In 2015, Washington DC’s theatre community came together to form the Women’s Theater Voices Festival, a festival of plays composed by female playwrights. Three years and a ton of hard work later, the Festival makes its triumphant return in January and February of 2018!
Twenty-seven DC theatres, including the Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, Round House Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, have come together to produce plays by some of world’s most talented female and female-identifying playwrights.
While the 2015 festival focused on world premieres, the 2018 Festival will include second and third productions of works by female playwrights. Which means this festival has something for every one.
For those of you with a culinary bent, “Aubergine” Julia Cho’s play about a son estranged from his dying father will be presented by the Olney Theatre Center. For you history buffs, Ford’s Theatre presents “Jefferson’s Garden.” Written by Timberlake Wertenbaker, this play about a young Quaker named Christian who splits from his family to join the Revolution. For diehard Women’s Voice’s Theater festival fans, last year’s favorite Caleen Sinnette Jennings returns with a sequel to her “Queens Girl in the World,” a play lauded as a break out hit by the New York Times.
In addition to including previously produced plays, this year marks a new partnership between The Women’s Voices Theater Festival, and the National New Play Network (NNPN) and New Play Exchange (NPX). Nan Barnett, the executive director of New Play Exchange will again serve as the Coordinating Producer, aided by with support from theatreWashington, led by President Amy Austin.
When organizing such a festival, it helps to have a ton of collaborators. “Theatres are compelled to come together to raise awareness,” Austin adding that that’s something that really makes DC Theatre unique. “Theatre is a collaborative art, but in DC we really have a community that’s willing to collaborate amongst institutions.”
Speaking of collaboration, the festival is also in partnership with International Women’s Voices Day. On or around January 21st, the one-year anniversary of the historic Women’s March, the festival encourages theaters around the world to join them in advocating for gender equality by presenting unproduced works by women playwrights. Using the New Play Exchange, theaters will find a previously unproduced play by a woman and, after obtaining permission, host a reading of the work for International Women’s Voices Day.
When asked what she’s looking forward to most in the festival, Austin highlighted the local DC playwrights, naming productions with Signature Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Company, and Nu Sass Productions. In a time of #MeToo, women’s voices are being amplified in an unprecedented way, what better way to support women voices by amplifying those right here in your local theater community?
The Women’s Voices Theater Festival runs from January 15- February 15, 2018. For more information or to purchase tickets click here.