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  • 31 Jul 2017 8:08 PM | Mona Curtis
    Member Spotlight: Virginia Wall Gruenert
    by Eliza Wyatt

    Introducing Virginia Wall Gruenert, Executive Artistic Director of

    off the WALL Productions

    Carnegie, Pensylvania, USA

    If therewas an Olympic medal for services to women in theatre, Virginia Wall Gruenert would be standing the highest on the podium wearing the gold.

    ICWP recognizes this and has awarded off the WALL Productions their Applause Award three years running. Virginia herself is a three dimensional theatre person. Besides founding and running such a successful theatre, she is an actress and playwright.

    I’d advise members to watch the vimeo clip to be seen on off the WALL’s web site, which Virginia told me has recently been uploaded to celebrate her theater’s ten year anniversary. The clip offers a tantalizing glimpse of past productions, the quality of which surprised this jaded theater-goer and makes me determined to put off the WALL on my theater going calendar and this is before I learned the staff, the crew, the design team, playwrights and directors were all women.

    When I spoke to Virginia on the phone, (landlines are still useful), I heard in her voice the gravitas behind her achievements, although she was quick to credit wonderful teachers. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University and did not stop there. She studied at the National Theatre in London, The Bristol Old Vic and with Stella Adler in L.A.

    When I asked her about that experience Virginia told me Stella Adler did not suffer fools gladly but that kind of experience must have stiffened the spine of a young twenty-three year old actress trying to perfect The Method.

    Asked whether she preferred acting to writing, she thought about it for a minute before replying ‘whichever one I’m doing at the time’, a sure fire mark of sanity and indicative of her immersive commitment. Shaken and Stirred was her first play, where she played all the parts herself before delegating it to four actors. Conversely, her latest play, Mother Lode, which was a commissioned by a friend, began as a play and became a one-woman show. This play, Mother Lode, is scheduled for a New York City premiere this fall.

    Virginia’s philosophy of theater management in her own words is, bring ‘em in, shake ‘em up, and send ‘em home. Yes please, I’ll be waiting in line to buy a ticket.

    Welcome New Members

    Sharon Rose, USA

    Dramatists Guild of America
    International Center for Women Playwrights
    Pen Center USA

    Patricia Bell-Scott, USA

    Patricia Bell-Scott is professor emerita of women’s studies and human development and family science at the University of Georgia, and author of the award-winning biography, The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice. Her book tells the story of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist and the First Lady of the United States forged a friendship that changed their lives, enriched the conversation about race, and fueled the movement for human rights in America. The Firebrand and the First Lady won the Lillian Smith Book Award and was named Booklist Best Book of the Year. It was also a finalist for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, as well as a nominee for the National Book Award and the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award. She is working on adaptation of her biography for the stage.
    For more information, visit

    Claire Cooney, USA

    Elaine Liner, USA

    Elaine Liner is a playwright in Dallas, Texas, who "emerged" after a long career in arts journalism. She made her debut as a solo performer and playwright at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has toured with her one-woman show, Sweater Curse. Her two-act comedy Finishing School is a winner in the 2017-18 American Association of Community Theatre's New Play Fest and will premiere in September 2017 in Elkhart, Indiana. She's also written a novel, 2084: An American Parable (available on Amazon in ebook or paperback worldwide), and she's a member of the Dramatists Guild.

    To earn a living, Elaine drives tours around the JFK assassination sites in downtown Dallas and sells her knitted creations online. Her next play is an adaptation of Romeo & Juliet in which an older couple falls in love at first sight -- only to have their adult children try to keep them apart.

    Representative Play Titles
    Sweater Curse: A Yarn about Love; Finishing School; A Ripping Christmas Carol; The Crickets' Lunch; Replaceable Blond; Cappy & Monty-A Love Story

    Qurell-Amani Wright, USA

    Qurell-Amani is a graduate of the Florida Statue University School of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts. After graduation she relocated to Beaufort, South Carolina where she was employed as an on-air personality and commercial voice-over artist at WVGB radio. Since then, she has traveled the country with Theatre IV of Cincinnati, Ohio as well as performed in several commercials including Sonic Restaurants, and the military’s Space A travel program. Her motion picture projects include several independent films and "Ghostown", produced by DreamWorks.

    Qurell is currently a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and is producing and performing her labor of love, Panther Woman, a one-woman show highlighting the female experience in the Original Black Panther Party for Self Defense. “It is my mission to use the talents afforded me by The Universe and my Ancestors to provide quality theatre featuring strong, powerful women of color. Visit the website at

    Now Playing and Coming Soon
    If you have a play or a reading between September 1 – September 30, please email Amy  ( before August 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the September newsletter.  Any play or reading  in October will appear in the COMING SOON column.

    Women without Walls by Robin Rice, Small but Mighty Productions, August 2-6, Toronto, CANADA

    F4 by Elin Hampton has been selected as a finalist in the Samuel French 42nd OOB Short Play Festival. It will be performed on August 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the East 13th Street Theater, New York, New York, USA

    Shaking the Dew from the Lilies by Paddy Gillard-Bentley will be playing August 16-16 at K-W Little Theatre, Ontario, CANADA

    Elaine Liner’s two-act comedy Finishing School is a winner in the 2017-18 American Association of Community Theatre's New Play Fest and will premiere in September 2017 in Elkhart, Indiana.

    New Feature

    Board Member and Newsletter Team Member Lillian Cauldwell has made an audio version of the newsletter available through Passionate World Radio.  Click on the icon below to listen.

  • 01 Jul 2017 10:40 PM | Mona Curtis

    Member Spotlight: Eliza Wyatt
    Eliza Wyatt by Eliza Wyatt

    This is a stop-gap Spotlight because it’s sometimes difficult to reach playwrights in other regions.

    I consider myself an American playwright, formed by the women’s movement and Boston and Brandeis Universities, but I’ve ‘lived’ in three different cultures. I was born in England but was part of the Boston theatre scene for twenty five years but the majority of my plays are influenced by my Iranian marriage and my feminist protest. I wrote Mirror Images at the request of my fellow playwright, Geralyn Horton, at our Playwrights’ Platform meetings in Boston. This play is about the imposition of the veil on a group of women whose culture is unspecified. It was staged in Bilekent University, Ankara and subsequently banned. It is the only play of mine to be censured.

    My five Hitler based plays represent an obsession that was probably the result of growing up in post-war Britain. I remember bomb sites and sugar rationing and how people would cringe every time a plane few overhead. My childhood experiences are now the subject of my only novel, Back From The Edge.

    My American play, The Competitive Spirit, takes a critical look at an overly competitive (Boston) society. A shorter version of that play called Chronic Competition was also directed by Geralyn Horton. Techno Frantic Love, which foreshadows Google Glasses, also takes place in a Boston high-rise and is a look at our passionate love affair with technology.

    I’ve been lucky in that women have championed me, Helen Warren Meyer and Lucille Lortel among others and most of my plays have been produced. I’m a proud to be a long time member of ICWP and now a board member. I’ve uploaded plays on the New Play Exchange and urge others to do the same. I’m a member of the Dramatist Guild.

    I also write for Words Across Time, which is a web-site e-zine for lovers of the written word. I invite ICWP members to write book reviews for this worthy site. The book can be written at any place and at any time in our global history.

    Welcome New Members

    Deloris Akins

    Pernille Dahl Johnsen: Playwright / Director / ActorArtistic Director of Johnsen & Johnsen Produksjoner.

    • A Remarkable Person is her 4th play, and the first ever to be granted its own appendix (11 pages) in the yearly magazine of The National Centre for New Playwriting.
    • Recipient, Work Grant, Government Grants for Artists
      BA in Philosophy and Political Science.
    • A method actor with a 3-year education from The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Los Angeles.
    • Has worked for numerous public and private theatres in Norway, in addition to her productions in Johnsen & Johnsen.
    • Member of Norwegian Actors' Equity Association and Writers’ Guild of Norway

    Jessica Atwooki Kaahwa is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Performing Arts and Film at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Dr. Kaahwa has been the architect of a number of national initiatives that have sought to use theatre and media as a constructive force in conflict settings and for health improvement. She has and continues to experiment with theories that expand the discourse on theatre applications. A good example is her recent experimentation with “Theatre for Personal Meaning” and “Theatre for Conflict Analysis.” She continues to work on integrating “Processes Theory” into mainstream Applied Theatre practice. Dr. Kaahwa is also an accomplished director with a number of stage productions to her credit.

    Rosa Soy

    Theresa Yuschok

    Cynthia Wands, USA

    My play The Lost Years received it's world premiere production in April 2017, at the Contra Costa Civic Theater, directed by Marilyn Langbehn.

    I am currently working on a new script, The Hoarding House and hope to have a workshop reading in August 2017.

    I am looking to create language-based plays which explore the mystic and historic elements of our consciousness. I worked for many years as a stage actress in San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles, and had the opportunity to work with some extraordinary theatre artists. My work included plays produced at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco Rep, Celebration Theatre, and the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival. My exposure to the plays and playwrights gave me an appreciation for magical realism, and my writing explores the connection between the natural and unknown. I have studied playwright structure with Dakota Powell at UCLA, Murray Mednick at the Padua Playwrights Workshop, Leon Martell at UCLA, and with Jack Grapes in his Method Writing classes. I am currently a member of WORDS THAT SPEAK, a playwrights group in Los Angeles, California. I have developed scripts at the Ohio State University retreat for playwrights with the ICWP (International Center for Women’s Playwrights). The Dramatist Guild hosted a reading of my script The Lost Years in November 2007 for Footlight Series in Los Angeles. The Botanicum Seedlings project has also read my scripts at the Theatricum Botanicum Green Reads series. I am a member of The Dramatist Guild, ALAP (Alliance for Los Angeles Playwrights), LAFPI (Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative) and ICWP (International Centre for Women Playwrights). My theatre works include Day of The Dead, The Lost Years, Emily, and The American Woman.

    50/50 Update

    The 50/50 Applause Award has been extended to July 10, allowing forv acations and questions about new criteria This year, we have changed some of the criteria to reflect not only equality in women's and men's productions and number of performances, but also to ensure multiple female playwrights in theatre productions. We have expanded our reach to other countries--by searching theatre lists throughout the world.  We are evaluating how many repeat award recipients have not met the criteria and why. This year, so far, more theatres are nominating themselves, and are interested in maintaining the 50/50 criteria. Many have heard about the awards through our members, social media,and the press releases. France is running at a 25% women, 75% men ratio right now.

    We'll have a fuller report after we conclude the awards and analyze our research results.

    Still time to nominate!

    Now Playing & Coming Soon

    If you have a play or a reading between August 1 – August 31, please email Amy  ( before July 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the August newsletter.  Any play or reading  in September will appear in the COMING SOON column.

    Listen! The River by Robin Rice s a (true) story about love, loss and hope. It will be produced for two nights only by Articulate Theatre Company. July 6 and 8. New York, New York, USA

    God Bless Phyllis Schlafly by Amy Grant is a 10-minute play examining the women’s movement in America. July 15 & 16, 2017, MITF Short Play Lab, The Workshop Jewel Box Theater.  312 W 36th St., New York, New York, USA

    I’m wearing my own clothes! by Nancy Gall-Clayton will be performed July 15, 16, 20, and 23, by Looking for Lilith Theatre Company, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

    The Mess by Catherine Frid is a 10-minute play for two female actors that explores memory and forgetting, and the importance of reaching out across generations to transcend barriers and secrets. It will be presented as part of the NewMarket National Play Festival, July 22 - 23, 2017, NewMarket, Ontario, CANADA

    Plays by Carolyn Gage

         Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist, First Congregational Church, Soul Rebel Performance Troupe, July 14-16, Albany, New York, USA

         Lace Curtain Irish, Buxton Fringe Festival,featuring Joanne Lavelle. Dates and venues TBA. Buxton, Derbyshire, UK

         At Sea, Fresh Fruit Festival, directed by Kathe Mull, July (TBA) New York,  New York, USA

         Babe! An Olympian Musical, A concert/reading, National Women’s Music Festival, the NWMF Chorus and a pit orchestra! July 6-9, Madison, Wisconsin,USA

         The Obligatory Scene, Fresh Fruit Festival, directed by Kathe Mull, New York, New York, USA

    Maxine, And. by Lynne S. Brandon, part of the Athena Reads monthly play reading series. Athena Theatre Company, June 29, New York, New York, USA

    In the Restroom at Rosenblooms by Ludmilla Bollow will be presented on Fridays this July at Mosely Arts Center, Lake City Colorado, USA

    Women without Walls by Robin Rice, Small but Mighty Productions, August 2-6, Toronto, CANADA

    Articles of Interest

    The Articles of Interest column is now housed right here in the News Area of the website.

    The section will be curated by Karin Williams assisted by volunteers

    Lillian Caldwell
    Lori Marra

    Eleanor Oberio (Sept 1 - Nov 1)
    Debbie Tan
    Naijeria Toweett

    Thank you for all your hard work.

    Yours for innovative, engaging and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

  • 03 Jun 2017 10:37 PM | Mona Curtis

    Member Spotlight: Shannon Murdoch
    by Eliza Wyatt

    Shannon Murdoch holds a first class honours degree in Theatre and Creative Writing and was an Australia delegate to the International Youth Playwrights Festival. She has been aware of the magic of theatre since the age of eight but recognizes the special challenges in being a female playwright because 'women tell stories differently'. She has now given up paralegal work and is now able to workas a dramaturg and on her writing. She says she 'fiercely listens' to people who understand what she is trying to say and is a great fan of rewrites and submitting wherever and whenever possible.

    Researching theatres in Melbourne, her present location, gives us some idea of what she is up against, a challenge shared by all playwrights in big cities. The number of theatres is impressive, the total population of playgoers on any given night could easily reach ten thousand people. People watching opera, dance, musicals, contemporary art and performance shows and concerts. This kind of global entertainment to be found throughout the world. Shannon is aware that Australian theatre still has to build 'its cannon' and is still finding its voice. In her work she has had access to two different Australian backgrounds, the heat and humidity of Queensland and the often cloudy, grey and windy Melbourne. Atmospheric descriptions which I'm sure will find their way into the cannon of her work.

    Shannon is a winner of the U.S. Yale Drama Series Award and has a screenplay, Little Bitch, in development. She has an impressive list of productions in Australia, Canada and the U.S.

    the room where she works

    Q: Why did you become a playwright?

    My mum took me to see CATS! when I was 8 years old. I still remember every moment of that performance and the tingly feeling I had when the lights went down, anticipating that some sort of magic was about to happen. And it did. After that, I became hooked on theatre. Couldn’t get enough of it. I acted as a kid and as a teenager and then went to drama school, where I realised that I could sit down and create that tingly feeling with my own stories. And so, here we are.

    Q: Are there any special challenges in being a female playwright?

    Well, the statistics speak for themselves. We are half of the population competing for a quarter of the available production slots. But that’s not the real challenge. The real challenge is the fact that women tell stories differently. Not better, and definitely not worse. But different. A different shape, that sometimes does not fit neatly into traditional structures. So, the real challenge is to not only write our stories, but to find or invent the structures that support them in the best way, and make them as valuable and as prized as traditional structures.

    Q: What is special about theatre in Australia?

    I guess the fact that it is still so new. In the western world, we are a very young country, borne of a history of colonisation by people that stole land and lives from the traditional owners. A shameful past, which sits uneasily in the national consciousness. Added to that, Australian stories and Australian voices have only been heard on Australian stages since the 1950s. Before that, we only had British theatre. So, I think we still are trying to find our voices and still building our canon.

    Q: What advice would you give to your fellow (or aspiring) playwrights?

    I’m not big on advice, but here’s what I know to be true for my writing:

    • Ideas and the craft you need to bring those ideas to life rarely come together at the same time. I recently found a way to complete a play that I had the first idea for 9 years ago. It’s a marathon.

    • Know your good. Take the time to understand what kind of plays you want to write, why you want to write them, and what the best possible version of that is. Don’t stop writing it until you have reached that best possible version.

    • Fiercely listen to people who understand what you are trying to do. Politely ignore the rest.

    • Submit. Everywhere. Make it a part of your practice to get your plays in front of every set of eyes possible. You’ll be amazed at what happens next.

    • Have a life outside writing. No one needs another play about artists talking to artists about the problems that artists have. There are way too many good stories out there.

    Welcome New Members

    Carolyn Gage, USA

    Carolyn Gage is a lesbian feminist playwright, performer, director, and activist. The author of nine books on lesbian theatre and sixty-five plays, musicals, and one-woman shows, she specializes in non-traditional roles for women, especially those reclaiming famous lesbians whose stories have been distorted or erased from history.

    In 2014, she was one of the six featured playwrights at the 53rd Annual World Theatre Day, sponsored by UNESCO, and held in Rome. In 2014 she also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Venus Theatre in Laurel, Maryland. In 2015, the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College acquired her papers.

    Charmaine Spencer, USA

    As a teacher and professional puppeteer, Charmaine Spencer has written numerous story adaptations for young audiences including two-actor versions of The Time Machine and Treasure Island and an audience participation comedy entitled Higgledy Piggledy Mother Goose. Her play, Fireflies, concerning the young artists of Terezin concentration camp was published by Eldridge Plays. Her one-man musical about the life of Mario Lanza was twice produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and she is currently working on book and lyrics for Circus Boys, a musical story of the young Ringling Brothers and Mrs Magi, an urban retelling of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.”

    ICWP News

    We are excited to announce that the 50/50 Applause Award for Gender Equity in Theatre will launch on June 5th with nominations accepted from June 5 through June 30th. Some minor changes have been made to the criteria. Nomination forms and press releases will be available in English, Spanish, and French. More announcements to come.

    The 50/50 Applause Award team.

    Now Playing and Coming Soon

    If you have a play or a reading between July 1 – July 29, please email Amy  ( before June 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the July newsletter.  Any play or reading  in August will appear in the COMING SOON column.

    Liquid Lunch in Hell’s Kitchen, a monologue by Robin Rice will be part of The Strand Project. June 2, 3, 9, 10: Selah Dessert Theater, Struthers, Ohiio, USA

    Everyday Edna Mae also by Robin Rice will be presented June 15, 20, 22 at Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, New York City, USA

    Tops and Maxine by Lynne S. Brandon have been selected for readings by Athena Theatre Company. They will be read and discussed June 29th and July 27th at the Dramatists Guild Fund, 356 W. 40th Street (at 9th Ave.), as part of Athena Reads monthly play reading series.

    Gutless and Grateful by Amy Osestreicher June 30 at 9:30 p.m. at Feinstein’s/54 Below, New York City, USA

    In the Restroom at Rosenblooms by Ludmilla Bollow will be presented on Fridays this July at Mosely Arts Center, Lake City Colorado, USA

    Listen! The River by Robin Rice will by presented at Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Articulate Theatre Co. July 6 & 8, New York City, USA

    God Bless Phyllis Schlafly, a ten-minute play by Amy Drake examining the women’s movement in America, will be playing July 15 & 16 as part of the MITF Short Play Lab, New York, New York, USA

    The Mess, a 10-minute play by Catherine Frid that explores memory and forgetting, and the importance of reaching out across generations, will be playing at the NewMarket National Play Festival on July 22. NewMarket, Ontario, CANADA

    Articles of Interest

    Women in Theatre and Screen Australia believes in quotas and affirmative action in the pursuit of gender parity and gender diversity.

    The Guardian reports ten groundbreaking shows by women on Australian stages in 2016.

    Aussie Theater talks with Lisa Campbell about gender disparity in Australian theater.

    Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

  • 28 Apr 2017 7:12 AM | Mona Curtis

    Member Spotlight: Ibadete Abazi

    Ibadete Abazi is a screenwriter/playwright, born in 1990 in Kosovo (former Yugoslavia). She is currently completing her MFA in Dramaturgy at the University of Prishtina's Art Faculty.

    She holds a Bachelor of Dramaturgy from the same University. Abazi's first play, entitled Soldier of Two Wars was produced on December 2015 at Kosovo's Dodona Theatre.

    The play is considered a very powerful production, whose focus is an American soldier who served in Balkan conflicts - specifically the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo - and married a wealthy Albanian Kosovar. The play has been translated from the original Albanian into English and Turkish

    Ibadete Abazi is a screenwriter /playwright, born in 1990 in Kosovo (former Yugoslavia). She is currently completing her MFA in Dramaturgy at the University of Prishtina's Art Faculty. She holds a Bachelor of Dramaturgy from the same University.

    badete Abazi is a screenwriter/playwright, born in 1990 in Kosovo (former Yugoslavia). She is currently completing her MFA in Dramaturgy at the University of Prishtina's Art Faculty. She holds a Bachelor of Dramaturgy from the same University. Abazi's first play, entitled Soldier of Two Wars was produced on December 2015 at Kosovo's Dodona Theatre.

    The play is considered a very powerful production, whose focus is an American soldier who served in Balkan conflicts - specifically the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo - and married a wealthy Albanian Kosovar. The play has been translated from the original Albanian into English and Turkish. Abazi has also authored two other plays entitled Female Fragrance and Two Enemies and Soldiers, both produced in Kosovo in 2016. She is married to Kosovar-American actor Avni Abazi, and they have two daughters. In the foreseeable future, Abazi plans to live and work in the United States

    Q: Why did you become a playwright?

    A: It's funny how life sometimes pulls you into unexpected directions in your profession. The truth is that I never thought someday I would ever become a playwright, even though during my teenage years I wrote poetry.

    I was at the end of my high school studies for architecture, when I met my actor boyfriend, who is now my husband. Following high school graduation, I tried to get into the faculty of Architecture at the University of Prishtina, but because of stiff competition, I wasn't accepted. I was very disappointed, but Avni, my then-boyfriend approached me and said that it wasn't the end of the world, because there are other things as beautiful as architecture.

    He proceeded to place on a table volumes written by Shakespeare, Arthur Miller and Chekhov, noting that “books can be the biggest pain-relievers at the most disappointing times of our lives”. After reading Chekhov's The Boor, I asked Avni why he had given me only theatre plays to review. He replied that if I decided to write plays, he may have the chance to act in them someday. However, he continued, if I became an architect, he may never enjoy living in any of the buildings that I might design.

    Finally, he asked me what I ultimately wanted to be in my professional life. He opined that as an architect I would help to create buildings, but as a playwright, I would have the opportunity to enhance and beautify the human spirit. And that’s how it all started.

    For six months, I pored over the authors' works that Avni had recommended, and then diligently prepared for study at the Faculty of Arts. I remember the first dialogue that I wrote. Avni suggested that I plumb my memory in order to call to mind the most unique and different characters that I knew from life, and unite them.

    Doing that, he said, may potentially create a conflict, and when you have the latter, you have a perfect recipe for drama. Even now as I am doing my masters, that’s the principle I apply when starting any script or a writing play.

    Looking back, I couldn't be happier that I wasn't accepted into the architecture program.

    Q: Are there any special challenges in being a female playwright?

    A: Well, it's an out-of-the-gate challenge, because your work is judged by a double-measure compared with your male counterparts. You are obligated to create higher-quality work than a man, not because someone forces you to do it, but because you feel that in all of the discussions, male authors are held up as the best models in writing.

    I personally feel lucky, because three of my plays have been produced by my husband, and I have been cooperating with him even while being produced. Now that I've passed the test on staging here in Kosovo, I've been working with an excellent British female translator named Alexandra Channer, and the good news is that we've received a positive response from Kosovo's Ministry of Culture (MOC).

    We are pleased about the MOC's decision to finance the three-play publication in English. We also believe that my plays have universal themes, even though the subject matter is taken from Kosovar life. For example, the play Female Fragrance, deals with the topic of rape, and I think that everywhere in the world, women are vulnerable to many types of abuse.

    I also think that Two Enemies and Soldiers, which focuses on two enemies (one Serb and one Albanian) who are fleeing from the war could be a drama that might be produced in Austria, and involve a Jew and a Palestinian. It could also take place in New York City, and deal with an American and a German in the aftermath of World War II.

    So I can say that it has been a challenge to work as a playwright in Kosovo, but all things considered, I believe I've succeeded in achieving my goals. And I hope and pray that I'll find success in the U.S.A. as well.

    Q: What is special about theater in Southeastern Europe?

    A: I would consider the answer to lie in our great diversity of culture, as well as the major political changes from communism to democracy that the region has undergone. The latter have led to numerous senseless wars, and the suffering that people have experienced are, for good or for bad, inexhaustible resources for playwrights.

    That said however, up to this point, has Southeastern Europe, otherwise known as the Balkans, utilized these events to create the best plays and novels? I really don't think so. Even years after the Yugoslav wars have ended, theatres in this part of Europe are still characterized by extreme nationalism.

    Authors and directors, in many cases, have become complicit with the nationalist politics of their respective governments in almost all former Yugoslav nations. Some well-known writers who found success in the 1990s today ply their trade for daily consumption.

    Depending on which country the play is produced in, theaters attempt to show that their nation's people are upstanding and progressive-minded, and entrusted with sacred missions.

    The neighboring people, with whom they once fought, are formulaically introduced as evil and corrupt. The enemy, as in the case of Muslim Bosnians and Kosovar Albanians, are often typecast as terrorists.

    No matter how good a play may be that is written by say, a Croatian author, it is extremely difficult for that work to be staged in Serbia or other Balkan countries. The situation is even harder with ethnic-Albanian authors from Kosovo, because of the large presence of the international community, and the latter's influence on local artists.

    In Kosovo, following the war's end in 1999, the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) helped to engender a spirit of forgiveness towards the Milosevic regime, with regard to the crimes perpetrated by Belgrade's directive in the region. And so the artistic community found itself in a difficult situation: Some adopted the same exclusionary attitude that was prevalent in other former Yugoslav countries, in order to create a kind of national folk-theater.

    Others lobbied for international funds, and staged improvisations that cast negative aspersions on "outsiders and enemies". A third category violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) laws by performing international theatre plays - after translating them into Albanian - and producing/publishing them as their own.

    I should also note that there is a popular trend among theater managers to seek offerings by American and European authors. In my opinion, this is an unfortunate development, because millions of dollars have been invested in promoting Kosovar culture by foreign foundations over the past 17, post-war years.

    However, if you ask the average person whether any noteworthy local playwright has appeared on the arts-scene resulting from all of this outside "financial encouragement", the answer is an emphatic no. I therefore think the time has come for these small Southeastern European nations to form an open dialogue, and to organize dramaturgy competitions.

    I am confident that the results of such collaboration would be of interest to European and American theaters, as something exotic and different for those audiences.I have, by the way, competed in dozens of American theaters with my two dramas, but have ironically been unable to break into a sole competition in the much closer neighboring countries.

    It is tragi-comic, I think, that playwrights from this region need to work very industriously to be produced in western theatres, only after which our local theatres will recognize our value and produce our plays.

    Q: What advice would you give to your fellow (or aspiring) playwrights?

    A: If you go to a zoo to be entertained, you see a variety of wild animals locked in their cages. In my plays, I undo the latches and attempt to set the creatures free.

    Thereafter, the beasts fight for their territories - for their rights, if you will. It is this catalyst that creates a conflict, which quickly evolves into a drama. That said, find the zoo both within you and around you, and throw them together. At that point, you're good to go with the resulting mix. I actually think I read that formula in an Ingmar Bergman biography.

    Welcome New Member

    Sidra Rausch, USA

    ICWP News

    Thank you to all those who participated in the online Annual Meeting for all ICWP members. All Board of Trustee members were reinstated with the welcome addition of Lilian Cauldwell. In the Board Meeting that followed, these officers were elected.

    President - Sophia Romma
    Vice President - Lucia Verona

    Treasurer - Rita Barkey

    Secretary - Sharon Wallace

    Now Playing & Coming Soon

    If you have a play or a reading between June 1 – June 30, please email Amy  ( before May 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the June newsletter.  Any play or reading  in July will appear in the COMING SOON column.

    May 2017 Half Full, Catherine Frid's play about youth anxiety for grades 7 - 10 is receiving a school tour by Mixed Company Theatre in Toronto, CANADA.

    May 3 Come and seeAct Like a Feminist Artist. Guerrilla Girl Aphra Behn speaks, signs, and unmasks at CalPoly, Pomona, California, USA

    Faye Sholiton’s Funny Valentine will be produced as part of the Stray Kats Theatre Company's "Still Crazy After All These Years" festival, one of 8 short plays for folks over 55. Newtown, Connecticut, USA May 5, 6, 7 Hamden, Connecticut, USA May 11, 12, 13

    Elana Gartner's new play Before Lesbians will be receiving a staged reading at her 20th reunion at Oberlin College. Directed by Zoe Kushlefsky, class of 2018. May 20, Oberlin, Ohio. USA Warner Building.

    An excerpt of Nancy Gall-Clayton's full-length comedy Lightening Up is one of several featured May 19-27, at Khaos Company Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

    God Bless Phyllis Schlafly, a ten-minute play by Amy Drake examining the women’s movement in America, will be playing July 15 & 16 as part of the MITF Short Play Lab, New York, New York, USA

    The Mess, a 10-minute play by Catherine Frid that explores memory and forgetting, and the importance of reaching out across generations, will be playing at the NewMarket National Play Festival on July 22. Ontario, CANADA


    Articles of Interest

    The national Theatre of Kosovo hosts a growing performing arts scene in Pristina.

    Poland is home to the  Polski Theatre in Wroclaw, the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival and the International Theatre Schools Festival.

    The Czech Republic has a thriving theatre scene, including experimental and puppet theatre.

    The State Jewish Theater in Bucharest, Romania is keeping Yiddish culture alive.

    In Ukraine, civilians and soldiers are collaborating on stage to exorcise war-related trauma.

    Yours for innovative, engaging and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

  • 02 Apr 2017 2:03 AM | Mona Curtis

    Member Spotlight:  Antonia Brancati

    Antonia Brancati is an Italian literary agent, translator, and playwright. Her mother was famed actress Anna Proclemer and her father was the great novelist and playwright Vitaliano Brancati. In 1991 she become a Literary Agent for the theatre, representing in Italy, just to name one, Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter. In 1993 her first play Preoccupazione per Lalla (They All Worry about Lalla) was staged with a good success at Teatro Politecnico in Rome. In 2012 she is one of the founder of CeNDIC (National Centre of Italian Contemporary Playwrights.) Her representative play is PAST IMPERFECT (AKA I Would Prefer Not To.)

    What are the joys and challenges of being a playwright?

    Creativity is the real joy – I mean the process of it, at any steps: pursuing, tackling, attempting, striving at, working on, missing, failing, conquering for a brief moment of elation, then starting again from scratch. The main challenge is really to find the way to at least show one’s finished work (not as easy as it seems). But doesn’t this go for any field of arts as well as crafts?

    Challenges more specific to playwriting I believe are the ones we playwrights pose to ourselves: the one I personally find most intriguing is how to write the subtext without actually writing it, or how to make my characters reveal their intentions while I make them say words contrary to those very intentions.

    Are there any special challenges associated with being a woman playwright?

    I became a playwright when I was the wrong side of forty. My beloved father was a great writer, a novelist, a playwright, an essayist, a screenwriter – the only trouble being that he died when I was only seven. My mother was one of the greatest stage actresses in Italy. I won’t mention my Electra complex, because you may all well imagine it. Since I was a child I knew I would be a writer. When I was about twenty, I knew I actually was a writer – and also knew better than saying it out loud because I had no publication to prove it. I was a secret writer, alright, and I kept writing and writing and writing for myself.

    One day I read that Teatro di Roma was launching a theatre seminar; I thought attending it would do my work as an agent good - and I decided to join in. I vaguely expected we would politely talk about theatre in general, what it is and what it should be. No polite talks, however. The maestro said “Useless to discuss theory: let’s work on your works instead.” – At which, all the other participants around me took their scripts out of their pockets with what seemed to me the sound of a machine-gun. I was the only one empty-handed. I decided I would not be left behind, and started writing my very first play. It was eventually staged. Which made it possible for me to maintain I was a writer.

    As for being a woman playwright – a few years back the director of teatro Stabile in Turin sent a letter to various playwrights, including myself, asking us to write a one-act on what theatre was for us. A splendid idea, after which – and before the one-acts could be staged – he was fired by the theatre. Believe me, that explains a lot about theatre in Italy.

    For that project, I wrote a piece titled “The Playwright’s Nightmare”, and it was all about a male author, a certain Paolo, who has been granted the permission to see a rehearsal of his work. He wanders about the theatre, disregarded and belittled even by the last of the props men, finds that his play is being completely distorted by the star-director, and keeps wondering why is he wearing a skirt and everybody keeps calling him Anita instead. My mother read the play and was quite amused by the antics I had given to the Director (a quite recognizable character), but wondered why I had added the bit about the Author dreaming he was an Authoress. “Elementary, Mother.”, I said. “What worst nightmare may there be in our xenophile country than to be an Italian playwright – and a woman besides!” And the situation hasn’t really improved much.

    What special contribution does Italy give to theatre?  

    For centuries, Italy existed only as a common culture and language. But in the 18th and 19th century, that language was well known and spoken by intellectuals and in the courts of all Europe. It was the language of Opera everywhere.

    Italy was united under the kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia in 1861. There was a very important Company in Piedmont: Compagnia Reale Sarda founded in 1820 and generously subsidized by the government. Over 34 years the Compagnia produced 591 Italian plays and extensively toured abroad. In 1855 the subsidies were cut and the Company was disbanded. That was the dawning of the new Kingdom of Italy.

    Our (exportable) theatre is mainly visual. As for that, we can offer visually excellent shows by excellent directors who tend to believe they are the only real authors of a play. As far as they are concerned, all the actual playwright has to do is to provide a meager excuse for the director’s creativity. Not a text, but a pretext.

    What has been your most rewarding experience as a playwright? 

    I really feel rewarded any time a piece of mine is chosen and staged. I love having a play of mine staged abroad, as that gives me a perfect excuse to travel. I like to remember how fun it was being in Mexico City for the opening of a play of mine with my husband and my mother – and to see mother peacocking around: “I am the mother of the autora!” (she always had to be the absolute star!)

    And of course I like good notices. I am more doubtful about compliments, however. I remember one a very important critic paid me a few years ago: “You write like a man!” – but isn’t it another way to say that if you do not have gonads you’re really not worth much? - He was so patronisingly convinced that I actually did take that as a compliment, even though I honestly found it dubious. How could I object, though? Even St. Catherine used to exhort to “be manly” men and women alike, and she is the patron saint of Italy, after all. Another critic once told me: “I hope you don’t mind if I tell you that I find your play a pièce bien faite.” I still don’t see why I should have minded.

    What advice would you give to any playwright? 

    Write what you enjoy writing. Which really means enjoy without having your creativity hampered by worries of eventual production requirements (you know: small cast, one set, a not too controversial topic, dramedy with a hint of farce, or whatever). Leave also aside any thoughts of possible failure – and any dreams of success. Live for the moment: feel free and enjoy the feeling.

    On the other hand – if you are commissioned a piece on an indifferent topic and with lots of production requirements do not turn it down: rather use it as a mental gym – a particular kind of Sudoku. That also can be fun.

    Welcome New Members

    Wendy-Marie Martin, USA

    Wendy-Marie Martin holds a BFA in Acting and an MFA in Playwriting and has taught, directed and performed in Europe and the U.S. Her short plays have been produced in Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, and the U.S and published by YouthPLAYS, Theatrefolk, Polychoron Press and Smith & Krauss. She is creator and Executive Producer of The Red Eye 10s International Play Festival and co-producer of San Francisco Stage & Film's The Future is Female Festival readings. Wendy-Marie is a member of the Dramatists Guild, TCG, and the Playwrights' Center and currently teaches Theatre History for Allan Hancock College/PCPA. For more information about Wendy-Marie's work, please visit her website at

    Sidra Rausch, USA

    Maya Cohen, USA

    I am an undergraduate college student at Tulane University with majors in Psychology and Gender and Sexuality who loves writing plays and monologues in her free time. I'm not here to make a professional career out of playwriting, but I love feedback and want to continue to write.

    Joyce Fontana, USA

    After four decades in healthcare and academia, Joyce Fontana, PhD, brought to fruition a lifelong ambition to write creatively. As a seasoned theater patron and parent of an actor, dabbling in play writing was a natural draw. After one of her first 10 minute play script attempts, 23 Skidoo, was selected for production at the Durango Arts Center 10 Minute Play Festival. She was hooked.

    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

    Joyce thrives on opportunities to see her characters and dialogues come to life, but seeks constructive feedback, encouragement, and advice from masters of the art. Thus, she was delighted to be invited to the 2017 25th Annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez AK. Joyce works, plays, and writes in beautiful Southwest Colorado where she lives with her husband and three dogs.

    Vickie Williams, USA

    Vickie L. Williams is a playwright from northeast Ohio. She is a Puffin Foundation and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award recipient. Her play Angelic Voices In Ritardando was listed as one of the top twelve in the Sky Blue International Playwright Competition, Cambridge, Great Britain and as a semi-finalist in Manhattan’s Theatre’s Estrogenius Festival.

    Her productions include: Diamond In The Rough (Cleveland Public Theatre’s Station Hope and Road To Hope festivals), Imagine Freedom (CPT’s Station of Hope festival) and Commemorative

    (Karamu Performing Arts Center). Her stage readings and workshops include:

    Angelic Voices In Ritardando, Even The Blind Can See, Expendables, and Vigil.

    Vickie has earned a B.A. in communications and has contributed works to several anthologies, the latest being, “365 WOMEN A YEAR: A PLAYWRITING PROJECT."

    Sabrina Binte Masud, Bangladesh

    Sabrina Binte Masud is a BBC award winning playwright, screenplay writer, fiction writer and poet writing in English in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is one of the founding members of Brine Pickles, first English performance literature group in the country, founder of Golpokotha bilingual writer's group, an assistant professor, and a Fulbright Scholar.

    Part of her development as a writer is due to BBC international playwright’s residency in London, creative writer’s workshop at University of East Anglia, UK and learning about screenplay writing while working for BBC Media Action, from Sophia Rashid, screenwriter for the East Enders.

    She is one of the founding members of Brine Pickles, the first ever English Performance Literature Group in Bangladesh, as part of the Connecting Futures Project launched by the British Council. In 2005-2006, the project culminated into the Connecting Futures Creative Writers Workshop between UK and Bangladeshi young writers that resulted in the publication the English anthology Maps and Metaphors (2006). Over the years, Brine Pickles endeavors have enabled her to stage couple of her one act plays – How To Be A Monster (2004), Messed Up Me (2005), Escaping Paradise (2007), Obviously Thou Art A Hoax (2006), and Do Not Push (2014). She has done her BA in English and MA in Applied Linguistics and ELT from Dhaka University and MA, Department of African American Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, through Fulbright Scholarship.

    At present she is working as an Assistant Professor, Department of English, Eastern University. Sabrina is one of the editors and members of the publishing committee of the anthology entitled 9th Edge, Creative Writing from Bangladesh. She is also the project director for Brine Pickles for an international creative writing project (2011-2014) funded by the American Center. The project ended with the publication of an anthology Patchwork Pages (2014).

    Now Playing & Coming Soon

    If you have a play or a reading between May 1 – May 31, please email Amy  ( before April 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the May newsletter.  Any play or reading  in June will appear in the COMING SOON column.

    A Heroine Free Summer by Jennifer Decker. Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company, Houston, Texas, USA. March 30-April 15, 2017

    By Sandra de Helen

    Sandra’s ten-minute piece A Grave Situation will be performed as part of SWAN Day, April 8, Athena Cats New Works Festival, in Santa Monica, California, USA

    Sandra’s monologue, Common as a Loaf of Bread  will be read April 11 as part of Diversionary Theatre's WordPlay Tuesday series. San Diego, California, USA

    Alan Woods’s ten-minute play Not the Delany Sisters will be performed by THAT’s for Seniors in Holland, Manitoba, as part of “Gettin’ On” on April 9, 2017.

    April 24-27, Robin Rice’s And Then The Elements Spoke Articulate Theatre, Articulating the Arts, T.Schreiber Theatre, New York, NY USA

    Member Melba Larose’s ”marathon multicultural, multidisciplinary, multimedia play” After the Wall about walls around the world and throughout time is being read at Plays & Pizza at Lucky Jack's the next being April 24th at 7:30 pm. They are also read at Times Square Playwrights every Tuesday night. New York, NY USA

    In the Restroom and Rosenblooms (Full length comedy) by Ludmilla Bollow April 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 - (7 performances) Memories Ballroom Dinner Theatre, Port Washington, Wisconsin USA

    An Elizabethan Progress by Amy Drake at the South-Central Renaissance Conference, Austin, TX, Apr. 21, 2017.

    Jamie Pachino’s play Other Than Honorable opens at Geva Theatre on April 29th. Previews begin April 26th. It's directed by Kimberly Senior. Rochester, NY USA

     Articles of Interest

    Broadway World provides a window into world theatre, with tickets to shows in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.


    Theatre in Paris makes French productions accessible to English-speaking audiences via projected subtitles.


    The Goethe Institute celebrates the creativity and diversity of German theater and performance.


    Spain’s Microteatro began a micro-theatre trend that’s spreading abroad.


    The National Theatre of Greece offers an eclectic mix of classics and modern experimental work.

    Yours for innovative, engaging and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

  • 30 Mar 2017 2:26 AM | Mona Curtis

                                       Meet the Board

    President:  Sophia Romma

    Playwright/Producing Artistic Director, Dr. Romma is the author of fourteen stage-plays which have been produced Off-Off Broadway and Off-Broadway, three of which have been produced at La MaMa E.T.C. Her play, "The Past Is Still Ahead," which she co-directed with legendary Swiss director, François Rochaix, has been performed at the Cherry Lane Theatre, praised by critics at the Midtown International Theater Festival and toured London, Moscow, Montreal and Seoul. The Negro Ensemble Company presented Romma’s "The Mire" at the Cherry Lane Theatre, directed by Charles Weldon of the NEC, which Andrew Webster of the New York Times heralded for “grinding down stubborn cultural borders with love’s symphony.” Romma’s Off-Broadway musical, “Cabaret Émigré,” was lauded by The Villager for her heart-wrenching, brave theatrical voice: “Romma has crafted an erotic American Vernacular in quantum verse, delving deep into the dislocated émigré’s soul.” Dr. Romma is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (M.F.A) and has received her Ph.D. in Philology at the prestigious Maxim Gorky Literature Institute. Romma served as Literary Manager of the Negro Ensemble Company.  She is currently the Producing Artistic Director of The O’Neill Film and Theatrical Foundation. (

    Vice President:  Patricia L. Morin

    Patricia L. Morin, MA, LCSW, and VP of the International Centre for Women Playwrights, began playwriting in 2011. After having four mystery short stories published, and loving theatre, she began writing plays. Her first short play, The Gatekeeper swept 2012 Fringe of Marin award, and was later voted one of the best plays in their twenty-five year history (2016). It wasn’t until joining ICWP that she realized the depth and breath of women’s issues worldwide, many not being heard, in all areas, but especially theatre. She is proud to be a part of an organization that strives to have those voices be heard.

    To learn more about Pat

    Vice President:  Amy Drake

    Amy Drake is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Board member of the International Centre for Women Playwrights and Theatre Communications Group. Amy’s plays have been performed in New York, Chicago, and other US cities. Her recent play, Eyes like Opaque Gems, was voted Most Popular Play in the Midtown International Theater Festival (MITF) Short Play Lab, NYC.  Home Body received a staged reading at The Ohio State University New Works Lab in 2015 and was nominated for four awards in MITF, New York. She was voted Theatre Roundtable Best Director for Night Must Fall and was assistant director for the Actors’ Theatre production of Servant of Two Masters, which ranked among The Columbus Dispatch Top-10 shows of 2012. Amy is also a stage actor and director, commercial actor, an author, academic writer, conference speaker, and poet. She holds a B.A. from Ohio Dominican University and a M.S. degree in marketing and communication from Franklin University. Her education includes play writing, creative writing and history summer programs at Cambridge University, UK, Reed Hall, Paris, Kenyon (College) Summer Institute, and Yale University.

    Secretary:  Sharon Wallace

    Sharon Wallace is a Playwright and Poet with a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in Humanities and Culture from Union Institute and University. Her dissertation topic is African American Playwrights and the Empowerment of Black Women. Sharon earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Playwriting from Goddard College.  She has a Masters degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in English from The University of Detroit Mercy, and earned a Bachelors degree in English Literature at Marygrove College. Sharon is a full-time professor in the English department at Wayne County Community College District.

    Representative Plays:  Long Way Home; 1967A Life of its Own, and Outside the Lions Paw.

    Treasurer:  Rita Barkey

    Rita is a playwright and fiction writer who believes in 50/50 gender parity in today’s theaters, so she offers her time and service to ICWP. She resides in Western Montana where she formed the Zoola Writers playwrights collective to support the production of brave, new work.Over a dozen of her own plays have been produced around the U.S., and she holds an MFA from The Ohio State University.

    Representative plays: The Trigger Gene, The Lieutenant Nun’s Tale

    Board Member:  Lucia Verona

    Born in Arad, Romania, in 1949, Lucia Verona had dreamed of becoming an opera diva, studied at the Music Academy in Bucharest, then moved on and started writing. She is now a well-known playwright, with many plays produced, published and awarded major prizes, some of them translated and performed in France and the USA. She is also a successful author of fiction, her novels and short stories being well liked by critics and well bought (and loved) by the readers. Her latest books, “Crime at the Jubilee”, “Crimes at the Festival”, “Murder in the Old City” and “Death Comes to the First Night” are bestseller mystery writings with a celebrated opera diva as a private investigator. She is also known as a translator of Shakespeare's plays into Romanian. Since August 2016 she has been an advisor to the Mayor of Bucharest and a few weeks ago she was appointed manager of a new theatre in Bucharest – The Romanian Playwrights Theatre.

    Member of the Romanian Writers’ Union since 1989, Member of the ICWP since 2006.
    Her website and blog is partly written in English. (

    Board Member:  Eliza Wyatt
    Eliza Wyatt is a Gemini writer, who writes mostly plays but has been known to stray into poetry and prose writing. She has been active in the Boston scene for a number of years but is presently to be found in Brighton, England where she has just finished an autobiographical novel entitled The Mother Cluebook. She says she became a playwright after working in a literary agency in London, meeting many notable playwrights and seeing memorable plays.

    Board Member:  Karin Williams

    Karin is a playwright and screenwriter whose work has been produced by San Diego's Fritz Theater (where she served as playwright-in-residence from 1992-2001), NYC's Looking Glass Theater, Art House Productions, Space 55, Long Island Theatre Collective, New York New Works Festival, Flush Ink! Productions, the Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre Digital Performance Institute, Lamia Ink!, CollaboractionTheater, Boston Theaterworks, and many more. As a partner in the motion media company CulpepperWilliams, she wrote and produced "The Captive" (Webby People's Choice Award & NYTVF "Best Web Series" Award) and the independent feature "Jordan." Her plays are available through Original Works Publishing and YouthPlays.

    I became a playwright because I believe drama communicates our wisdom and values as a culture, and I wanted to contribute to that conversation. I also believe women's voices need to be heard on an equal basis with men's, and women playwrights need to stand up and claim their power as artists. I'm proud to be a board member of an organization that has been supporting and empowering women for over 25 years.

    Board Member:  Mona Curtis

    Mona Curtis is a self-taught artist and playwright. Her play The Postmodernist was workshopped in the Seven Devils Playwright’s Conference and produced in the Summer 2016 Mid-Town International Theatre Festival. She writes plays because scenes, situations, and dialogues well up inside her and it it joyous to be able to put them all together into a work of art. She is a student of all art and also enjoys computers and graphic design. So she has been the ICWP volunteer newsletter editor for at least four years, a process she has grown to love. She thinks ICWP is one of the most supportive organizations on the planet and is honored to be a part of it.  She has a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Lanugage from the University of Idaho.  She lives and works in China.

    Welcome New Board Member:  Lillian S. Cauldwell

    Ms. Lillian S. Cauldwell has interviewed numerous bestselling fiction and nonfiction authors on the national acclaimed phone group tour, PBP Playback Producers. She has also been a Media Advisor at The National Publicity Summit in New York Ciity at the request of Steve Harrison. For the past four years, Ms. Cauldwell has interviewed national and international authors in person and by telephone for the Miami International Book Festival.

    Lillian S. Cauldwell is known in the Media Industry as ‘Passionate’ and ‘Getting Things done!’

    For the past several years, Ms. Cauldwell has written theater of the absurd and black comedy plays. In addition, she has ghost-written blogs for top business executives including inter-active e-books from articles, blogs, commentaries, letters-to-the-editors, and vlogs for top business executives and authors. She helps business individuals master the techniques of presentation and interpersonal skills.

    Clients engaged Ms. Lillian S. Cauldwell for her honesty, integrity, passion, getting things done, 25 years of research skills, 10 years of audio streaming and interviewing, versatility, communication and interpersonal skills. 

    Welcome New Member

    MT Cozzola is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Her plays have been produced and/or developed at Chicago Dramatists; The Side Project; The Fine Print Theatre; Victory Gardens; Donny’s Skybox; La MaMa ETC;  The Ruckus; and other theatres. Commissions: Working Women’s History Project; Step Up Productions; The Side Project; and Something Marvelous: A Festival of Magical Realism. Honors: Winner, Heartland Theatre’s 2015 New Plays from the Heartland; 2015 Equity Library Showcase Finalist; 2014 Illinois Arts Council Award; Residencies at La MaMa Umbria, Ragdale, and Playa. She is represented by The Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency.

    Now Playing & Coming Soon

    If you have a play or a reading between April 1 – April 30, please email Amy  ( before March 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the April newsletter.  Any play or reading  in Mayl will appear in the COMING SOON column.

    By Christine Emmert

    When Gertrude Came to Play will be part of the SHE SPEAKS festival in Kitchener,      Ontario, CANADA, March 4 & 5.

    Fragile Freedom will be shown on March 18th and From Out the Fiery Furnace will be shown on March 25th atHopewell Furnace National Park Visitor’s Center, Birdsboro, Pennsylvania USA

    Say No More (an adaptation of Strindberg's “The Stronger”) will be presented at Phoenixville Library on March 30th, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, USA

    By Robin Rice

    Alice in Black and White, March 9-18, Looking for Lilith Theatre Co., Louisville, Kentucky, USA

    Lust & Lies, March 15, 365-NYC. Encore Theatre for the New City, New York, USA

    The short play BUDFUD129ZK (about a woman scientist in the future) will be part of TheFuture Is Female Festival in NYC on March 22 (7:30, Bernie Wohl Center).

    By Katherine Koller

    The Lost Goddess is part of The Mommy Monologues, produced by SkirtsAfire Her Arts Festival in Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA, March 2-12, 2017.

    A staged reading of Riverkeeper is presented by Alumnae Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, as part of the New Ideas Festival on March 11, 2017.

Ludmilla Bollow’s full-length comedy, In the Restroom at Rosenblooms March 3-5 - Shelby Community Theatre - Shelby KY, USA

    And So ... by Patricia L. Morin will be a part of Flush Ink Production's SHE SPEAKS-WOMEN'S WORKS, WOMEN'S WORDS festival March 4th and 5th in Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA.

    The Nearly Final Almost Posthumous Play of the Not-Quite-Dead Sutton McAllister by Kristine Bauske, March 10-26, Tennessee Stage Company, Knoxville, Tenn. USA

    A Heroine Free Summer by Jennifer Decker. Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company, Houston, Texas, USA. March 30-April 15, 2017

    World Premier Reading of Cortex Kin by Elana Gartner. March 10, 7:30 p.m. Dixon Place, New York, NY USA

    A Kitten by Any Other Name by Marjorie Conn March 3, 4, & 5 at The Producers’ Club Theaters, New York City, USA

    March 10-11-12, the world premiere of Precious Bane Musical by Geralyn Horton, Needham Community Theater, Needham, Massachusetts, USA

    Alan Woods’s ten-minute play Not the Delany Sisters will be performed by THAT’s for Seniors in Holland, Manitoba, as part of “Gettin’ On” on April 9, 2017.

    In the Restroom and Rosenblooms (Full length comedy) by Ludmilla Bollow April 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 - (7 performances) Memories Ballroom Dinner Theatre, Port Washington, Wisconsin USA

    A Heroine Free Summer by Jennifer Decker. Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company, Houston, Texas, USA. March 30-April 15, 2017

    Yours for innovative, engaging and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

    P.S.  We are looking for a European playwright (not UK or Eastern Europe) for the April newsletter.  Please feel free to nominate someone or self nominate.

  • 30 Mar 2017 2:13 AM | Mona Curtis

    Help keep the ICWP 50/50 Applause Award alive!

    We're launching a Generosity Campaign to fund the 2017 50/50 Applause Award.  We need your help.

    Click Here to go to the Generosity Campaign

    A Short History of the 50/50 Applause Award

    From an ICWP listserv conversation thread back in 2007-2009, collective minds discussed the evidence-based worldwide discrimination against female playwrights, including the cultural consequences for society and the financial effects experienced by female playwrights. Emily Glassberg Sands released a study called “Opening the Curtain on Playwright Gender,” which showed that only 18% of the productions done in the United States in 2008 were female playwrights. Research statistics continued to dribble out over different news medias at that time.

    What could we, the International Centre for Women Playwrights, with the mission to support women playwrights worldwide and bring attention to their work, do to increase the number of women-authored plays on professional stages? Suggestions ranged from blacklisting theatres that produced all-male or male-dominated seasons to publishing a list of theatres that practiced gender equity and applaud them. An idea was floated that we could give awards to those theatres!

    ICWP expanded, from its first International Women Playwrights conference in 1988 in Buffalo, NY, where two hundred women playwrights from thirty countries around the world attended.

    ICWP developed more internet based programs to service the community and in 2000 a separate sister organization, Women Playwrights International, continued to organize the inspirational triennial International Women Playwright Conferences in countries around the world.

    However, over time, more issues were raised on the Listserv discussions and more research studies emerged from Canada, Australia, and the UK, illustrating the male bias in theatre. (Some of those research results can be read in the statement for the Generosity campaign.)

    Why was the work of women playwrights underrepresented? Why was this issue so important? Because productions result in more professional and career development for playwrights: more commissions, more residencies, more travel, more publications, and more book sales, which results in more productions. It is an economic cycle from which many talented female playwrights are excluded.

    So Elana Gartner,  co-chair Rebecca Osborne, and Deborah Magid, created the 50/50 Applause Award program. In the first year, 2011-2012, five theatres received the award, all within the United States. And as Dr. Jennifer Munday, president of the ICWP during those years, stated, “These companies need special thanks for the integrity of their decision making.”

    In the following years, with Kris Bauske (50/50 Award video director) as co-chair, and Margaret McSeveney as Communication Manager, the bar was raised bringing the 50/50 through different levels. An Award Committee was formed and volunteers donated their precious time. Kris introduced a video component.

    By 2016, the 50/50 program awarded 107 certificates to theatres in 10 countries on 5 continents!  According to the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Annual Theatre Production Survey (2015), out of 812 productions in the 2013/14 season, 63% were written by men, 22% by women, and 15% by mixed gender partnerships. We are gaining slowly.

    We have stretched the resources of the volunteer team who administer the Award and research, vet and organize the information for each theatre. We’ve had to invest in more IT such as the online database. The program has outgrown the capacity that a volunteer team can provide. This year we need monetary support to sustain the growth of the program.

    What has happened as a result of the 50/50 Applause Award?

    We raised the awareness throughout the theatre community, and caused theatre professionals to engage in dialog about gender disparity. We have partnered with multiple organizations to increase visibility for women playwrights in multiple countries. And, percentages of productions for women-authored plays have risen in most of the regions in the world.

    As you read more about the program in the Generosity campaign page, on the right column, you can see where the money is spent, and what your dollars will support.

    The campaign will run from March 3 to April 7th. Please share the Generosity link with your friends, family, and community.

    And donate!

    Thank you.


    March Spotlights

    These are some of the main players in the development of the 50/50 Award.  However MANY members contributed MANY hours of time and effort.  Time and space do not allow us to mention them all.

    Margaret McSeveney is a Scottish writer of plays, poems and short stories. She has been a member of ICWP since 1997. She has supported ICWP, serving on theBoard of Trustees and at different times, as List moderator,  Webmaster, Secretary, Vice-President and President. Her involvement in the establishment of the 50/50 Applause Awards grew out of discussions on the ICWP Listserv around 2007 - 2009 when various research reports about the lack of gender equity in theatre were published in the USA, the UK and other countries around the world.

    Kris Bauske holds a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan. Her first play, A Good Old Fashioned, Redneck Country Christmas, written in 2008, garnered national attention and is published by Samuel French. It has been adapted for the stage as a musical and is represented by Gary DaSilva, as are all her works. The musical is also published by Samuel French, Inc. A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Wedding, the long-awaited sequel to Redneck Christmas is also published by Samuel French. The screenplay for Redneck Christmas, written by Kris, is in development with Lenz Entertainment of Toronto. The expected release date of the full-length feature film is November 2018.

    Kris is a full member of the Dramatist’s Guild of America, International Centre for Women Playwrights, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and the Theatre Communications Group. She was nominated for the 2011, 2013, & 2015 Francesca Primus award presented by ATCA for Outstanding Emerging Female Playwright. Kris was co-chair for the prestigious ICWP 2014, 2015, & 2016 50/50 Applause Awards. She continues to write, produce, and direct from her home near Orlando, FL where she mentors other writers and playwrights offering advice, editing, and a shoulder to cry on as needed.

    Internationally produced and recognized playwright Elana Gartner has written Because of Beth (Howick Little Theatre; The Workshop Theater), Daughter (UpTheater Company; PlayLab Selection, 2013 Great Plains Theatre Conference), Pilar’s Brother (Repertorio Español), Cortex Kin (Upcoming: Dixon Place), Spinning (Fabrefaction Theater Company), and Ernie Evan (Genesis Repertory Theater; Heights Players, 6x10 Festival). Two monologues from Elana’s plays Daughter and Because of Beth were published in “Audition Monologues for Young Women #2: More Contemporary Auditions for Aspiring Actresses “(Meriwether Publishing, Ltd., 2013). Elana founded the EMG Playwriting Workshop which has fostered a supportive community for playwrights since 2004. She helped to edit a second edition of “You Can Write A Play!” by Milton E. Polsky. Elana co-founded the International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 Applause Awards and served on the ICWP board for five years. Elana is a graduate of Oberlin College with a degree in Creative Writing and a member of the Dramatists Guild.

    The 50/50 Applause Award is a huge undertaking, but due to the extraordinary dedication of our membership, we have made a genuine impact in the theatre world.

    Yours for innovative, engaging and equitable theater,

    Mona Curtis
    Newsletter Editor

  • 09 Feb 2017 6:38 PM | Mona Curtis


    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.

    As an Iranian playwright I joined ICWP in 2016. My favorite western playwright is Bertolt Brecht, and my favorite Iranian playwrights are Bahram Beyzaie and Gholam-Hossein Sa'adi. I concentrate on women’s issues and all my plays are about these issues. I am a lawyer and hold an LL.M degree in law.

    Nowadays because of the global media everyone knows more or less about the women’s condition in the Middle East. In most countries in this area the rules and laws treat women as the inferior gender and deprive them partly or completely from a great part of human rights; access to education, jobs, as well as cultural and social positions. Marriage in childhood, no right or restricted right to divorce and custody of children are also some of the women’s difficulties.

    On the other hand during the past forty years in different countries of the Middle East war has brought these women rape, loss of family, and homelessness with the young children. Despite these hardships, they are on their own and can manage their lives without any support from the society or others. They struggle with obstacles, and try hard to find a way for progress.

    Some of them are even in high positions in the society for example, university professors, physicians, authors and senior managers. Now I am happy to have this opportunity to send my voice through ICWP to women playwrights across the world and propose to them to write a short play about the difficulties and the abilities of the women in the Middle East as expressing solidarity with them.

    I hope my voice is heard and a collection of these plays will be published or be online.

    Mahin Mohasseb

    Eliza Wyatt writes:

    As an old time member of the ICWP I get excited when a new member joins from half way across the globe. Mahin Mohasseb lives in Teheran, Iran and I’m honoured to write a Spotlight for her.

    She’s not only an important lawyer, but a prolific playwright. I have read the synopses of twelve of her plays and she has ideas for many more. Although the plays have not yet been produced, they have been published and are on sale in bookshops in Teheran and can be read in libraries in Teheran.

    Mahin confided to me that she never wanted to be famous but now she would like her work to be produced and translated if possible. She began writing as a result of her legal work. She wrote books about human rights but felt that people did not take them seriously. I’m sure she shares with all writers the frustrations of trying to appeal to people who live stressful lives and seem to have little time or patience for the weightier issues.

    Mahin Mohasseb then turned to writing her legal cases out as plays. She’s naturally interested in dialogue and argument but it is obvious that her plays go beyond mere legal cases. Her favourite play is Mirage, set in an eternal present in a woodland setting. A young female student meets a Spiritual Master and learns that he is not in love with earthly things but with a heavenly Beloved. This love of the Supreme Being, however, is a special kind of love and the Spiritual Master is lacking the other, physical, kind and he tells her that he needs this physical release to calm himself.

    Although I have not read the play, since it is not yet translated, their encounter sounds like the beginning of a tragedy as the young student has to defend herself when attacked. Reading the blurbs of all twelve plays, I was particularly taken with Wedding Dress, about a father who uses his absolute authority over his daughter, and The Empty Seats about two prostitutes who are defending themselves in court.

    Both these plays are in the collection Cherry Earring, and I look forward to them being translated. I have been fortunate enough to attend performances of Iranian theatre when I was married to my Iranian husband. The first time, forty years ago, I saw a traditional comedy starring a Falstaffian character. In 2004 I saw a play set in Iran in 1950 which was a family drama detailing the change in Iranian culture and social life. I believe the play was set in Abadan, the oil producing area in Iran.

    A country’s theatre has, necessarily, to reflect what is happening in that country and the quality of theatre, as we know in England, varies greatly even in a couple of decades. Plays and playgoers undergo a great deal of change throughout the centuries. The theatre changed drastically during Shakespeare’s time, until you could almost believe his plays were out-of-date. As a thinking philosopher and writer, Shakespeare will never go out of date. The work of the best playwrights are always more than the sum of their country’s experience. I’m sure this will be the case with Mahin and that her work will last as long as the best.

    Eliza Wyatt

    Welcome New Members

    Mary Bonnett,  USA

    Mary Bonnett (Producing Artistic Director) created and cofounded Her Story Theater.  Creator and director of Gloss Over, The Sex Trafficking Cycle: Shadow Town, The Johns, Money Make’m Smile, Mongers, and Cide Show.  She has won numerous awards for excellence and outstanding contributions in professional theater, writing, directing, and theater education. Her plays and directing have been seen in Chicago theaters, universities and venues.  She speaks regularly to various organizations across Illinois on sex trafficking and the impact the current culture has on our youth.  Mary has appeared on television and radio shows, championing the need for change in laws to protect our children and women. 

    Under Mary's leadership, Her Story Theater has raised thousands of dollars for its partner organizations.  Recently, Mary developed The Short Series: an evening of play performance and workshop. The first presentation was Court Side in partnership with Federal Judge Virginia Kendall. The play and workshop focused on the trauma based behavior and journey of the sex trafficked victim. Two more customized works are in the making for medical and law enforcement.

    Beyond Chicago campaign, created by Mary, was designed to invite a participating theater and anti-trafficking organization to produce one or all of the Sex Trafficking Cycle plays to raise awareness in their community.  The first to step forward on this new endeavor was Houston, Texas. The Johns will be presented at Mildred’s Umbrella Theater and partner with 3 Houston anti trafficking organizations in time for Super Bowl 2017.

    Money Make’m Smile is part of a partnership with the Chicago Teachers Union in developing sex trafficking curriculum and workshop for educators which Mary leads. She is an active member in the anti-trafficking community serving on various panels and advocating city wide for change.  Mary and Her Story Theater were honored with the Illinois State Senate Award for Outstanding Work In Raising Awareness on the Issue of Sex Trafficking.

    She has written the novel, Alabastard of The Mound...literary fiction set in 1930 Mississippi and completed her children's novel The Adventures of Cleaver and Whizjam.  Mary is a member of SAG-AFTRA, SCBWI, CWIP, American Dramatist Guild NYC. Her Story Theater is a proud member of The Chicago League of Theaters.

    Mary holds a BFA in Theater Arts, BFA in English Literature, MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, England.

    BACKSTAGE.COM voted Mary’s theater as the Top Ten Best International Theaters that Change Lives”. Her play SHADOW TOWN was voted “One of the Top Ten Best Plays Of The Year” by Chicago Theater Beat.

    Katie Walenta,  USA

    Katie Walenta fell in love with words almost as soon as she could speak them. The way they weave together, tell stories, and reveal the intimate details about ourselves has always been fascinating. Something about the dramatic structure, what is seen and unseen, called to her. She now attends New York University - Tisch School of the Arts where she studies Dramatic Writing.

    Marlene Burrell, USA

    My name is Marlene Burrell. I am a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am a playwright currently living in Charlotte. 

    ICWP News

    The International Centre for Women Playwrights  will hold its Annual Meeting February 12-20.  I encourage you to visit the online forum to vote for new trustees (board members) and weigh in on topics of concern, including the 2017 50/50 Award.

    The following board members are up for re-election.

    Sophia Romma
    Rita Barkey
    Patricia Morin
    Sharon Wallace
    Eliza Wyatt

    The board can contain up to 14 members so we are actively seeking nominations for new board members. 

    Since we will be discussing and voting on important issues during the Annual Meeting, the Meet the Board column and the 2017 50/50 Award information will be presented at a later date.

    Now Playing and Coming Soon

    If you have a play or a reading between March 1 – March 31, please email Amy  ( before Feburary 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the March newsletter.  Any play or reading  in April will appear in the COMING SOON column.

    February 10, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. Sandra de Helen’s LGBTQ thriller “Till Darkness Comes” will be relaunched at Another Read Through Bookstore, 3932 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, Oregon, USAI will read from the book, answer questions, and sign any of my books, all of which are carried by the bookstore.

    February 11, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. she will also be signing and selling “Till Darkness Comes“ at Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont Avenue.  She is one of seven lesbian authors participating in the fair.

    Amy Oestreicher in Gutless & Grateful plays at the Metropolitan Room on 34 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10010, USA on February 5th at 7pm and February 25th at 4pm.  Doors open 30 minutes beforehand.

    Ludmilla Bollow’s full-length comedy, In the Restroom at Rosenblooms  February 24 Shelby Community Theatre - Shelby KY, USA

    Also by Ludmilla The Woman with 27 Children (One Act Monologue) will be playing at the Sha tin Town Hall (Cultural Hall) Hong Kong CHINA, February 24, 25, 26 (4 performances)               

    And So ...  by Patricia L. Morin will be a part of Flush Ink Production's SHE SPEAKS-WOMEN'S WORKS, WOMEN'S WORDS festival March 3rd and 4th in Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA.

    The Lost Goddess by Katherine Koller is part of The Mommy Monologues, produced by SkirtsAfire Her Arts Festival in Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA, from 2-12 March, 2017.

    A staged reading of Riverkeeper by Katherine Koller is presented by Alumnae Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, as part of the New Ideas Festival on March 11, 2017.

    Ludmilla Bollow’s full-length comedy, “In the Restroom at Rosenblooms”  March 3-5  - Shelby Community Theatre - Shelby KY, USA

    Articles of Interest: Theatre in the Middle East

    Al-bab , an open door to the Arab world, offers an overview of Arab theatre, both historical and contemporary.

    Arab Stages is an online journal broadening international awareness of performance cultures in the Arab-Islamic world.

    The Arab Puppet Theatre Foundation teaches puppetry and encourages new development in this traditional art form.

    The Middle Eastern Theatre Academy trains talented young performers from across the middle east.

    Noor Theatre in NYC is dedicated to developing producing the work of theatre artists of Middle Eastern descent.

  • 28 Dec 2016 6:40 PM | Mona Curtis

     A Letter from the Editor,

    It has been my privilege to be your newsletter editor for the past four years.  There are a few small changes for 2017.  First of all, the newsletter is in a new place on the website.  It is in the News section and is available to the public, not just ICWP members.   For 2017, I want Internationalism to be the newsletter theme.  I plan to highlight a different country or region each month, starting with my own experience in China.  I encourage you to nominate playwrights for the spotlight, especially those from developing countries.  Also new for 2017, we will have a Meet the Board column, starting next month with our president, Sophia Romma.  The February issue will give some important information about the 50/50 Applause Award. 

      January Spotlight:  Mona Curtis

    Mona is a self-taught artist and playwright.  She is also an ESOL teacher living and working in Xinzheng, Henan Province, People’s Republic of China.

    I have lived in very remote areas, first in New Plymouth, Idaho and now in Henan Province in The People’s Republic of China.  And it’s hard to say which is more remote.  ICWP and its listsev has been my lifeblood artistically.  I had my first production this summer at age 58 thanks to submission opportunities that arrive in my mailbox and insights from other playwrights.

    I came late into playwriting.  I wrote my first play when I was 40 and had my first production at 58.  And I am completely self-taught, something that is both good and bad.  The good thing about it is that I’m free to have very original ideas about theater so much so that some of the things I write are completely unproduciable. 

    But only now, after my first production, do I really think of myself as a playwright.  It’s a new and somewhat frightening avenue that has opened up in my life. 

    As newsletter editor, I want the 2017 newsletter theme to be Internationalism so I will tell you a little about my life in China as an English teacher.  Although I live in China, I don’t speak Chinese so I’m really in no position to talk about theater in China.  However I do teach at a university and know a lot of bilingual Chinese teachers and students.  Last week I asked my students if they had ever been to a play and only one of 270 students had. I have several Chinese friends who are teachers and university graduates and none of them have ever been to a play either.  China loves spectacles and they have some incredible performances in dance, both modern and traditional, martial arts, magic shows and puppetry, but not much in the line of what they call “modern realistic theatre.”  All that being said, I’m sure there is theater in China and I will continue to look for it and keep you posted on the listserv.

    A few years ago, I hired a Chinese student to help me look for theaters for the 50/50 award.  I explained to her that live theater was often a critique of society.  She said that sometimes there were some very short plays like the ones I described in Spring Festival Gala.  The Spring Festival Gala is a live televised 2-hour (at least) program that almost the entire 1 billion Chinese watch each year.

    So as for the question of free speech in China, I can only tell you what I know from my little perch.   I feel very safe in China and I don’t see a lot of fear among my students either. Asia is a more resigned culture than the West.  They’re not up in arms about real or imagined injustices at the drop of a hat.  And they’re more respectful of traditions.  China has made great strides in the last 30 years.  Just as they have planted 1 million trees a year for the past 30 years, they are working hard to bring infrastructure and education to their 1.37 billion citizens.  There’s certainly a long way to go, but I think the average Chinese believes that being optimistic and working toward a goal is more effective than confrontation.   

    As for families, we recently watched a movie about police officers in the United States.  The focus of this movie was that most crimes are committed by people who come from fatherless homes.  This is a big problem in the United States, but it is not a big problem in China.  Almost all families are very supportive and the children, for the most part, want to honor their parents by obeying them.  This is not to say that there are not problems with this attitude.  When I talk with my students, I estimate that a full third of them do not like the major that was chosen for them by their family.  On the other hand, I think a lot of young people in the United States would be much better off if they had some healthy respect for their parents and listened to what their families had to say. That is the value of diversity and cross cultural understanding.  When we are so immersed in our own culture, it becomes invisible to us and other ways of understanding the world upset our values and force us to expand our thinking.

    As for the status of women, first of all, it is not good.  Secondly, like all things in China, it’s changing fast.  Boys are more valued than girls even in the professional classes.  One of my good Chinese friends, a college graduate and headmistress of a school, put it this way.  “Until I have a boy, my mother has a headache.” Women who have at least one son are free to leave off childbearing.  If they only have a daughter, they feel compelled to have more children until they have a boy.   However there are many individuals and organizations in China whose sole purpose is to foster leadership among women and the landscape is changing.

    Actually, I love living and working in China.  The picture that you see is me with a Regong artist I met in Qinghai Province this October.  And I just got back from a 2-hour massage that cost me 10 USD.  The people are here friendly, optimistic and tech savvy.  Most people purchase everything, including soda from a vending machine,  from their phones.  (I don’t.  I still haven’t figured it out.) And I love the prices.  A pot of acrylic paint that would cost 10 USD  in the United States is 50 cents here. 

    Creating the newsletter from China is sometimes challenging when the Internet is not reliable.  Everyone assumes China’s Internet would be amazingly fast.  And maybe it is in Beijing or Shanghai.  But I live in Henan, one of the poorest provinces in China, and it can go off for days at a time.  That being said, I am able to successfully edit the newsletter.  It just takes a little more patience.

    And why do I do what I do? Quite by accident, I was nominated to the Board a few years after joining ICWP.  Becoming a part of the board conversation made me aware that communication was one of the greatest needs of the organization so I suggested the newsletter.   I encourage you to join in the conversation in our general meeting or in the listserve and look for a small job to do.  Maybe you’ll get lucky like me and find your niche.

    Welcome New Members

    Courtney Fraces Fallon, USA

    My mother went into labor shortly after 5AM on Friday, June 8th, 1984. Four short hours later I flew out of the birth canal like it was a water slide, with such force there was an explosion of birthing fluid that soaked my mother. Plenty of time to rinse off the mucus plug and other birthing goo and warm up with a nap in an incubator before hitting happy hour. I hit the ground running but decided to wait several decades until the time was right to blow your mind with my brilliance. NOW IS THE TIME! Be on the lookout for my work... it'll be looking out for you.


    Stacey Katz, USA

    I am a playwright and poet. My ten-minute play, Your Secret Beauty was produced as part of the SHORT PLAYS BY DIVAS at DivaFest, April 2, 9 and 10th, 2016 in Indianapolis. Big Hunger, a ten-minute play, was featured in the Indy Fringe and Indiana Writers Center Short Play Festival, April 17th and 18th, 2015 in Indianapolis. A one-act version of Big Hunger is in the works as is my first young adult novel.


    Margo MacDonald, CANADA
    Margo MacDonald is a Canadian multi-award winning actor, playwright, and theatre creator who has been making theatre for over 25 years. In 2010, she wrote and performed in the smash hit, Shadows, (about theatre maverick Eva Le Gallienne) which won the Ottawa Fringe (Canada) Outstanding Overall, Best of Fest, and Fan Favourite awards that year. It went on to the undercurrents: theatre below the mainstream festival at the Great Canadian Theatre Company (where the show’s tickets sold out a week before it opened), and has since played to rave reviews at Videofag in Toronto, Canada (curated by Jordan Tannahill and William Ellis), and the Tea House Theatre in London, England. She is the co-creator (with Richard Gelinas) of Much Ado About Feckin’ Pirates! which played at the Toronto Festival of Clowns mainstage, undercurrents festival, and SpringWorks. Her first solo show, The Elephant Girls, premiered at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe. There it sold out 100%, won Best of Fest, Critics’ Pick for Best Show, and Outstanding Overall, and was held-over for two additional performances (which also sold out). It then went on to receive three Prix Rideau Awards (Ottawa professional theatre awards) for Outstanding New Work, Outstanding Performance, and Outstanding Direction. It also sold out its entire run at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival (Canada). This show is currently touring internationally, and has recently returned from a highly successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She is currently co-writing a play about punk rock (The Persistent Stain), another about a 17th-century, French, bisexual, cross-dressing, female, sword-fighter, opera singer, and duelist (Maupin), and yet another about Radclyffe Hall and Noel Coward holding séances (Rap Once For Yes).



    Gabriela Sosa, PANAMA
    Hail from Panama - as in the Isthmus.

    First play I wrote was a musical: Don Panzote en la víspera del año 2000

    Currently working on a one-woman-show that is an adaptation of my novel Love in the Time of Taksim


     Now Playing & Coming Soon

    I f you have a play or a reading between February 1 – February 28, please email Amy  ( before January 15 and it will be featured in the NOW PLAYING column of the February newsletter.  Any play or reading  in March will appear in the COMING SOON column.

    The Johns by Mary Bonnett is playing January 19 - February 4 at Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company in Houston, Texas USA.

    Harm’s Way by Marilyn Harris Kriegel will be given a staged reading, in Paris FRANCE, produced by The Big Funk, American Fridays. January 20, 7:30 pm at Pavé d’ orsay followed by wine and snacks.Tickets can be reserved by email or directly at the door (10€).

    Amy Oestreicher will be performing original material at the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Allianace Annual Conference.  January 14 & 15, New York City, USA

    Gutless &Grateful, the inspirational one-woman musical by Amy Oestreicher, returns to New York February 5th and25th Visit Amy's website at

    Articles of Interest: Theatre in China

    China Theatre in Beijing hosts opera, ballet, drama and music performances from China and abroad.

    Using the Moscow People’s Art Theater as a model, the Beijing People's Art Theatre has been creating modern, realistic drama for over 50 years. 

    Critical Stages details the impact on feminism on Chinese theatrical tradition, and talks about how women’s struggle is reflected in Chinese theater today.

    The Global Times explains the struggle to preserve nandan, a controversial tradition of female impersonation in Peking Opera.

    Based in NYC, Chinese Theatre Works brings China’s theatrical traditions to an international audience.

  • 24 Nov 2016 7:22 PM | Mona Curtis

    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

    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.

    Website address -
    Facebook page -

    Now Playing & Coming Soon
    If you have a play that will be in production anywhere between January 1 – January 31, please email Amy  ( 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 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

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