Theatrical, a capella groups accept first women
Two performative student groups at Harvard have welcomed women into their acting and singing ranks for the first time, completing a pledge to go co-ed that comes among a wave of groups and organizations vowing to admit both sexes.
Both the theatrical group Hasty Pudding and the a capella group Din and Tonics now feature women in the groups’ respective performance lineups. Hasty Pudding this year cast half a dozen women for its 2019 show, “ending an almost two-century period during which only men could act in Pudding productions,” The Harvard Crimson reported. Din and Tonics, meanwhile, “admitted its first female member on Saturday,” the paper stated.
Hasty Pudding is known for its burlesque male cross-dressing performances. Activists have been agitating for the group to go co-ed for years; a petition in 2016 demanded that the group allow women to perform in its productions, while earlier this year the celebrity Mila Kunis had threatened to boycott a Hasty Pudding award ceremony if the organization did not open women to acting roles.
According to The Crimson, “Former Pudding President Andrew L. Farkas ’82 wrote in a letter at the time [of the award cermony] that the company had decided to go co-ed ‘some time ago’ and chose to keep the decision quiet until the Woman of the Year celebrations.”
Din and Tonics, meanwhile, will allow any member to join regardless of either sex or “gender identity,” according to the group’s constitution, amended most recently last November.
As Harvard’s artistic landscape pivots away from single-sex groups, its social scene is also shifting. Some campus social groups have come under fire from administrators in recent years for their single-gender status. Former University President Drew G. Faust debuted social group sanctions in May 2016 that bar members of unrecognized single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations from holding campus leadership positions, varsity athletic team captancies, and from receiving College endorsement for prestigious fellowships like the Rhodes.
In the years since, over a dozen previously single-gender social groups have gone co-ed or committed to doing so in the near future.
Though performance groups were not subject to those social group sanctions, The Crimson reports, university officials “reached out to [formerly all-female] Radcliffe Choral Society in spring 2018 asking the group to update its bylaws so it would come into compliance with the ‘mission of the College’.”
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