By Deborah Bostock-Kelley
On October 6-17, 2021, Powerstories Theatre, in collaboration with Thrü-Line, A Theatrical Production Company, are proud to do their part to help women crash through the glass ceiling and support women’s voices with The Voices of Women, a theatre festival showcasing diverse stories written entirely by women playwrights.
In the last survey taken by Broadway by the Numbers before the pandemic, 85% of all theatre playwrights were male voices. Women are still fighting to be recognized in board rooms, government, and theatre.
A hybrid of live-in-theatre productions and live-streamed prerecorded performances on Powerstories’ virtual stage, The Voices of Women Theatre Festival spotlights local Tampa Bay and North American playwrights to a global audience. After each matinee and evening production, the playwright, cast, crew, and audience will meet online for a Zoom question and answer talkback or stream live from the theatre.
“My life suddenly became more simple and clear when I realized my purpose was to raise the voices of women through theatre. The Voices of Women Theatre Festival is the next great step in my dream and the Powerstories mission to open minds and hearts and inspire action worldwide,” said Fran Powers, founder. “For $15, patrons local and abroad can watch plays written by female playwrights and afterward, join a group of women supporting women, engaging in meaningful conversations. There’s a power in belonging and creating community.”
From shorts and full-length plays, a mixture of comedies and dramas, family-friendly content to adults only, the audience will experience a diverse selection of topics from female playwrights of all ages and backgrounds.
“The Voices of Women Theatre Festival aligns with the Thrü-Line’s mission of S.E.R.V.I.C.E. This states we believe in showcasing new works and artists along with ‘well-known’ works and voicing the stories of the unheard,” said playwright and Thrü-Line co-founder, Gretchen Suarez-Pena.
Playwrights selected for the inaugural festival are:
- Carolyn Gage – In McClintock’s Corn (Maine)
- Carrie Klewin Lawrence, Katharine Rex, Gretchen Suarez-Pena, Laurie E. Tanner, and Janet S. Tiger – See Thrü Women: A Night of Short Scenes (Florida)
- Amy Losi – No Fall My Hand (New York)
- Deborah Bostock-Kelley – Once Upon Uhhh…. (Florida)
- Janice Creneti – My Year of Saying No (Florida)
- Maggie Gamson – President Montgomery (Florida)
- Laura Emack – THE PRIDE OF BANGOR [or What Not to Wear] (Maine)
- Dana Hall & Kenisha Morgan – No Justice (Illinois)
- Katy Copeland – Meet You Downstairs New York)
- Beth Urech – Jeannette Rankin Fights Back (New Mexico)
- Allison Fradkin – Holy Inappropriate (Illinois)
- Joi Banks – L’Artiste, It’s French (Florida)
- Jo MacDonald – Neechie-itas (Canada)
Playwright Katy Copeland explained, “What grabbed my attention most about this festival was that it provides an artistic platform for emerging female playwrights while highlighting diverse voices and sparking open, honest conversations.”
In this festival featuring playwrights from Florida, Maine, New Mexico, and Canada is an array of topics ranging from mental health, autism, gender nonconformance, spousal abuse, sexual violence, human trafficking, mandatory sentencing, social entrepreneurship, finding your truth, power struggles, sexuality, LGBTQIA+ issues, voting rights, family relationships, racial inequality, religious liberation, and female relationships.
“Theatre can be a powerful voice for social change,” said playwright Janice Creneti. “Powerstories not only prides itself on work that is good but doing good work.”
From interviews with the playwrights, the overall consensus is men are responsible for the majority of all written works on stage. It’s challenging to find significant female roles when the playwright is writing without the same life experience or female perspective, and it’s time to shine a spotlight on the talented women no longer wanting to stand in their shadow.
Playwright Joi Banks succinctly summed up the purpose of this theatre festival for women, “We rise by lifting each other.”
To learn more or purchase tickets for the hybrid Voices of Women Theatre Festival on October 6-17, 2021, visit powerstories.com/voices-of-women-theatre-festival-schedule. Powerstories Theatre is proud to be sponsored by Hillsborough County Commissioners and Arts Council and festival sponsored with the help of CDB Injury Law. To learn about festival sponsorship opportunities, visit powerstories.com/voices-of-women-theatre-festival-sponsorship-information.