Theater

Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals Will Allow Women Next Year

The group, which honored Mila Kunis as its 2018 Woman of the Year, has come under fire recently for its lack of gender diversity.

Actress Mia Kunis is kissed by actors dressed in drag during a parade for Kunis in Cambridge, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. Kunis was honored as "Woman of the Year" by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals at Harvard University.

Photo via AP/Charles Krupa

For more than 220 years, Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals cast has been an all boys’ club. That’s about to change.

On Thursday, the group’s president, Amira Weeks, announced that women will be accepted into the show for the first time next year, according to the Harvard Crimson. The theatrical society has recently come under fire for excluding women from the cast of its annual over-the-top burlesque show. And though women have been involved in the technical and production aspects of past performances, they were excluded from appearing on stage.

Women have been pushing for inclusion in Hasty Pudding for years, and roughly a dozen actresses auditioned for the production last fall. None received callbacks, the Crimson reported.

On Thursday, Hasty Pudding honored its woman of the year, Mila Kunis, with a parade and roast in Cambridge. Several people, including Harvard students, called on Kunis to reject the award to stand up for gender diversity in theater. Public outcry was also stoked when it came to light that the group was charging $80 for tickets to Kunis’s roast and $200 to see the Man of the Year roast, which honors Paul Rudd.

A molecular and cellular biology student wrote in the Crimson that the show stands “as one of the most prominent vestiges of Harvard’s prior institutional discrimination,” and harkens back to the days when the Ivy League school was exclusively white men. Similarly, the Boston Globe referred to the theatricals as a “sexist throwback.”

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals society has selected Woman of the Year since at least 1951, according to WBUR. Previous honorees have included Octavia Spencer, Kerry Washington, and Amy Poehler.