CAMBRIDGE, MA (January 26th, 2018) – Yesterday, the Graduate Board of the Hasty Pudding Institute announced that, commencing with the 2019 annual production, the Hasty Pudding welcomes students of all genders to audition for and perform in the show. They will be given equal opportunity to play all roles based on the quality of their individual talents.The announcement was delivered by HPT’s undergraduate President Amira T. Weeks, immediately preceding the annual Woman of the Year Roast. She read from a letter written by the Hasty Pudding Institute’s Chairman, Andrew L. Farkas. In part it read: “While we have great respect for the art form that has been presented by the Pudding for over 170 years – an art form that dates back to Ancient Greek times – the world is a very different place today from when we were founded. We are very proud to take this organization forward as a leader in women’s rights and gender equality. The Hasty Pudding, absent the cast itself, was the first social institution at Harvard to go co-ed. We are proud to take this final step and look forward to our first fully open gender-neutral casting call for HPT 171.” The decision was the result of several years of internal discussions between the undergraduate members and alumni of the Hasty Pudding. The annual Woman of the Year celebration was determined to be an appropriate and exciting day to release the statement.
The announcement was met with two standing ovations by the audience assembled in the theater. Afterward, the event continued with the Pudding feting their 68th Woman of the Year, Mila Kunis, a long-time champion of gender-equality in the workplace.
The Hasty Pudding would also like to recognize the female members of the current company and those of the last several decades. The Pudding became co-ed during the same year that Harvard admitted women to the college. In those intervening decades, women have held numerous positions in the company, including writing shows, composing scores, choreographing, playing in the band, building sets, &c. Currently, five of the six undergraduate executive board members are women, including both producers and the president.
Following the announcement, undergraduate president Amira T. Weeks said, “We are so excited to announce our change to gender-inclusive casting. It's been a long time coming and was made possible by the hard work, support, and bravery of many different people. We’d like to thank all of those who have contributed to the dialogue that led to this decision. And I cannot wait to return next year as an alumna and look up at the Farkas Hall stage on opening night to see even
more diverse and spectacular talent.”
In the coming months, the Hasty Pudding will continue to plan for next year’s first gender- neutral cast. Casting will continue to be held at the beginning of September at which time further announcements surrounding the change can be expected.
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