Women in Contemporary Theatre

Women in Contemporary Theatre

As a woman who aspires to have her own work read, staged, and published, I find myself looking for female role models in the world right now who are doing what I want to do, contributing in distinct and powerful ways to the fabric of contemporary theatre.  A recent post by Helen Shaw on “Upstaged,” the theatre blog for TimeOut New York, provides insight into why this search continues to be a relatively limited one: there just are not that many female playwrights, directors, and producers.  Check out Shaw’s initial and follow-up posts, “Parity for Women Theater Artists: Report from the Working Group Event“and “Ladies’ Night is EVERY Night: More About Gender Equity.”

Shaw’s post has inspired me to showcase my first Florida theatre company: The Women’s Theatre Project in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Established in 2001, the WTP is the only professional theatre company in the nation that exclusively stages plays written by women that explore the female voice and feature all female casts–the contemporary antithesis of the English Renaissance stage. Their motto is “By Women. About Women. For Everyone.” Genie Croft is the company’s Artistic Director.  The company produces four productions each year and currently seeks submissions of full-length plays for its black box theatre.  Their next production, Naked Women Fully Clothed, a series of one act and short plays by various authors, will run from October 22- November 15, 2009.

The Women’s Theatre Project should not be confused with Women’s Project in New York City, though both provide great opportunities for women theatre artists.  Women’s Project, founded in 1978 by Julia Miles, touts itself as the nation’s oldest and largest company dedicated to producing and promoting theatre by women.  Julie Crosby has recently taken the helm from Julia Miles and now serves as Producing Artistic Director.  Women’s Project “Lab” is a two year program for early to mid-career women theatre artists; up to 10 playwrights, 10 directors, and 10 producers are selected.  The next application deadline will be in January 2010.  Their next production, Or, by Liz Duffy Adams, will run October 29- November 22, 2009; the play actually centers on the life of one of my favorite female playwrights, Restoration dramatist Aphra Behn.


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