170-year-old Harvard theater group to allow women to join cast for first time
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Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding theater group announced this week it would allow women to join the group’s cast for the first time in its more than 170-year history.

The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper, first reported on the change. Hasty Pudding’s president, Amira Weeks, announced the change during a celebratory roast of actress Mila Kunis during the group’s “Woman of the Year” event.

Weeks read a letter from former Hasty Pudding President Andrew Farkas to the crowd.

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“With no further fanfare, the graduate board of the Hasty Pudding Institute has determined that, commencing with the 2019 Hasty Pudding Show, the Hasty Pudding welcomes women to audition and perform in the roles in the show, and be given equal opportunity to play those roles based on the quality of their individual talents,” Weeks read.

The group’s cast has been male-only since its founding in 1844, even though women have held positions in the group’s business and tech boards, according to the Crimson.

The group’s website also notes that women “are involved in all other aspects of the show, from technical staff, to the band, to authoring and producing the show.”

Five former U.S. presidents, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, were members of the group.

The newspaper reports that women have been allowed to audition for the group in previous years, but none of them have received callbacks.

Kunis said that her decision to attend the event was based on the group’s decision to allow women into its cast.

“I’m here. I wouldn’t be otherwise,” she said, according to the Crimson.

“This is something that this program has always wanted to do,” she continued. “This has nothing to do with me or today, it’s simply something that was going to happen inevitably.”