
"Please feel free to remove your 'measurements' and 'physical features' from your resumé. It is an antiquated, sexist, irrelevant practice and doesn't tell me anything about you as an actor," Christopher wrote in a Facebook post last week.
"We cast for heart, brains, chutzpah and poetry. Not waistline," he wrote.
"It's not like we required it before, but it's just industry practice," Christopher told CBC Radio's All in a Day. "This is what you're taught in theatre school: you put your physical specs at the top."
Christopher said he came to the realization after two full days of auditioning people in Toronto.
"It kept striking me as all of these people came through that at the top of their resumé under their name is their height weight, hair colour and eye colour — even before their experience or training."
Moving past old habits
Christopher's Facebook post gained hundreds of likes, shares and comments, with many expressing gratitude.
"What I'm looking for is people who have empathy, people who understand the human condition and can tell an audience about that through their performance," he said.
Christopher said he'd never heard complaints about the practice before, but after his post he's received hundreds of emails from people who shared the same sentiment.
He said the messages were predominantly from women.
"The whole idea of preconceiving of a role, what a role looks like, instead of the essence of the role, is done."