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  • 24 Nov 2016 7:22 PM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)

    In the holiday shopping season, let's reflect on a simpler lifestyle focusing on what we have and helping those who have less. 

    December Spotlight:  Debbie Miller

    Debbie Miller is a New York City-based playwright. She maintains a simple  lifestyle in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

    This is from her website www.DebbieLMiller.com

    I tend to write female characters who are marginal in some way -- a tea leaf reader, a 1950s housewife yearning for freedom, a Bangladeshi immigrant, a young mother from the Ozarks, an Appalachian mountain healer, and a shopping-addicted suburban homemaker. 


    Q:  What made you start writing plays? 

    A:  I'd gotten involved in community theater and stand-up comedy in the 1980s when I lived in Moorhead, Minnesota. I took my first improvisation and acting classes at the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater.   

    When I moved to Knoxville, Tennessee a few years later, I continued doing stand-up and took improvisation and acting classes there. I founded an improv troupe and performed in a play for the first time, at Theatre Knoxville, a community theater. Playwriting seemed the next logical step because I found creating characters and writing dialogue came easy to me, especially after learning to improvise. I wrote my first play, "Tea Leaves," in a playwriting class in 1996 during a three-month visit to New York City. "Tea Leaves" was a tribute to my mother, who died that year. 

    Q:  What makes you continue to write plays?

    A:  Playwriting allows me to use my acting, improvisation, and dialogue-writing skills. When I write plays and monologues, I hear the dialogue in my head and imagine the stage and scenes in my mind. I've been an actor as well as a writer (and I've directed a few plays Off-Off-Broadway), so bringing stories to life onstage seems natural to me. I like being on stage and I like creating characters who become three-dimensional when they move from page to stage.  

    Q:  Where are you originally from and what makes you continue to live and write in New York City?

    A:  I  was born and raised in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from college in 1973, I got married and moved to Missouri to attend grad school; then, lived in West Virginia, Minnesota, and Tennessee before divorcing and moving to New York in 1997. I've lived in New York (Manhattan first, then Brooklyn where I live now) for 19 years--longer than I've lived anywhere since leaving Ohio.  

    Q:  Where have your plays been produced?

    A:  My plays and monologues have been produced Off-Off-Broadway and in a few states. I've performed in some of my plays and have performed several of my monologues Off-Off-Broadway, as well as performing two one-person shows Off-Off-Broadway when I was involved in a small theater company. A couple of my plays were in the Samuel French Original Short Play Festival.

     Q:  Do you do other kinds of writing?

    A:  I've been a freelance writer on and off since 1990 when I was a fact-checker at a publishing company in Knoxville. I was a stringer for the Knoxville News-Sentinel and I've recently been reviving my freelance writing career now that I'm no longer teaching English. I write memoir, personal essays, features, profiles, short stories, flash fiction, Web content, news articles, and humor pieces. I'm planning to add writing case studies and white papers to my skill set.  I've also written a screenplay and plan to write a novel.                                                                          

     Welcome New Members

    Robyn Brooks M.F.A., poet and playwright, earned her M.F.A. in Poetry, from Mills College, and her B.A. in English, from UC Berkeley.  She is an Emily Chamberlain Cook Prize in Poetry recipient, former Student-Teacher-Poet for June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and a VONA/Voices alum.  Her poetry has been published in Berkeley Poetry Review, Penumbra, Milvia Street, The Walrus, The Womanist, What I Want From You: Voices of East Bay Lesbian Poets, Generations Literary Journal, and blues arrival:  stories of the queer black South and migration.  Her chapbook, venus in retrograde, was published by Finishing Line Press.

    Brooks studied playwriting with Carol Wolf.  She participated in PlayGround, in residence at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2007-2013. Her plays have been staged at Berkeley Repertory Theatre for Monday Night PlayGround, Tennessee Women’s Theater Project Women’s Work, Theatre of Yugen, S.F., CA, Los Angeles Women’s Theater Project, Theatre Rhinoceros, S.F., CA, LunaSea, S.F., CA, and Mills College, Oakland, CA.

    Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for Huffington Post, TEDx and RAINN speaker, award-winning health advocate, actress and playwright,  sharing the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, artwork, performance  and inspirational speaking.  She has headlined international conferences as a keynote speaker, and as author and star of "Gutless & Grateful", her one-woman musical autobiography, since its NYC debut in 2012.  Her writings have appeared in over 70 online and print publications, and her story has appeared on TODAY, Cosmopolitan and CBS.  She's currently touring a mental health advocacy/sexual assault awareness program to colleges nationwide.

    Email: amyoes70@gmail.com
    Website address -
    amyoes.com
    Facebook page -
    facebook.com/amyoestr

    Now Playing & Coming Soon
    If you have a play that will be in production anywhere between January 1 – January 31, please email Amy  (amydrake1018@aol.com) before December 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the January newsletter.  If you have a play that will be produced anytime between February 1 and February 28, it will appear in the COMING SOON column. 



    "A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas" by Kris Bauske is having at least three productions this month.  

    Theatre Quadra at the Quadra Community Centre 970 West Rd. Quadra Island B.C. Canada will present "A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas" December 16, 17, & 18. To join in the madcap merriment, contact Linda Lolacher at theatrequadra@gmail.com or 250-285-2203. Visit their website for more information.

    The Theatre Factory at 235 Cavitte Avenue Tafford, PA 15085 will present "A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas" from December 2-18, 2016.  Call 412-374-9200 for more information, or check their website.

    Theatre Atchison at 401 Santa Fe Street in Atchison, KS 66002 will present "A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas" December 2-4 & December 9-11. Call 913-367-SHOW (7469) for more information, or check out their website.


    The Fast and Furious One-Minute Playwright Foundation (San Francisco-- @PWfoundation) shorts has six ICWP members out of their 40+ playwrights for their 70 plays. Dec 3rd at 8 PM at the Brava Theatre @Brava Theatre, and Dec 4th at 5PM. Fun is promised for all. Our members include: Roberta D'Alois, Carol Lashoff, Patricia Milton, Pat Morin, Evelyn Jean Pine, and Madeline Puccioni. Tickets on sale--really a great price!

    Carolyn Kras's play "THE SUBJECT" is in the Blank Theatre's Living Room Series on Monday, Dec. 5 at 8 PM at The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre at 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038.  It is a female-driven play with seven roles for women, and the story is about a sexual assault cover-up.  The play has had over ten readings through The Subject Project, a theatre movement to raise awareness about sexual assault issues.


    "Gutless & Grateful" by Amy Oestreiche, the inspirational one-woman musical, returns to New York, February 5th and 25th.  It will be playing at the Metropolitan Room.

    Articles of Interest:  Radical Hospitality and Anti-Consumerism
    by Karin Williams

    Playwright Anna Deavere Smith gave a lecture on "Radical Hospitality" at Harvard University, exploring the urgent socio-political importance of the concept in today's world.

    Hedgebrook, a writer's retreat for women, offers radical hospitality to people who are used to nurturing others.

    Those Women in Berkeley pracitce radical hospitality with their pay-what-you-can policy and find feminism in the most unlikely places.

    Minneapolis's Mixed Blood Theatre has found a new audience by eliminating cost barriers.  And they kicked off Radical Hospitality with a season of challenging work. 

    After the bitterness of the election season, celebrate an anti-consumerist holiday with Reverand Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir at Joe's Pub in New York City.

    This Black Friday, celebrate Buy Nothing Day and escape the shopocalypse.

    The Buy Nothing Project offers people a way to give and recieve, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies.




    Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,
    Mona Curtis


  • 26 Oct 2016 11:17 PM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)

    November Spotlight:  Diane Taber-Markiewica
    by Eliza Wyatt

    Diane Taber visited me in my living room last night, even though we live three thousand miles apart.  The human voice over the landline phone is still a miracle we take for granted and yet has immense importance to me, as a playwright. It was revealing to hear her laugh, her rhythms (she’s a musician) and absorb her enthusiasms.

    Diane Taber was a founding member of the International Women’s Playwrights’ Conference in Buffalo, New York, where she grew up.  This accords with my experience of home turf being a good place to stand when you want to reach the rest of the world. Her family were interested in the arts and there was music at home;   her father enjoyed treading the boards and was an accomplished actor.  Her life was changed, however, by a performance of "A Taste of Honey" by Shelagh Delaney by a local theater group, the Studio Arena Theater of Buffalo.   Swept away by the play, Diane applied for and won a scholarship to study there.  I note with pleasure that the work was written by a woman about a disadvantaged girl in Northern England.  It was a seminal play for many of us in the U.K., a play written when Shelagh was eighteen.  

    Diane was inspired by her training and that play to connect with other women in theatre and provide support.  Her motto was "Never Alone Again".  As Communications Director, she realized the enormous potential of the fledging organization of women playwrights, which was established the year following the first conference in Buffalo in 1988.  She introduced and edited a quarterly newsletter, Seasons, whose readership grew to over 1100 women in 48 different countries. 

    During the nineties Diane remembered being thrilled with the opportunity to read so many scripts from women across the world who wanted their plays read and performed at the conferences.  The importance of the group continued to grow and have an impact by championing women who were under threat in their own countries, notably by supporting the Bosnian Women Playwrights performance tour of 1997 and the successful international effort that secured the release of celebrated playwright, Ratna Sarumpaet of Indonesia.  She feels proud that the Fourth Conference in Galway in 1997 had such an impact.  Not content with the International outreach, which reached women in India, Africa, South America and Canada, Diane realized, while living in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1999 that the International Women Playwrights Conference should be appended by smaller regional U.S. conferences, beginning with Dayton, Ohio.  Activism has to begin close to home.

     It was with great delight that I was able to access Diane’s first play, Headwind, through the magic of YouTube.  This was a reading of the hour long play set in Seventeenth Century Maine.  Her play was based on much research and included an authentic sea shanty, although she tells me the romance between the two main characters was fictional.

    Diane has remained a passionate support of ICWP but her music career has taken off since in 2006 she began writing her own songs.  She has formed her own production company, DTM-Music and Didja Tangle the Muse Publishing.  Her recent work has received international airplay and praise.  And the future?  Diane, like all of us, hope that theatre will continue to reach young people even if venues and equity performances prove too expensive to be experimental.  Perhaps the fact that halfway across the world, I could enjoy her play on YouTube is a taste of things to come.                                                                         

     Welcome New Members


    Kristin (K.D.) Carlson’s writing has appeared in The Asheville Poetry Review, Shark Reef Literary Magazine, Daily Serving and Writer’s Digest Magazine. Her play, “The Job Interview” was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Minnesota Shorts competition. “Eudora’s Box,” a 2010 new play pick, was produced at Thunder River Theatre Company in 2012, and her award-winning drama, “Unmarried in America,” has been produced statewide in Colorado and nationally. She is currently at work on a first novel.

    Her stage plays have been selected for the Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region, the Chicago Snapshots Festival, Colorado’s CCTC Festival, and the National AACT Fest, where her drama about the impact of the Prop 8 trial, “Unmarried in America,” earned the coveted Best Ensemble Production. A screenplay version is now in development with AEC Studios.

    Carlson is a Bronze Tablet graduate of the University of Illinois and holds a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where she was selected as an outstanding instructor. She was awarded a Dramatists Write Change Scholarship in 2015 and serves as a Colorado teaching artist in residence.

    Dramatists Guild Page Link:
    https://www.dramatistsguild.com/memberdirectory/getmembership.aspx?cid=36624

    Elin Hampton, USA
    Most recently, Elin Hampton’s ten-minute play F4, was a national finalist at CityWrights, where it received a full production in CityWrights Summer Shorts. This past summer, her ten-minute play THINGS THAT MATTERED was produced for Studio Players’ 10-Minute Play Festival in Lexington, Kentucky and had a reading at the Samuel French Book Shop at its first Short Play Festival. Her plays have also been produced at The York Theatre, The Road Theatre Co., the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Greenway Arts Alliance, The Collective (NY), Open Eye Theatre and EST/LA’s Winterfest. AMOTHER MUSICAL (book, lyrics) is licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights, and was produced July 2016 at the Musical Theatre Guild in Butler, PA. Other works are published in Smith & Kraus’s: Best Ten Minute Plays 2015 and in Applause Theatre Book: Contemporary

    Monologues for Kids 7-15. Television credits include "Mad About You," “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” "Dream On," "Pinky and the Brain,” “Rugrats,” “The Wild Thornberries,” John Leguizamo’s House of Buggin’,” “Life’s Work,” “The Gregory Hines Show,” “Barclay’s Beat,” and “The Jackie Thomas Show.”

    Representative Play Titles

    The Bells of West 87th, Amother Musical

    Jodie Leidecker, USA

    In fourth grade, I started writing poems and by sixth grade, I'd moved on to soap operas and a school play.

    I've done technical writing for industry, newsletter and press release writing for colleges and nonprofits, blogging, and essay and humor writing for the web. I've written for various humor sites and self-published a series of funny essays. I've most recently begun writing plays, several of which have been performed in theater festivals in New York City.

    Everyone has a story. I love finding that story and telling it.

    Representative Play Titles

    John; Dr. Hoxley; There Are No Straight Lines in Nature; Stockpile; Apocalypse Fatigue

    Now Playing & Coming Soon



    Sandra deHelen
    November 18, 7:30 p.m.
    A New Daddy
    My ten-minute play about a Midwestern family surviving the loss of the father in 1952 will be presented as a public reading by The Scripteasers in San Diego, California. Free and open to the public, at 3404 Hawk Street.

    Nancy Gall-Clayton
    November 14, 7:30 p.m.

    Bernice Sizemore's 70th Birthday is the first in a series of staged readings of plays with LGBTQ themes by Louisville-area playwrights presented by Pandora Productions. Surprises arrive on Bernice's birthday including a gun and a gift certificate for a tombstone. Yoga-loving square-dancing Bernice has a few surprises of her own for her workaholic daughter and the son she hasn’t spoken to since he announced he was gay.

    Jeanne Drennan’s Get out of Dodge will have its premiere production November 3-20 at the Venice Theatre, in Venice, Florida. For more information, see venicestage.c


    Articles of Interest:  Feminism

    by Karin Williams

    Women who make theater and film will benefit from a new 5 million dollar fund in NYC. The program, started by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, will also offer women opportunities to network with financiers.

    For over thirty years the Guerrilla Girls have been bringing feminist theatre to the masses.

    Chicago’s visionary, female-driven Artemisia Theatre Company is currently staging Shrewish, a feminist adaptation of the bard.

    Equality for Women in Irish Theatre is a grassroots movement calling for equality for women across the Irish theatre sector. #WakingTheFeminists.

    Feminist theatre was alive and well at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, according to the The List.

    Washington Ensemble Theatre is focusing on feminism in their 2016-17 season.


    Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis


  • 02 Oct 2016 6:37 AM | Anonymous

    Announcing the 2016 50/50 Applause Awards

    For the awards’ 5th anniversary, ICWP recognized 107 recipients in ten countries on five continents. The list includes theatres in Australia, Canada, England, Italy, Kenya, the Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. Approximately 32% of the theatres are repeat recipients, demonstrating gender parity in two or more seasons. Recipients range from community and college theatres to internationally renowned theatres.


    To watch the video click here.

    Welcome New Members

    Susan Fete

    Renaissance Theaterworks, USA

    Facebook Page

    sfete@r-t-w.com

    Alice Flanders

    Know Theater, USA

    https://www.facebook.com/knowtheatre/

    aflanders@knowtheatre.com

    Charlotte Higgins

    coachcharlotte@yahoo.com

    Morgan Manasa, USA

    mamasasss6@gmail.com

    Jajube Mandiela, Canada

    jajube@bcurrent.ca

    www.facebook.com/jajube

    Mahindokht Mohasseb, Iran

    Mahindokht Mohasseb was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1947. She holds an LL.B and an LL.M
    degree in Law. She is an attorney-at-law and has authored several books in her field (Genocide,
    Access to Justice, Human Rights and Women). Mahin has always been interested in theater and
    has published twelve plays focusing on women’s rights and issues.

    mahin.mohasseb@gmail.com

    Macey Mott

    Riot Act, Inc.

    riotactinc@earthlink.net

    Elisabeth Ng

    Brooklyn Repertory Theatre

    brooklynrepertory@gmail.com

    https://www.facebook.com/brooklynrepertory

    Now Playing & Coming Soon

    If you have a play that will be in production anywhere between November 1 – November 30, please email Amy  (amydrake1018@aol.com) before October 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the November newsletter.  If you have a play that will be produced anytime between December 1 and December 31, it will appear in the COMING SOON column. 


    AMELIA LIVES by Laura Shamas is a one-woman show about Amelia Earhart. It runs Sept. 24 - October 2, 2016, produced by American History Theater, San Diego, California, at the Women's Museum of California. For more details and ticket info: http://www.americanhistorytheater.org/amelia-lives

    Amy Drake’s play MODEL BEHAVIOR, a 10-minute comedy about the fashion industry, will run Oct. 7-9, 2016, at the Prescott Center for the Arts in Prescott, AZ as part of the Female Playwrights ONSTAGE project with Little Black Dress INK. Here is the link for more info: http://www.littleblackdressink.org/

    Nancy Gall-Clayton’s short comedy Wallaroo, the Goldfish is included in the AlphaNYC Thalia Festival, featuring plays with female characters written by female playwrights on the B and C bills. The festival runs October 6-16, at 7 pm or 9 pm. Tickets are $30. Roebuck Studio & Theater is in Times Square, 300 W. 43rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, Suite 402.

    Articles of Interest

    The Subject Project, a theatre movement dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault issues and protesting lenient rape sentences, launched in September with multiple readings of the new play THE SUBJECT by Carolyn Kras. Readings will continue throughout 2016-2017 at theatres and universities. Check out thesubjectproject.wordpress.com for more info or to get involved.

    365 Women a Year invites women playwrights to create plays about herstorical women! Now in it’s third year, the project involves over 200 playwrights who have signed on to write one or more one-acts about extraordinary women in both past and present history.

    Women in the Arts and Media Coalition offers a centralized resource for the advancement of professional women in the arts and media industries. The coalition is comprised of member organizations which combine their efforts.

    The League of Professional Theatre Women seeks to promote visibility and increase opportunities for women in the Professional Theatre. With a membership of nearly 500 women representing a diversity of theatre professionals in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, the League welcomes actors, administrators, agents, arrangers, casting directors, choreographers, company managers, composers, critics, designers, directors, dramaturgs, educators, general managers, historians, journalists, librettists, lyricists, playwrights, press agents, producers, stage managers, and theatre technicians.

    50 50 in 2020 Sponsored by Women’s Project, New Perspectives Theatre, and the League of Professional Theatre Women, the goal of 50 50 in 2020 is to achieve parity for professional women theatre artists by 2020.

    The Magdalena Project is an international network of women in contemporary theatre and performance. It aims to increase awareness of women's contributions to theatre and to create the artistic and economic structures and support networks to enable women to work


    Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis

  • 01 Sep 2016 5:52 AM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)

    September Spotlight:  Naijeria Toweett

    Naijeria Toweett is passionate about equality and empowerment especially among minority and vulnerable populations.

    She is a drama graduate from Newcastle College, UK. She has worked in the arts having held the position of an administrative assistant to Dance City, Newcastle. On returning to her native Kenya in 1997, she together with other young female artists formed Women in Participatory Educational Theatre (WEPET), Kenya’s first all women theatre company. She has held various positions in several dance and theatre organizations in Kenya among them, Institute of Performing Arts (IPAL), The Theatre Company (TTC) and Dance Into Space (DIS) where she now sits on the board.

     Naijeria has also worked as a program officer for Most At Risk Populations in Liverpool VCT Care and Treatment and the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya – GALCK.

    Naijeria loves digital media and for the past three years she has been the social media manager of Love Matters Africa, a project that targets young people with sexual reproductive health information. The Love Matters Facebook page is ranked in the top 25 among the most engaging Kenyan-based pages.  

    Naijeria has recently scripted and directed a web soap series on Love Sex and Relationships for a Love Matters mobile platform.

     She has been an ICWP member since 2009.

    Welcome New Members

    Marjorie Conn, USA
    Actor and Producer
    3 plays are published in Lost Lesbian Lives

    Joyce Fontana, USA
    jfontana@frontier.net

    Nurse Practitioner

    Specialty Geriatrics, Palliative Care

    THEATER/INTERESTS: Theater has been a life-long interest, from enjoying community to Broadway performances, nurturing and supporting an actor son, providing financial support to local art centers, being a crowd-funder to fledgling producers, and writing one act and full length scripts, drama and comedy.  Lives, plays, works and writes in beautiful Southwest Colorado where she resides with her husband and three dogs.

    PRODUCTIONS, READINGS:
    23 Skidoo. Performed at the Durango Arts Center 10 Minute Play Contest, Durango CO, September, 2013

    Trail Meetups, Performed at the Manhattan Short Play Lab, New York City, October, 2014

    Satellite Buddha. Performed at the Secret Theater One-Act Play Contest. Queens, New York City, September 2015

    Exhibitions at a Picture, Finalist, reading at Festival 56 New Works Play Writing Competition, Princeton IL July 2016

     

    Jane Prendergast, USA
    Jane has had many productions of short plays, such as "NOLA Goodbye", "The Diers" "May 10" and "After the Fire" and readings by NYU's hotINK festival, Genesius Guild and other organizations of full-length plays including "Memories are Made of This", "Act of Peace" and "Echoes: 1938"

    Most of my work is connected with human rights issues such as abuses perpetrated by peacekeeping forces, prosecutorial misconduct and the convictions of the innocent.

     

    Now Playing

    Christine Emmert's play, SAY NO MORE, a re-thinking of Strindberg's THE STRONGER, will be part of the Philadelphia Fringe 2016, presented on September 15,16,17 at 7:30 in Jed Williams Gallery, 315 Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $10. Call 610-917-1336 for information.

    The Athena Cats present the World Premiere of Blueprint for Paradise, by Laurel Weztork.  Set in Los Angeles just before the US declares war on Japan in 1941. The play explores wealth, racial tensions, Nazis, the Mothers of America, and other pre-war political groups. 

    PLAYING AT: Hudson Theatre Mainstage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038
    July 30 – September 4:  Fridays and Saturdays @ 8:00 pm, Sundays @ 3:00 pm
    Tickets: 
    https://www.plays411.net/newsite/show/play_info.asp?show_id=4458
    Check Goldstar for last-minute and discounts.


    Coming Soon

    MODEL BEHAVIOR, a ten-minute play by Amy Drake, will be performed in the Little Black Dress INK's Women Playwrights ONSTAGE theater festival, Oct 6-8, 2016, at the Prescott Center for the Arts, Prescott, AZ. More information may be obtain on the website: http://www.littleblackdressink.org/ and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LittleBlackDressINK

     Articles of Interest

    Project Ariadne is planning a pan-African festival of women’s theatre in Rwanda. The company was founded to tell the stories of women in conflict zones around the world whose work is changing the society they live in. 

    African women are making history in 2016! Read about some extraordinary women artists and their groundbreaking projects at okayafrica.

    South Africa’s Olive Tree Theatre will be hosting it’s 5th The Women's Theatre Festival from 21- 30 October 2016. The festival gives women directors a platform to showcase their work.

    Parity Productions is a new theatre company dedicated to equality for women and transgender theatre artists. Besides producing and promoting new work, they host a database of women and transgender writers, directors, and designers, and also commission two new plays a year.

    Will writers ever be replaced by artificial intelligence? Take a look at this short film written by an AI, and judge for yourself!

     

     

     

  • 25 Jul 2016 7:53 PM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)

    August Spotlight:  Naomi Westerman

    Begun as group of women who were frustrated by being a women in the theatre industry and united by a shared passion for theatre, Shakespeare, and feminism, Naomi and a small group of women started Little But Fierce in 2013.  Rather than doing straight Shakespeare productions, they have created a mixture of Shakespeare adaptations and Shakespeare-inspired new work. 

    In 2013 I set up the all-female theatre company, Little but Fierce. This is how.

    My theatre company started, like many of my successes, by accident. I was frustrated with the challenges of being a woman in the theatre industry, and knew many women who shared these frustrations. I started to arrange regular get-togethers where we could talk, debate, workshop, learn, play and develop work in a no-stress women-only environment. Through these sessions, a core group developed, bonded by a shared passion for theatre, Shakespeare, and feminism. I was, at the same time, doing regular improv with several of my female friends, and we had been debating setting up some kind of more formal all-female theatre group. In summer 2013, I officially co-founded and became artistic director of a new all-female theatre company. I knew I wanted a Shakespearean name, and “Little but Fierce” seemed the obvious choice. Being rather short myself (and definitely fierce), I have always felt a kinship with Hermia!

    Our goal was to create female-led theatre to not only create work for women, but to prove that female theatre can be funny and mainstream and commercially successful. Our policy is to cast roles race-blind and ability status-blind, and we try to be as diverse as possible. We work not just with female actors, but also with female directors, producers, and other backstage crew, as it is women in the latter category who are the most marginalized, even in the current debate about gender equality in theatre.

    We decided that, rather than doing straight Shakespeare productions, we would create an mixture of Shakespeare adaptations and Shakespeare-inspired new work (though as thecompany evolved we have gone on to stage more new writing).

    Our first production was in December of that year, an adaptation of A Christmas Carol with Shakespearean characters (Juliet, Lady Macbeth, and a skull-toting Hamlet) taking the place of the ghosts; this was staged at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Christmas Stage Festival. The RSC's support and having their name on our CV opened many doors and was a wonderful debut.

    Our next project, a series of dialogues between Shakespearean characters and contemporary new characters, was shortlisted at the Bush Theatre.  Since then, we have produced work at the New Wolsey Theatre, Richmond, the Cockpit Theatre, Theatre N16, and even a showcase in the West End!

    We are currently planning productions of Much Ado About Nothing (set in a faded regional theatre company in the 1950s) and Measure for Measure (set in the American Bible Belt), alongside more new writing, and an interactive theatre-in-education project aimed at secondary school students called: Choose Your Own Adventure Shakespeare.

    The only advice I could give women thinking of setting up their own companies is: Do it.  Don't worry about what might go wrong, because things will go wrong. Make mistakes.  Learn. Fail better. And make sure you've got really good friends to support you.

     Contact info:

    http://www.naomiwesterman.com
    http://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/1/F89661.html
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1120017/

    Welcome New Members

    Leah Joki,  Made in Montana Press, USA

    Sharon Lamb, UK
    Psychologist, Psychology Professor, Playwright
    I am a psychologist and psychology professor who has begun to write plays. I studied playwriting in London and I have a feminist dystopian play ready to go with really solid parts for 4 women! YAY.

    Jodie Leidecker, USA
    Everyone has a story. I love finding that story and telling it.

    In fourth grade, I started writing poems and by sixth grade, I'd moved on to soap operas and a school play.
 I've done technical writing for industry, newsletter and press release writing for colleges and nonprofits, blogging, and essay and humor writing for the web. I've written for various humor sites and self-published a series of funny essays. I've most recently begun writing plays, several of which have been performed in theater festivals in New York City. Everyone has a story. I love finding that story and telling it.

    Representative Plays:  John; Dr. Hoxley; There Are No Straight Lines in Nature; Stockpile; Apocalypse Fatigue

    Bridgette Pope

    Laura Toffler
    Playwright, children’s book author, professor of writing.

    Laura Toffler is a playwright, children’s book author and professor of writing. Her most recent play, ‘The Latin Beat,’ was a semi finalist in Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s 2016 one act play competition. Laura’s play for children, ‘A Boy Named Nars,’ was published in Story Works Magazine (Scholastic), and she’s had a variety of work produced in and around New York. In addition, Laura is the author of the young adult novels, The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz and My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush, published by MacMillan. Having earned an MFA in dramatic writing from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, she teaches ‘Writing for Children and Teens’ at Pace University and Westchester Community College.


    Now Playing and Coming Soon
    In response to your comments on the survey, as of September our newsletter will have a new column, NOW PLAYING & COMING SOON to promote our members’ productions worldwide.  If you have a play that will be in production anywhere between September 1 – September 30, please respond to Amy Drake (amydrake1018@aol.com) before August 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING  column of the September newsletter.   If you have a play that will b
    e produced anytime between October 1 and October 31, likewise email Amy and it will appear in the COMING SOON column.


    Articles of Interest
    The Kilroys are a group of LA playwrights and producers who are taking action to achieve gender parity in theater. Every year, they survey the industry and publish a list of excellent unproduced new plays by female and trans playwrights.

    Chicago’s Gift Theatre debuts a season of new work by women playwrights, featuring plays by Mona Mansour, Claire Kiechel and Janine Nabers.

    LAFPI is taking a stand against sexism in Los Angeles theatre. If you’re a woman playwright in the LA area, LAFPI wants to promote your work and help you connect with other artists.

    Women will make their voices heard in the Stratford Festival’s 2017 season. Women will direct eight out of the festival’s 14 productions, and the Studio Theatre will present work by three generation of female playwrights.

    A study by the British Theatre Consortium and the Society of London Theatre shows female playwrights struggle to break through a “glass ceiling.” Plays by women were staged in smaller theaters, had shorter runs, and lower ticket prices.


  • 19 Jun 2016 5:41 AM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)
    Work on the 50/50 Applause Award has shed light on that fact that there are many theaters around the globe whose mission is to produce only plays written by women playwrights.  Read about two of them. 

    June Spotlight:  Barbara Lhota
    by Suzanne Richardson


    Barbara tells her story of evolution from acress to playwright, embracing her sexual orientation, and plans for the future.

    Barbara Lhota is a playwright and screenwriter from Detroit, MI. Currently living and working in Chicago, Barbara received her degree from Wayne State University studying acting and then going on to study at Brandeis to pursue Dramatic Writing. She was a winner of Babes With Blades' 2nd annual playwriting competition Joining Sword and Pen for her play Los Desaparecidos (The Vanished). Among many other accolades, her play Echo was a semi-finalist for the 2013 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, as well as for the American Firehouse Theatre, and The Athena Project in Denver. Her latest show, 180 Degrees, was co-written with Margaret (M.E.H.) Lewis and finished its run in Chicago this past May. Today, she continues to write for stage and screen, and is an Associate Member Artist at the Babes with Blades Theatre Company in Chicago.

    When did you start playwriting?

    When I was at Wayne State University in Detroit, I was an acting major. I had a dream to be an actress but found that I lived too much in my head. I wasn’t yet out as a lesbian, and so I was a bit uncomfortable physically too. I believe when you have secrets about yourself or are holding back, I think that makes you less open as an actress or artist in general. Story writing and telling is generally revealing, so you have to be free to be yourself, with flaws showing.

    I remember thinking in undergrad that the actresses were always short-changed on roles. In classics there are about three times as many male vs. female roles, and almost all the plays we were doing were written by men. Meanwhile, there were about twice as many actresses in the theater department vs actors. One of my best friends and roommate at the time, Barbara Kanady, encouraged me to write a play. That year, 1987, I started writing my first play in a coffee shop between classes. It had three women and one man. We produced it that year in one of Wayne State’s black box. My roommate directed it and my professors were quite impressed.

    I did get into University Resident Theatre Auditions (URTAs) and ended up having a scholarship to be an acting major for grad school but decided not to go. Instead I ended up with a scholarship to Brandeis for dramatic writing the year after graduation. Longer story but Theresa Rebeck, who was in Brandeis’ PhD program at the time, played a large part in my deciding to go to Brandeis.

    When you write, do you focus on developing characters first, or the plot?

    Through the years, I have done both. When I was younger, I frequently focused on a leading character first. I was drawn into quirky characters and those I found challenging from my life. I used to struggle with plot, and now, I often hear that my plots are intricate. Certainly, my play, 180 Degree Rule, which was co-written with M.E.H. Lewis, was plot heavy. But despite that, I felt like we knew every aspect of the characters too. Both are so important and they can help feed each other.

    I feel like now I start with ideas rather than characters and plot. For instance, I’m working on a play called 85 Billion Neurons to Forever. I was having dinner with a friend and she asked me how I wanted to be buried. I told her that I wish those who were dead could have their brains uploaded so we could ask their advice.  I started to research transhumanism and cyborgs out of fascination. It got me thinking about what it means to be human. I started to develop the play using that idea as a question to explore.

    When Margaret (M.E.H. Lewis) and I started to develop 180 Degree Rule, we were talking about how famous women artists were frequently dismissed over time. We started chatting about Dorothy Arzner, a film director from the 20s-40s, who was largely unknown. She invented the boom mic for God’s sake and managed to survive the studio system. In her films, she regularly slipped in feminist themes and lesbian overtones, which I consider pretty forward-thinking and daring. 180 Degree Rule was inspired by her and other forgotten female directors of the 30s because we started to ask questions about the struggles they faced – the life they must have or could have lived. It inspired us to fill in the blanks.

    How did you learn about ICWP?

    I joined a long, long time ago – in the 90s. I found the Listserv first because I had just graduated and I felt alone as a writer…it’s a lonely craft. I know I wanted to listen to other playwrights’ struggles and successes, particularly female playwrights. It also listed opportunities for women. I believe one of the leading members of ICWP at the time – maybe - Linda Eisenstein, was writing an article or quoted in an article so I went and found the site.

    What is your writing process like? Do you have any rituals?

    My process is different for every play. I don’t want to impose too many rules or rituals. The process is like cooking for me. I don’t tend to strictly follow a recipe. I throw in what I need at the time…I see I need more research in a moment. I do the research. I see I need a bit more understanding of the backstory. I take some time to free write about a character’s backstory. This way I stay open to possibilities. I don’t impose too many rules and obligations. It stays spontaneous and fun.

    Some plays flow out pretty easily and others seem to require a lot of outlining, research, wrestling and tears. I don’t know that those that came out easier are better. The couple of things I always try to do now are 1) outline what the main character wants to have happen and what are the major obstacles, (What does the audience want to see happen?/What are we waiting for?) 2) outline first scene, act one ending or mid-way climax, and ending, 3) know in chronological order the full relationship and major events that happened between the main/pivotal characters (even if those events are never shown on stage), 4) What question am I exploring?

    I also always mouth all the lines as I’m writing or re-reading my work. I play all the parts. This is why I no longer work in coffee shops. I look a bit nutzo.

    Do you often work in tandem with a theatre company, or seek out a theatre after you have written a show?

    I work a lot with Babes With Blades Theatre Company (BWBTC) in Chicago, where I am an associate member artist. The mission of BWBTC resonates with me. BWBTC is also a company of highly-collaborative, supportive, responsive, clever, resilient women. I tend to naturally write plays where female characters are active and the primary focus. I’m quite fond of male characters as well and like them to be uniquely placed in roles that tend to be more gentle and supportive. Because I’ve always lived in cities and grew up in Detroit during a highly turbulent time in history, violence has been part of my life experience. I think I am drawn to explore the effects of violence, which is very in-line with Babes’ mission.

    I definitely match my plays to appropriate theatres and their mission. I think you have to focus on that as you try to step into the role of marketing your play. For Warped, for instance, I definitely targeted Stage Left Theatre in Chicago. I knew that play would provoke debate because it was inspired by a debate/discussion between friends. When I finish the full-length version of 85 Billion Neurons to Forever, I will definitely seek out OtherWorld Theatre Company since their mission is science fiction.  

    Where do you pull most of your inspiration from when creating characters?

    My family and friends. I have extremely unique individuals in my life. I draw from those around me.

    Do you have a favorite genre you like to write? (Comedy, drama, fantasy, etc.)

    Drama mostly with a lot of comedy laced throughout. My experience in life is that somebody always cracks a joke in the middle of the most tragic circumstances. I like drama but if the play has no humor, I find that unreal.

    What would you say was your most rewarding moment as a playwright or writer in general?

    There are so many rewarding moments and most heart-warming moments are not about awards or fabulous reviews. What I love is that moment alone when I’m working on a particular difficult moment in a play (the part where I’m stuck or unsure) and the answer just presents itself. It’s like God or the story is talking to you. There’s so much reward in that. When I was working with Margaret (M.E.H. Lewis) I loved that because it happened a number of times when we were outlining together and we got to share that kismet moment together.

    My other biggest reward in playwriting is when the director and actors get all excited about some moment in the play that was a bit of a struggle to figure out. They not only figure out how to do it, but do it better and with more gusto than I could have imagined. I love the creative process and the collaboration most of all.

    What advice would you give to a young woman just starting out as a playwright?

    Work on the basics: scene work with conflict and surprise, action, distinguishing character voices. Volunteer to be a script reader for a theater. If you can intern at a bigger theater company, even better, but do it where you can read a lot of scripts. It gives you a lot of insight. Read and workshop your plays, even if that’s in your living room with actors you know. Listen to feedback that is repeated by multiple people and from those you trust. Write a lot – as much as you can. Send plays that are ready out.  100 a year to try to get any response. Treat your fellow artists (directors, actors, designer) with respect and love.  When you are discouraged, read the many stories of famous writers’ woes. There are many of them out there on the interwebs…find them. You are not alone.

     Welcome New Members

    Mayura Baweja has been working in the theatre as an actor, writer and director for more than a decade. Her first full length play Paper Thin was part of a staged reading last year in Singapore. Passionate about finding and making spaces for women's voices in theatre, she is thrilled to be part of this writing community. She currently resides in Bangalore.

    Susan Miller, USA


    Articles of Interest

    by Patricia Morin



    Carol Lashof, a longtime ICWP member, launched Those Women Productions along with Libby Vega in 2014. Their amazing journey began in the metal shop of a school, and grew into producing women's plays at Live Oak Theatre, Berkeley, CA. They were also voted the best new theatre of 2015.

     How the company began:

    I pitched a production of my play "Just Deserts" (the Oresteia from the pov of the Furies) as a co-curricular event to the Seminar program at St Mary's College. I told SMC we were doing a production in Berkeley and could bring it to the College. In fact, we had no plans to do the play at all and no infrastructure. SMC said yes and we scrambled to figure out what the hell we were doing. An anonymous donor emerged out of thin air (so it seemed to me) and I opened a checking account in the name of Those Women Productions. (See Those Women’s website www.thosewomenproductions.com or/and www.facebook.com/CarolSLashofPlaywright/)

    Those Women Productions is a professional theater company with deep roots in the Berkeley community. Libby Vega and I met at the Berkeley Public Library and were drawn together by our shared loves of classic literature and feminism. We did not see a local theater company where those passions were integral, so we formed Those Women Productions to shake up the patriarchy while telling great stories with broad appeal. Our inaugural production in 2014 was the world premiere of my play, “Just Deserts”, a darkly comic retelling of the origin myth of the jury system told from the perspective of the avenging furies. It was performed at The Metal Shop Theater, where we began, at Willard Middle School. In 2015, Those Women Productions mounted two full productions. They returned to The Metal Shop Theater to stage “In Plain Sight”. This show offered new takes on old tales from diverse world cultures and featured the work of five Bay Area playwrights, all women. The San Jose Mercury News described it as “…a provocative mix of voices and perspectives.” The Express also named Those Women Productions the “Best Year-Old Theater Company” of 2015. The Dramatist Guild lauded Those Women for joining the fight for gender parity, “turn(ing) patriarchy on its ear.”

     Mission:

    Those Women Productions is an adventurous theater company dedicated to exploring hidden truths of gender and power. The company aims to bring marginalized voices to the center of the stage, to ask bold questions and instigate conversation. Because conversations are more exciting with diverse participants, they practice Radical Hospitality: everyone is invited to the theater regardless of ability to pay.

      About Carol and her Work:

     Carol’s plays have been broadcast on BET and NPR and staged on five continents—from the Magic Theatre and Piano Fight in San Francisco to Peking University and the University of Guam. Her publications include several scripts for teens available from Youth PLAYS, as well as work in numerous anthologies. She holds a PhD from Stanford University and is Professor Emerita at Saint Mary’s College of California. Carol’s been a member of ICWP without interruption since 2011. “But very long ago,” Carol said, “and possibly in the early 1990s when her children were young and listservs were a totally new cool thing, I was on the listserv. I can't remember how I first heard about ICWP or came to join it, perhaps through the Dramatists Guild - I've been a DG member since 1981. Anyway, I couldn't keep up and was shoving my playwriting "career" to the way-back burner, so I dropped off the list.”

     Trials and Tribulations of Beginning Your Own Theatre Company:
    Affordable, accessible, and available performance space is extremely difficult to find in the Bay Area. Our next show, Margaret of Anjou, will be shown at Live Oak Theatre in Berkeley, CA., a new venue, another step forward.

     Trying to figure out all the various media necessary for promotional tasks.

     Making time for everything that needs to be done probably is the number one issue.

     Fears:
    The potential for very public failure and consequent humiliation is terrifying.

    • Asking people for money is also terrifying and requires overcoming shame.
    • Ditto self-promotion.
    • As a producer, there is always more to do. It's like a game of Whack-a-Mole.

     Advice:
    Don't be afraid to ask for help!

    Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis

     

  • 23 Apr 2016 7:15 PM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)

    Work on the 50/50 Applause Award has made us aware of the many all women theaters around the globe  As such, they do not qualify for the 50/50 award.  But they do important work in in promoting women playwrights and ICWP would like to recognize and honor them in this newsletter.  

    May Spotlight:  The New Georges Theater

    by Suzanne Richardson

    The New Georges is a New York based theater founded in 1992by Susan Bernfield, Greer Goodman, and Colleen McQuade. This non-profit companyproduces and nurtures theatrically adventurous female artists. It has grown toproduce 43 premieres of new American plays, had 21 new plays commissioned (18of which were also produced), and attracted 175 affiliated artists, including playwrights, directors, actors, and designers. I spoke with Susan about New Georges and her experience working at this outstanding company for women.


    Welcome New Members


    AJ Baker, USA

    3 Girls Theatre Company

     

    Susan Horowitz, USA

    DRSUE

    Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz, Ph.D., Creator of “SssWitch! - A Bewitching Musical” is a Writer of Award-Winning Musicals, Comedies, Songs, Plays, Poetry, and Books. Her works include: 2015 National Winner Youth Comedy (Judy Maccabee); First Prize Hunter Playwrights (Angelface); First Prize Children’s Play Contest (The Golden Heart); Book (Queens of Comedy: interviews with legendary comediennes), Children’s Book of the Month Club (Read With Me), Cine Golden Eagle - Original Screenplay for Animated Film, CD of original songs (Keys of Love), Poetry Book (I Am Loved) Performance Awards for Acting/Singing. Education: University of Chicago, Yale Drama School, Ph.D. CUNY Graduate Center/Hunter. Training: Second City Improvisation, BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, Songwriters Guild, Summersongs, Private Music Lessons. Memberships: Dramatists Guild, Theater Resources Unlimited (T.R.U.), Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC), Musical Writers Meeting, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), WomenArts. “SssWitch! – A Bewitching Musical” is fiscally sponsored by TRU for tax-deductible contributions.

     

    Kate Perry, UK
    Kate Perry is from Co. Tyrone and began her career as a writer/performer in San Francisco with her one-woman show My Name is Kate Perry and I've been Drinking. Her solo performance in No Mate for the Magpie (an adaptation of the novel of the same name) premiered in the U.S. and later toured throughout Ireland to critical acclaim. Her short film Mañana premiered at the Galway Film Festival and was broadcast in Ireland on RTE. Her short film Ruthless was shortlisted for funding from Kildare Co. Council earlier this year.


    Currently living in London, Perry performed her one-woman show Shh! It’s the Very Perry Show at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts and the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe where critics awarded her 4 stars.


    “Perry is a major talent, and she brings her skills in full force in this hilarious and sometimes bitter-sweet hour.” Adam Wilson, Edinburgh Festival Magazine.

    Kate Perry is a fine actress, Max Stafford-Clark
    Besides performing and writing her own material Kate has appeared in numerous stage productions, film and television. She has written for Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 4 Extra and RTE Radio 1. Tamsin Greig (Episodes) Doreen Keogh (The Royale Family) and Conleth Hill (double Olivier award winner, Game of Thrones) have performed Kate’s work. She graduated with distinction from Trinity College, Dublin with an MPhil in creative writing and holds a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from the Institute of Art Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire.

     

    Janet Preus, USA
    Janet Preus has spent part of her life as a journalist and the rest of it directing and teaching theater until she started writing, primarily for musical theater. She was a New Tuners workshop member under John Sparks at Theatre Building Chicago, where she co-developed a show that was accepted into the Stages Festival. She has written for Church Musicals Inc., Nashville, won national songwriting awards and state awards in both print and broadcast journalism, and is the recipient of artist grants from the McKnight and Jerome Foundations. She has been reviewing Twin Cities (Minnesota) theater for howwastheshow.com for several years and recently co-founded the New Musical Theatre Exchange workshop and production company. Welcome to Hell, her first full-length non-musical play, received recognition as a one-act in its first competition. With a play in production last summer (Hank & Jesus) and co-production of a musical (Snip, Snap, Snute) in negotiation for 2016-17, she has renewed hope for success before her children put her in a retirement facility.

    50/50 Applause Award

    There is still time to nominate for the  the fifth annual50/50 Applause Award, which celebrates theatres which achieved gender parity among their produced playwrights in a given theatre season. You have until May 20 to nominate theatres which meet the criteria for the award.  Artistic directors and theatre employees may self-nominate.produced playwrights in a given theatre season. You are encouraged to nominate any theatre which meets the criteria for the award, and artistic directors and theatre employees may self-nominate. Please share this information with your theatre friends around the world! Eligibility requirements for the award and our video on gender parity from ICWP member/Dramatists Guild board member Christine Toy Johnson are available at http://www.womenplaywrights.org/award 

     The 2015/16 Season awards will be announced in September 2016.

     For more information about the award and previous recipients, go to http://www.womenplaywrights.org/50/50-Awards-History

    ICWP News

    It has been a particularly busy season for the ICWP board. Not only did we have our quarterly board meeting, but we also held our general-membership meeting and yearly elections. We welcomed new board members and officers.

    Board members and officers for 2016-2017

    Sophia Romma— President
    New York, New York, USA

    Patricia L. Morin—Vice President
    California, USA

    Sharon Wallace—Secretary
    Detroit, Michigan, USA

     Rita Kniess Barkey— Treasurer
    Montana, USA

     Mona Curtis
    Xinzheng City, Henan Province, People’s Republic of China

     Amy Drake
    Columbus, Ohio, USA

    Lucia Verona
    Bucharest, Romania

    Karin Diann Williams
    Jersey City, New Jersey, USA

    Eliza Wyatt
    Brighton, UK

     Through the board and general membership meetings, we have formulated potential plans and projects for the future. But your opinions are important to us, and we would like your input. We would appreciate if you would take a few minutes to complete this survey.

    http://goo.gl/forms/IyUsFO1ILN

    It would greatly assist us with our future endeavors to provide you with programs that help fit your playwriting needs.


    ICWP Benefits

    ICWP board is conducting a survey in order to maximize our services to the ICWP membership.  Our present services include:

    The listserv—helps introduce us to each other, share opportunities, as well as present a forum for lively discussion on controversial issues: “The Count”—the low number of women in the theatre community; fees charged for submission of plays to theatres; how certain women’s roles are viewed by the audience, to name a few.  Click to go to the listserve.

     Information services—provides data on artists rights; samples for playwright contracts; “how to” documents (organize an event, publish and sell work, writing a good playwright resume, sample royalty statements), and more.  Click to go to information services.

     Professional Development—researches artists rights organizations, grant resources, frequently asked playwright questions, and The Theatre Research Institute (Dr. Alan Woods). Click to go to professional development. 

     Script Feedback—encourages members to share ten pages of their work with a small group of readers for feedback, coordinated by Nina Gooch.Click to go to script feedback.

     Publications—published books through ICWP of plays for playwrights and actors. Click to go to publications

     Fifty-fifty awards—promotes recognition of theatres throughout the world that produce women plays fifty percent of the their season. Clcik to go to 50/50 awards.

     Finally, the ICWP monthly newsletter—spotlights members of ICWP, introduces new members, and introduces articles on current events and discussions. Click to go to full version of the newsletter on the website


  • 24 Feb 2016 6:12 PM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)

    February Spotlight: Felicity McCall

    by Suzanne Richardson

    Felicity McCall was a career journalist who covered the Ireland conflict for BBC, now a fulltime writer, theatre producer, arts facilitator and occasional actor based in Derry and Donegal in Ireland. She is a founding member of Derry Writers and, most recently, Derry Literary Ladies.   She is also the Ireland officer for the miscarriage of justice lobby group, Portia, and a cathaoirleach of the Irish Executive of the National Union of Journalists.


    Felicity has received 2 Meyer Whitworth nominations, the Tyrone Guthhrie Award, 2 IPSG nominations, 3 Arts council awards, as well as Best Heritage Project from the Big Lottery for We Were Brothers, a cross community WW1 project in 2011, and in 2013 the all-Ireland Epic award for Every Bottle has a Story to Tell. Her portfolio includes over twenty published titles including nonfiction and young adult books, twelve plays for the professional stage, and four screenplay credits.

    Also see http://www.walkingthefeminists.org

    Q: When did you start playwrighting?
    A: I have been writing all my life; I remember contributing to a version of Cinderella in Primary School and teaming up with a friend to write and perform sketches in my teens- we're working on a 1916 project  together this year, for the first time in decades, which is lovely

    Q: When you write, do you focus on developing characters first, or the plot?
    A: In fiction, the characters always come first and once they come alive for me, the plot writes itself; with historically accurate writing, the research material defines both.

    Q: What is your writing process like? Do you have any rituals?
    A: I love the research process and will quite happily immerse myself in this for long periods; it never fails to be fascinating. The writing begins in my head and one day makes its way onto the screen in an extended, stream of consciousness, very rough draft then I'm fairly disciplined about the rewriting. Deadlines work for me, even self-imposed ones; I'm a journalist at heart. No real rituals except I know I must be difficult to be around as the writing takes over and while I'm writing there's a reluctance to return from the world I've created to everyday life.

    Q: Where do you pull most of your inspiration from when creating characters?
    A: With fact based drama the characters will be researched from as wide a range of sources as possible- letters are a great resource- and additional characters are often a composite of a number of different experiences, so they're emotionally honest. Otherwise, from constant observation of the drama that is everyday life; my notebooks are full of scraps of information, snatches of dialogue, anything idiosyncratic that appeals to my sense of the quirky. And I always sleep with a notebook beside the bed. Never underestimate the power of the subconscious!

    Q: Do you have a favorite genre you like to write? (Comedy, drama, fantasy, etc.)
    A: I love having a couple of contrasting projects on the go so that when I reach a stalemate with one I can step away from it and return with a more objective perspective; one fiction/ one nonfiction is always a good balance as on the days when creativity has fled, there's the research to work on.  Favourite genre? Anything people centered and driven, and social issues; I'd aspire to have some of my work categorized as that of an artist activist as the arts are such a powerful tool for change and for giving a voice to the voiceless. Comedy must be the most challenging as humour is so individual- who dares to claim to be funny?

    Q: What would you say was your most rewarding moment as a playwright or writer in general?
    A: As a writer, the magical moment when an actor who 'gets' the character is on stage and it's exactly how the character has been sounding in my head. I'll never forget being in the audience at the opening of a play I produced with Derry's Street Drinking Community, Every Bottle Has a Story to Tell; effectively I was a conduit for a very marginalized, determined, committed group of writers and actors. Every performance played to a full house and standing ovation and it was humbling to be part of such a ground breaking and empowering piece of drama that went on to win major awards.
    But the real joy was in their faces at the curtain call and the audience interaction afterwards- it was so emotional.

    Q: What advice would you give women wanting to become Playwrights?
    A: Do it. Now. Tell your own story. Accept that everyone gets rejections. Don't wait for a commission. Form your own theatre group and perform anywhere- community halls, pubs, cafes, the street, a church; it's all good experience. Make sure to build a reputation for professionalism. Network like crazy. Find the best writers group for you to give and receive constructive criticism and support. I've always found those at the top of their profession have nothing but support to offer aspiring and emerging writers; any back biting comes from those insecure in their own writing practice. And always believe your best work has yet to be written- so keep learning.

    Welcome New Members

    Kristin Jones – USA
    Kristin Jones received her BFA in Acting from UC Santa Barbara and an MA in Playwriting from UCLA.

    Sam Kumpe - United States
    I've just written my first play and I'm addicted.

    Evelyn Jean Pine – USA
    Evelyn Jean Pine writes plays about the moment when you feel your life is brand new -- whether it is or not.
    Representative Play Titles: The Secrets of the World, First, Astonishment, Walking the Starry Path

    Sharon Studer – UK
    Particular interest is serious drama; have had semi-staged reading of a 10 minute play and a professional production of a full length play.


    ICWP Initiatives


    Upcoming Annual Meeting
    ICWP is a very special group.  It is an international organization that exists only on-line and is staffed almost exclusively by volunteers.  I hope you participate in the Annual Meeting which which takes place online in March. All members will receive an email about how to participate.  
     
    50/50 Applause Award
    ICWP is gearing up for the next 50/50 Award which is now in its fifth year and is becoming one of our signature initiatives.

    Articles of Interest
    by Patricia Morin

    More and more magazines and literary journals, as well as theatres, are asking for fees. I've been following this, not only with my mystery writing organizations, but now with playwrights.


    JUST SAY NO PAYING FOR SUBMISSIONS

    “Why Writers are Paying to get Published”
    The Atlantic Magazine
    October, 2015
    By
    Joy Lanzerdorfer


    Note from Patricia: Since all writers, no matter what their genre are being met with the same problems, I have added playwrights in parenthesis. The article does not do this.

    It’s fall, the time of year when literary journals open their doors for new submissions. Around the country, writers are polishing poems, short stories, and essays (and plays) in hopes of getting published in those small-but-competitive journals devoted to good writing (and theatres devoted to good plays). Though I’ve published short stories in the past, I’m not submitting any this year, and if things continue the way they have been, I may stop writing them altogether. The reason, in a nutshell, is reading fees—also called submission or service fees—which many literary journals (and now theatres) charge those who want to be considered for publication. Writers pay a fee that usually ranges from $2 to $5—but sometimes goes as high as $25—and in return, the journal will either (most likely) reject or accept their submission and publish it. Even in the lucky case that a piece is published (produced), most journals don’t pay writers (including playwrights) for their work, making it a net loss either way.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/10/why-writers-are-paying-to-get-published/411274/



    AUTHORS CALL TO ACTION
    Authors call for boycott on non-paying festivals
    Published January 15, 2016
    by
    Benedicte Page


    Prominent writers including Linda Grant, Denise Mina, Joanne Harris and Francesca Simon have responded to Philip Pullman's protest over the Oxford Literary Festival's failure to pay author fees by joining a call for publishers and fellow authors to boycott events with the same policy.

    Pullman, who is president of the Society of Authors, has stepped down from his role as patron of the festival, saying it is a case of "simple justice" that authors should be paid for their appearances.

    Now novelist and critic Amanda Craig has written an open letter to The Bookseller calling for all authors and publishers to boycott literary festivals that expect authors to work without a fee. "For too long, authors have been persuaded to give our services to the public for free - even though the public is paying in good faith to see us," she wrote. "We are the only people in festivals who are not paid, and yet without us the festivals could not exist. Writing is a vocation but it is also a profession, and it is time we all stiffened our spines, dug in our heels and said No."

    Craig's letter has attracted immediate support from many other authors, with Linda Grant, Louisa Young, Denise Mina, Francis Wheen, Joanne Harris and Francesca Simon among those who have put their names to it. (Full letter below)

    The fact that many literary festivals do not remunerate authors for appearances has been a long-running grievance among writers, with the Society of Authors currently campaigning on the issue and "working with them [festivals] to agree reasonable fees and best practice guidelines", as chief executive Nicola Solomon told The Bookseller earlier this month.
    Novelist Robert Harris yesterday tweeted a response to Pullman's comments on his resignation, saying "So true! A few (insane) punters paid £50 for a front-row seat at my last event. I was given a mug, appropriately."

    If you're a writer and want to add your signature to the petition, leave a comment on this piece.


    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/authors-call-boycott-non-paying-festivals-320338

    Letter to The Bookseller:

    Sir/ Madam,

    Further to Philip Pullman's resignation from the Oxford Literary Festival, we would like to call for all authors and publishers to boycott literary festivals that expect authors to work for free.  For too long, authors have been persuaded to give our services to the public for free - even though the public is paying in good faith to see us. We are the only people in festivals who are not paid, and yet without us the festivals could not exist. Writing is a vocation but it is also a profession, and it is time we all stiffened our spines, dug in our heels, and said No.

    Should you wish to protest personally, to a theatre or contest asking for submission fees, a similar letter template used by ICWP members, written by Carolyn Gage regarding playwrights is available to download at the foot of the Members Area of the website.

    Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

  • 31 Jan 2016 7:43 PM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)

    This month's issue is on the topic of volunteerism and features outgoing ICWP Treasurer Suzanne Rakow and the woman who has graciously offered to take her place, playwright Rita Barkey.


    January Spotlight: Suzanne Rakow

    by Suzanne Richardson

    Suzanne Rakow's serving eight years as ICWP treasurer was significant in itself.  I was especially intrigued when I found out that she is not even a playwright, just an avid reader and supporter of women playwrights.  It got me thinking about volunteerism and why many women, including myself ,volunteer.
     

    Welcome New Treasurer:  Rita Barkey

    Q: Congratulations on becoming ICWP's new treasurer! What are you most looking forward to taking over this role?

    A: Carrying on the fine work that Suzanne Rakow did before me.

     Q: How did you learn about ICWP? What inspired you to volunteer?

    A: It was pure serendipity. Paddy Gillard-Bentley (Flush Ink Productions) put out a call for scripts, and when I read that she loved to see ICWP membership on resumes, I checked out the ICWP website. I may not have submitted a script that day--but I did become a Sister/Mister! In 2013, I became an active member when volunteers were sought to help research theaters for the 50/50 Applause Awards. I can read German, so I thought that might be useful.

    Q: What would you say was your most rewarding moment volunteering for ICWP?

    A: Watching the 50/50 Applause Awards video and knowing that I participated in the research that helped make it happen.

     Q: Do you volunteer anywhere outside of ICWP? How do you feel volunteering has impacted your work, if at all?

    A: I currently volunteer at the local food bank. I’m not sure if volunteering has impacted my work directly, but it helps keeps me connected to the world.

     Q: When did you become a playwright?

    A: I started writing plays in my 20s. I’d taken poetry workshops as an undergraduate, but because my poems were dialogue driven, I suspected I might be a dramatist at heart. When my plays began to be produced at the Bloomington Playwrights Project (an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to new plays), I knew I’d found an artistic home. I started to volunteer behind the scenes because I believed in its mission, and eventually I became the literary manager as well as its treasurer. Years later, when the ICWP Board sought a new treasurer, I knew I had experience to offer.

    Q: What is your writing process like? Do you have any rituals?

    A: No rituals to speak of beyond a mug of coffee and “bum glue.” My plays usually begin with a vision of a scene, and the questions follow: Who are these people? What are they doing? And why? Then I write a LOT of drafts. Recently I’ve been writing some historical plays in connection with 365 Women A Year: A Playwriting Project, so I’ve had my share of researching to do as well.

    Q: What advice would you give to a young woman just starting out as a playwright?

    A: Go to the theater. Read plays. And get involved. I’m not an extrovert, but theater is at its heart a communal act.  It requires reaching out. For example, when I moved to Montana, I signed up for The Missoula Colony--a two-week conference dedicated to the craft of plays. When I met the other writers, I found out that they, too, were wondering if we could workshop year round. And so the Zoola Playwrights collective was born. Why not? Let’s just do it. That’s at the heart of volunteerism.

     ICWP Opportunities

    The International Centre for Women Playwrights has a volunteer program that affords members (and some non-members) the opportunity to participate in committees, do independent research, assist with the operations of the organization and be creative. If you are interested in volunteering for ICWP, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Elana Gartner, at volunteer@womenplaywrights.org

    Articles of Interest
    by Patricia Morin & Elana Gartner
    Why Do Women Volunteer? 



    People volunteer to develop new skills, to build networks (social or work), to feel useful and remain active. There are a few others but those are the top ones.

    Susan Ellis, volunteer management guru, says the question of why people volunteer is not simple.

    www.energizeinc.com/hot-topics


    "Education is the single best predictor of volunteering. People with a Bachelor's Degree or higher volunteer the most, 42.8%,  compared to those with an Associate's Degree, 27.7%, those with a High School Diploma, 16.7%, and  those with less that a High School Diploma, 9%."

    Women volunteer more than men, but not by much.  (Men 22.2%, Women 28.4%)

    www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles

    Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

  • 24 Dec 2015 8:54 PM | Mona Curtis (Administrator)

    This month's issue is on the topic of women and humor and features ICWP president Karen Jenyes and vice president Lucia Verona.


    December Spotlight: Lucia Verona, ICWP Vice President

    by Suzanne Richardson

    Q: Do you have a favorite genre you like to write?

    A: Yes, I love writing comedy, all my plays are comedies.

    Lucia Verona is a Romanian playwright, novelist, short story writer, translator and ICWP vice president.  Since 2011, she has been part of a team with the aim of translating all of Shakespeare's works and it was for this endeavor that she won the Romanian Writer's Union highest literary honor in August of this year.   

    "Translating Shakespeare is an award in itself."  Lucia Verona

    Question: When did you start playwrighting?

    Answer: In 1976 or 1977, I don't remember exactly.  I wrote my first three plays together with my husband, H. Salem, who was a playwright and a fiction writer. Two of them were performed, one in Bucharest as a musical comedy, the other in another town. We also wrote sketches, monologues and short plays for radio and television. My first play written alone was in 1989; it was translated to French and had a public reading in the theatre Essaion in Paris in 1990. Now I have lots of plays, some performed on stage, others had public readings. Almost all were published. 

    I also write fiction, novels and short stories. Since 2010 I been writing mystery fiction as well. 

    In addition to writing, I am also a translator, from English, French and Hungarian to Romanian. I translate novels, poetry and, of course, plays. A few years ago I became part of a team with the aim to translate all Shakespeare's work. I have already translated six plays and am working on the seventh. 

    Q: When you write, do you focus on developing characters first, or the plot?

    A: That depends on what I want to say and how. Sometimes the plot is more important, sometimes one character "asks" for further developing. I found that characters have a way of developing themselves, almost without my help, and they can alter the initial plot. Most of the time they are right.

    Q: What is your writing process like? Do you have any rituals?

    A: No rituals. I think a lot - all the time - about the play or novel I want to write. I research if necessary, then I only need two or three days without pressures of any kind (no bills to pay, no friends to meet, no invitations to the theatre), then I can start. After the first pages, I usually (but not always) write the ending to be sure not to lose my way. However, sometimes I have to change the ending.

    I write usually at night and in the morning. I write better when I am on holiday because I am freed from any cares. I think the best place to write is on airplanes. There the only problem is that smoking is not allowed. 

    Q: How did you learn about ICWP?

    A: I was browsing the Internet for some resources, saw the ICWP website and I thought it could be interesting to be a part of an international organization. So I wrote. It was Mags who answered and offered me a service membership. This happened in 2006, if I remember correctly.

    Q: How did you get involved in the Bucharest Writers' Association?

    A: I have been a member of the Romanian Writers Union since December 1989.  I coordinated the Bucharest playwrights' branch for about ten years, organizing also the Dramatists' Club every month; now there is somebody else, but I am still on the board. 

    Q: Where do you pull most of your inspiration from when creating characters? Do your past studies of music and opera have a large influence on your writing?

    A: I am not sure. Certainly from life, though some of my best characters are entirely invented. Also, I have a few real life characters in some of my books. I cannot speak about a large influence of my musical studies on my writing, but my best-known character in fiction is a famous opera singer, a coloratura soprano who plays detective in her spare time. She appeared first in a play, then in two novels and a lot of short stories. Whether it means the influence of studies or something else I cannot say and, in my opinion, it is not important. It is only the result that counts.

    Q: Do you have a favorite genre you like to write? (Comedy, drama, fantasy, etc.)

    A: Yes, I love writing comedy, all my plays are comedies. But sometimes in the end there is drama, too, or even death.

    Q: What would you say was your most rewarding moment as a playwright or writer in general?

    A: I have many such moments - awards, performances, reviews of my books, directing a play, meeting my readers, and reading in schools. I would say though, the moment I am most proud of happened on August 31, this year: Together with my fellow translators, I got the Romanian Writers Union Award for my translations of Shakespeare, the highest literary award. Or really, it might be my best moment as a writer has been this period since 2011, when I started translating Shakespeare, which is fabulous. Translating Shakespeare is an award in itself. 

    Q: What advice would you give to a young woman just starting out as a playwright? 

    A: It is difficult to give advice. I would say to a beginner playwright - woman or man: Go and see as many plays as you can. Also, and maybe more important, read all the plays you can find, starting with Aeschylus and Sophocles to the present-day authors. Don't forget what Chekhov said: If you see a shotgun in the first scene, it must shoot before the end of the play.

    To young women playwrights I would add: competition is harder for a woman, don't give up!

    Welcome New Members

     Antonia Brancati, Rome, Italy

    Theatre runs in my family: my mother was famed actress Anna Proclemer and my father was the great novelist and playwright Vitaliano Brancati.

    After living and working for years on and around the stage, in 1991 I become a Literary Agent for the theatre, representing in Italy, just to name one, Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter.

    In 1993 my first Play Preoccupazione per Lalla (They All Worry about Lalla) was staged with a good success at Teatro Politecnico in Rome. Since then, I have never stopped working as an agent, a translator and a playwright.

    My plays have been often published both in volumes and on theatrical reviews.

    In 2012 she is one of the founder of CeNDIC (National Centre of Italian Contemporary Playwrights)

    A Dangerous Passion is the first Play I wrote contemporarily in Italian and English, while following a seminar held by Donald Freed.

    Representative Play: PAST IMPERFECT (AKA I Would Prefer Not To)

    M. Darlene Carson

    M. Darlene Carson is the founder and visionary of Words to Life Drama Ministry (WTLDM). The theater company has a mission to evangelize the community for Christ through thought provoking, entertaining and inspirational plays. In each production, we seek to effectively inject biblically based messages in a way that reaches the heart of people and preserves the integrity of biblical text, messages and the Body of Christ.

    WTLDM has been presenting live theatre for over 20 years. Though we are a community drama troupe, we strive for excellence and professionalism in all that we do. We promote and nourish community spirit, providing mutual support and encouragement to individuals, other ministries and cultural arts groups.

    The curtain rose on WTLD Ministry's first production in 1986 and its original and produced dramas include: Ain't No Half-Step'n; Those Sorry Sain'ts; The Promise; A Wing and A Prayer; Shut Up In The Church; Saints and and Ain’ts; Love Knots; Love Knots, Too!; That’s Life!; and Preacher, Preacher!

    Stephanie Lenore Kuehn

    Articles of Interest
    by Patricia Morin

    Are Women Funny?  Yes We Are.  And That's Not Funny.


    An article in the November, 2015, The Atlantic magazine, “The Plight of the Funny Female” by Olga Khazan explores several aspect of women and humor. An interesting experiment by Laura Milkes at the University of California San Diego brings to light another instance of how women see themselves in comparison to men. 

    Men make so many joke-attempts, in fact, they are assumed to be funnier—even when they’re not. After they had finished captioning, the students in Mickes’s study filled out a questionnaire about how funny they thought others would find their captions, and also whether they thought men or women were the funnier sex in general. Male participants said that, on a scale from one to five, their cartoons were an average of 2.3 in funniness. The women gave themselves a 1.5. Even worse, 89 percent of the women and 94 percent of men responded that men, in general, are funnier.

    In a follow-up experiment, Mickes asked a new set of participants to read the captions generated by the first group and guess the gender of the writer. Both men and women misattributed the funnier captions to male writers.    

    To read more:  http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/11/plight-of-the-funny-female/416559/

    ICWP tackled that same question in their 2014 contest, “Are Women Funny?”  Jacqueline Goldfinger and Jennifer MacMillion co-wrote the play “Enter Bogart” for young actors, especially for girls. “No one is perfect and none of them "fit in" yet everyone is exuberantly marching to the beat of their own drum. So much of “Enter Bogart” is about embracing who you are, even if you love science, or old pop culture references, or wear headgear, or like to sing everything you say instead of speaking--it's all good if it's who you are and you're not hurting anyone else.” 



     ICWP President Karen Jeynes was recently in New York to attend the Emmy Awards as head writer for Puppet Nation ZA.  Puppet Nation is a satirical comedy caricaturizing politicians and other celebs and was nominated in the Comedy category.

    ICWP interviewer asked the question: What makes you laugh?

    Jenn: I like smart, character-driven comedy. I grew up watching a lot of I Love Lucy and the Carol Burnett Show … I also think earnestness is refreshingly funny, (too many people are too jaded these days!), and larger than life characters. My wobbly special needs cat makes me laugh. People that don't take themselves too seriously make me laugh. Underdogs of all kinds have huge comedic potential (hint: we're all underdogs!). Comedy is the stuff of life, and its all around, so I'm always laughing.

    The theme of “underdogs”, “not taking themselves too seriously”, and “larger than life characters that are still grounded in something identifiable” are qualities that Puppet Nation ZA, a comedy South African TV show, imbues, and for which our President, Karen Jeynes, is lead writer. The show was nominated for an Emmy in the “humor” category this year.

    Puppet NationZA is satirical puppet show first produced in 2008 by Both Worlds, a Cape Town, a South African production company. The show is a daily and weekly satirical news program in the form of a mock puppet television newscast and features on both the web and TV. ZANEWS features key local and international political figures and celebrities. “Make humor and not war,” is its motto. You can see some of the shows here:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/playlist/x2xj54_ZANEWS_puppet-nation-za-full-episodes/1#video=x31nh66

    Karen has a “passion for personal relationships, a fascination with chaos theory, and a penchant for the comedy in everyday life. Her work includes: Vaslav, Everybody Else (is fucking perfect), The Happy Factory, I’ll Have What She’s Having, sky too big, Getting There, The Best or Nothing, and Laying Blame, as well as several short plays and monologues in the ICWP Singular Voices. I have asked to interview her by asking some questions relevant to her work and humor, as a TV puppet-show writer and playwright.

    Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

The International Centre for Women Playwrights is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women playwrights around the world. 


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