Gender Consultancy

Gender Consultancy (Theatre and Media)

Drawing on their lived experience as a queer, non-binary trans person, their academic background in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Theatre Studies, and their expertise as a theatre-maker and performer, Lloyd (Meadhbh) has served as a Gender Consultant for theatres and production teams across the UK and Ireland.

In this role, they work closely with creative organizations and artists to create safe, supportive, and well-informed working environments in which daring and truthful stories can be told in an inventive and sensitive manner. This can include:

  • Script consultation (conversations with playwrights, feedback on drafts, critical appraisals of established texts, etc).
  • Inclusivity trainings for production, front-of-house, and administrative staff.
  • Serving as part of the core artistic team for auditions, rehearsals, etc.
  • Rehearsal room support – combining dramaturgy with actor support (with goals similar to intimacy design)
  • Marketing and PR consultation.
  • Guidance for company management and front of house.
  • Written content for programmes, lobby displays, websites, etc.

Fees are charged on a sliding scale, depending on the size, purpose, and charitable/educational status of the organization in question.

Basically, my job is to ensure that gender, in all its messy splendour, and with all its personal, political, and social ramifications, is something that people at every level of the production can engage with safely and creatively […] The reason I favour the term ‘gender consultancy’ is because I believe that having a gender consultant involved is not only useful in productions explicitly dealing with gender diversity and trans experience, but in any creative context where gender is a significant theme or conceptual element.

There’s a common assumption that gender is only an ‘issue’ for gender-non-conforming people: that only those like myself, whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, need concern themselves with how they inhabit or relate to their gender. But, of course, as anyone who’s ever been told their haircut was too ‘butch’ or that ‘men don’t cry’ will tell you, gender is something with which we all grapple, in complex and evolving ways, at every stage of our lives […] It seems to me that any rehearsal process that doesn’t take these aspects of gender and processes of ‘gendering’ into account is going to deny itself a huge amount of its creative potential.

At the same time, by helping creative teams rethink what conventionally gendered traits like ‘aggression’ or ‘power’ (which tend to be coded as inherently ‘masculine’) and ‘compassion’ or ‘vulnerability’ (which have traditionally been framed as ‘feminine’) can look like in performance, and how they might be embodied in ways that don’t reinforce gendered norms, a gender consultant can greatly expand the expressive range of even the most familiar material.

Lloyd (Meadhbh) in an interview regarding their work on “Scandaltown”

Shows, companies, and programmes Lloyd (Meadhbh) has been involved with include:

Play On! by Cheryl L. West, dir. Michael Buffong (Talawa Theatre Company, forthcoming, c. 2024) – Gender Consultant.

Scandaltown by Mike Bartlett, dir. Rachel O’Riordan (Lyric Hammersmith, London, April–May 2022) – Gender Consultant.

“Dressing in Borrowed Rags: Performing Beyond the Binary” (Lyric Hammersmith, London, Springboard Training Programme, April 2022) – Workshop Facilitator.

– “Queer As… Expressing Yourself” (Contact Theatre, Manchester, Queer As F**K Festival Workshop, February 2022) – Invited Speaker and Facilitator.

“Supporting Diversity in the Arts”, 21 Artists for the 21st Century: A Mentor Programme (Our Story in the Making), Northern Ireland Office and Queen’s University, Belfast (August 2021) – Invited Speaker and Mentor.

Breakfast On Pluto (Work in Progress) by Bob Kelly and Duke Special (dir. Des Kennedy, Galway International Arts Festival, July 2019) – Gender Consultant.

Consultancy and Advocacy (Schools and Education)

Lloyd (Meadhbh) also regularly provides training, workshops, assemblies, and PSHE/RSE sessions on gender diversity, trans experience, and trans inclusion for students and staff in schools and educational institutions, and works with organizations such as Be Her Lead and Life Lessons RSE to ensure their programmes and resources are LGBTQIA+ inclusive.

Talks and workshops they have given include:

– “Trans Inclusion and Gender Diversity in PSHE”, How To Ensure Your PSHE Lessons Are LGBT+ Inclusive, Life Lessons RSE (June 2021).

– ”Unpacking the Gender Rucksack: Teaching and Learning Beyond the Binary”, Surviving and Thriving: Be Her Lead Annual Conference, 2021, Be Her Lead (March 2021).

Thank you […] for your workshop on unpacking the gender backpack – so many takeaways to bring into our work at The Girls Network. – Grace Veenman (Network Manager, The Girls Network)

– “Gender: Noun or Verb?”, Assembly and Workshop, Forest Hill School, London (March 2021) – Invited Speaker, Facilitator, and Consultant.

I thought it struck exactly the right tone and was very informative for our students. It was also delivered in a very professional and empathetic way. – Mr Sullivan (Headteacher, Forest Hill School, London)

– ”(Hyper-)Visibility and Its Discontents”, Non-Binary 101, TransLondon Network (January 2021) – Invited Speaker and Facilitator.

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