In a society dominated by male creation, where statistics show men write 80% of produced plays, Fran Powers and Powerstories Theatre’s goal is to amplify women’s voices and showcase works written by women.

Powerstories celebrates nine novice to accomplished female playwrights in the return of the hybrid online and live Voices of Women Theatre Festival in July. The festival was first conceived to connect with its community during the continued pandemic in 2021. It was so well-received globally that it became part of the theatre’s regular season in 2022.

In the last quarter of 2021, the festival committee read through hundreds of plays submitted from throughout the U.S. and Canada to determine the second annual festival lineup. After a stringent evaluation process, several plays were chosen, and the committee members championed the productions they felt best met the theatre’s mission of opening hearts and minds. In the end, eight diverse plays from nine playwrights of all ages and experience levels were selected.  

The 2022 Voices of Women Theatre Festival features two plays live in the theatre and live-streamed worldwide and six 48-hour view-on-demand productions.

Though the Voices of Women Theatre Festival officially opens on Tuesday, July 19, and runs through Sunday, July 24, patrons can begin watching the first view-on-demand production at 9 pm on Sunday. Each pre-recorded play can be enjoyed for 48 hours before a live Zoom interview with the playwright, cast, and crew at 9 pm EST each night.

“The Voices of Women Theatre Festival is filled with exhilarating plays that give examples of clear vision and transformation,” said Fran. “In these times when our rights are being attacked, these stories need to be heard. It’s an honor to showcase these talented women who are driven to bring awareness and joy through their words.”

One of the unique parts of the festival is the real-time interaction with the playwrights from across the United States. On the website, guests can submit questions to the playwrights, which will be answered live during the playwright and cast interview each evening on Zoom. Patrons can share their thoughts on the view-on-demand production they watched and get feedback from the playwright, cast, and crew about their experiences. After the live theatre performances, the audience will be engaged with the show actors, director, and playwright via live stream.

Featured plays are:

Tuesday, July 19
The Gentry of Essex by Blaire Baron
(California)
View on Demand beginning July 17 at 9 pm EST

Wednesday, July 20
Catherine by Addison Vaughn
(Florida)
View on Demand beginning July 18 at 9 pm EST

Thursday, July 21
Remembering Morgan by Annie Brown
(Oklahoma)

AND

Not Worthy Enough to Wipe Your Ass by Susan Jackson and Diana Brown
(California)
View on Demand beginning July 19 at 9 pm EST

Friday, July 22
Legal Gringa by Angela Page
(California)
Live in Theatre /Live-Streamed at 8 pm EST

Saturday, July 23
my body. my voice by Deborah Bostock-Kelley
(Florida)
Live in Theatre / Live-Streamed at 3 pm EST

AND

A Good American by Denise David Williams
(California)
View on Demand beginning Thursday, July 21 at 9 pm EST

Sunday, July 24
Reclaiming Grounds by Beth Mahmoud-Howell
(Washington)
View on Demand beginning Friday, July 22 at 9 pm EST

Along with Powers, the participating playwrights unanimously feel that it is essential for women to raise their voices and tell their stories this year more than any other time in history.

Beth Mahmoud-Howell, Susan Jackson, Denise Davis Williams, and Addison Vaughn are among the seven playwrights submitting pre-recorded productions.

“In light of the current attack on women’s lives and bodies, a festival amplifying women’s voices is not only a step towards gender equity in the arts but necessary to make sure we are heard loud and clear,” said Mahmoud-Howell.

“It is up to us women to continue to amplify the voices of womyn. It just seems more important than ever that women stay involved in their community, the community of the United States, and the community of the world. That can only be done if our voices are heard, and we push our voices out there,” added Jackson.  

“The divine feminine wants to be heard right now, wanting to balance out all the male, heavy rational energy. The nurturing, the intuitive, and the wisdom of the feminine need a voice right now, and we’re the ones that have that voice. I think it is essential for the world that women have a voice right now,” said David Williams.

Vaughn said, “In today’s society where we are starting to see where the marginalized groups are, we are starting to commodify them, so you see these big blockbusters that use ‘girl boss’ power in an almost toxic way. A festival like this that tells feminine stories that reach a wide audience is vital in portraying women in a true light.”  

Playwrights Page and Bostock-Kelley will be telling their stories live from the Powerstories stage.

“I think (this festival) is critical. We have a unique perspective, and there have been so many centuries where we’ve been silenced or, at least, not paid attention to. The time has been overdue to hear women’s voices of all ages and backgrounds,” said playwright Page.

Bostock-Kelley added, “After everything our mothers and grandmothers fought for, it is unbelievable to think that the attack on women is happening in 2022. Our voice is our power. While SCOTUS is trying to send us back to the dark ages, a festival like this shines a light on women and helps magnify our voices.” 

The second annual Voices of Women is a hybrid online and in-theatre festival at Powerstories Theatre, 2105 West Kennedy Boulevard. The festival opens on July 19 and runs through July 24. Patrons can view pre-recorded productions starting at 9 pm EST on July 17. Tickets are $15 and are available at
powerstories.com/2022-voices-of-women-theatre-festival.