July 2015 Newsletter
The last possible day to still be called the July Newsletter. July has been a busy month. I hope you have time to read this small compilation of some recent developments in gender equality in theatre.
July Spotlight: Sofia Echaverry
by Debbie Miller
Sofía Etcheverry is a playwright, actor, teacher, and director who resides in Montevideo, Uruguay. She earned an M.A. in Theory and History of Theatre and teaches literature and improvisation at the Instituto de Actuación de Montevideo (Performance Institute in Montevideo).
Etcheverry graduated from the Escuela Multidisciplinaria de Arte Dramático (the Municipal School of Dramatic Art) and the school of Teatro La Gaviota. She’s been writing plays since 2007. “I like to explore the borders of genres: musical, dance theatre, drama, comedy, and biodrama,” she explained when asked which types of plays she writes.
Etcheverry maintains a blog at www.sofetcheverry.blogspot.com and a profile at www.dramaturgiauruguaya.gub.uy.
Welcome new and returning members:
Besides our regular forms of outreach the 3rd Annual Dramatist Conference in La Jolla, CA last month proved to be a place to engage new members and renew old friendships.
Kathy Anderson, Philadelphia, USA
Kathy Anderson is a playwright and fiction writer in Philadelphia, PA. Her plays have been produced and staged in the US and in Ireland. Her current play Next Door Gay-bors, with co-writer Bill Felty, was workshopped with Pride Films & Plays in Chicago and featured in Chicago's 2015 Rhinoceros Theater Festival.
Philadelphia Theatre Workshop produced three full-length world premieres of her plays - Incoming; The Meatpackers Book Club; and Front Row Seat. Incoming won Bloody Unicorn Theater Company's Queer Women's Play Contest and was produced in 2007 in Arizona. Incoming was selected for the International Centre for Women Playwrights Chicago HER-RAH 2007: A Festival of the World's Best Women Playwrights and Their New Plays and featured in TOSOS II Robert Chesley/Jane Chambers Playwright Project in New York City in 2008. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Playwrights Center.
Her short story collection was a finalist in the 2015 Autumn House Press Fiction Contest. Previous versions of the collection were finalists in the 2015 New Rivers Press Many Voices competition and the 2014 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her short stories have twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. www.kathyandersonwriter.com
Aphra Behn, New York, USA
Aphra Behn is the artistic director of the New York City based Guerrilla Girls On Tour, an internationally acclaimed anonymous theatre collective fighting discrimination in the arts and proving feminists are funny since 1997. In order to put the focus of their work on the issues they address, each member of Guerrilla Girls On Tour works under the name of a dead woman artist and performs wearing a gorilla mask. “Aphra” is currently working on a memoir which will be published in 2017.
Elizabeth Coplan, USA
Elizabeth is a published essayist and a playwright. Her recent play, Hospice: A Love Story won an Island Theatre award. The play will be performed August 21 and 22, 2015 on the stage of Bainbridge Performing Arts just outside of Seattle, WA.
Violet O'Valle, USA
I have enjoyed a long career in educational and semi-professional theatre, having begun my career as a Drama Director at Houston area high schools. I hold a BA from the Department of Drama And Dance at the University of Houston, and M. A. and PhD degrees in British Literature, with an emphasis on Irish drama, from Texas A&M University. I am the founding Producer/Director of Pantagleize Theatre Co in Fort Worth, Texas, which produces plays from international cultures, especially those represented in our home state. I divide my year between Texas and Ireland, and my own play writing has been heavily influenced by both cultures. I am also an enthusiastic poet, a college instructor, and a student of all literary genres and all facets of theatre.
Pamela Winfrey, San Francisco, USA
Pamela Winfrey specializes in surreal plays for a thinking audience. She has won several awards and grants and her works have been seen as far away as Canada and Ireland. She has been a finalist at Arts and Letters and is a founding member of Mobius Operandi, a performance group, The Alchemy Works, and Discover Novato Arts. She has a BA in theatre and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Arts. She is also a curator and senior artist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
Jyl Lynn Felman, USA
Jyl Lynn Felman is an award winning playwright and performance artist who has performed her work nationally in the US and abroad, including Cuba, Australia, the Czech Republic and South Africa. She's been interviewed on NPR and the BBC. "If Only I'd Been Born A Kosher Chicken aired on C-SPAN'S performance series. She's given performance and writing workshops worldwide, most recently in Cape Town, SA and is the author of three books- NEVER A DULL MOMENT: TEACHING AND THE ART OF PERFORMANCE; CRAVINGS, a memoir, and HOT CHICKEN WINGS, short stories. An edited version of "Girl Kicks Girl" was performed in Stockholm at the 9th Women's International Playwright Conference.
Kyra Cohen, Atlanta, USA
Playwriting Major at Emory University
Elena Kaufman, Hamburg, Germany
Elena Kaufman is a Canadian writer, actor and teacher who lives in Germany. Short fiction appears in: SubTerrain; 1097Mag; Women in Judaism; Pharos; and New Shoots and she won Best Foreign Short Story at The Moondance International Film Festival competition (Boulder, CO). Dramatic monologues are in New Monologues for Women by Women II (Heinemann) and Audition Arsenal (Smith and Kraus). Two one-act plays were produced at festivals in Winnipeg (FemFest)and Stockholm (FEATS). She has an MA in Drama (Toronto) and an MS in Creative Writing (Oxford).
Laurie Flanigan Hegge, Minneapolis, USA
Laurie Flanigan Hegge is a playwright, bookwriter and lyricist from the Minneapolis, Minnesota. She serves as the Twin Cities Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild of America.
Prudence Holmes, USA
Prudence Wright Holmes wrote the plays Willa Cather: Her Life and Loves, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, Sister Girl, Agatha Christie is Missing, Leave the Drama on Fire Island, Duncan and Vanessa and Beat Chick and Bexley,OH!
Bexley OH! was produced by New York Theatre Workshop and Beat Chick was also produced by the Workshop Theater. She also wrote the books Monologue Mastery, The Voice and Speech Warm Up and Workout and Voices of Thinking Jewish Women.
As an actor, she has appeared in featured roles in the films Sister Act I and II with Whoopi Goldberg, Kingpin with Woody Harrelson, In Dreams with Annette Bening, My Own Love Song with Renee Zellweger, After.Life with Liam Neeson, God’s Pocket with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Boardwalk Empire with Steve Buscemi. On Broadway she appeared in Happy End with Meryl Streep, Lettice and Lovage with Maggie Smith and Inherit the Wind with George C. Scott and The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center and on the National Tour. She has appeared in numerous off-Broadway shows including the original casts of Godspell and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. She wrote and performed her solo show Bexley, OH! at New York Theatre Workshop.
Report Out from the ICWP Annual Meeting
The ICWP Annual Meeting was held online July 10-17. Two significant accomplishments were the election of new Board members and the approval of the ICWP Mission Statement. New and returning board members are Mona Curtis, Elana Gartner, Michelle T. Johnson, Karen Jeynes, Coni Koepfinger, Sophia Romma, Lucia Verona, Sharon Wallace, Laurie Smilan, Eliza Wyatt, Patricia L. Morin, Rita Kniess Barkey. Specific offices and positions will be reported after our next Board Meeting in August.
ICWP Mission Statement
Our mission is to support women playwrights around the world by:
bringing international attention to their achievements, encouraging production of their plays, translation, publication,and international distributions of their works
providing means for communication and contact among the sister community of the world's women dramatists
assisting them in developing the tools of their craft, in determining their own artistic forms, and in setting their own critical standards
encouraging scholarly and critical examination and study of the history and the contemporary work and concerns of women playwrights
supporting their efforts to gain professional equality, and to express their own personal, artistic, social, and political vision without censorship, harassment, or personal danger
This policy states the ICWP's position on discrimination, *not withstanding the gender focus of it's mission*. This policy applies to all ICWP employees, volunteers, members, clients and contractors.
Another important event at the DG Conference was the revealing of The Count, a collaboration between the Lilly Awards and the Dramatists Guild to determine how many women playwrights are produced in the US. Led by Julia Jordan and Rebecca Stump, with the help of Dramatists Guild representatives, ambassadors, regional representatives and staff, The Count collected data on theater seasons 2011-2014 to determine the percentages of women playwrights being produced. The results were announced at the Dramatists Guild National Conference in June, 2015. The Count will be an ongoing annual project.
The criteria for theaters that were considered: significant producing theaters in the region producing at least 3 productions in a season that run longer than 21 performances. They must be known for producing new playwrights, that is playwrights from the past 50 years. Nationally, 22.18% of productions over the past three seasons have been written by women. 14% are American white females, 3% are American women of color, 2.5% are foreign white females and .4% are foreign women of color. Comparatively, 62% of the productions in the US were by American white males, 10% by foreign white males, 6% by American men of color, 4% by foreign men of color. It was found that 62% of productions were new work. The rest were revivals, defined as work that premiered at least 10 years ago. There are additional numbers that will become available.
There were four women who presented on behalf of The Count: Marsha Norman,Rebecca Stump, Julia Jordan and Lisa Kron.
Here is a link to the NY Times article that came out just before the conference and an article in American Theater.
Articles of Interest
An article and infographic by Porsche McGovern, lighting designer, revealing the gender disparity of theater set, costume, lighting, and sound designers.
Theater for young people usually involves more girls than boys, but there is a dearth of challenging female roles. See what one UK organization is doing about it.
Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theatre,