Celebrated around the world on March 8th, International Women’s Day recognizes the struggles that women have made to improve their lives and those of their communities. The first celebrations of March 8th began in the early 1900s as women around the world responded to the pressures of industrialization by taking to the streets and demanding the right to vote and improved labor conditions both in and outside the home, and that women’s full personhood be recognized socially and civically. This day of jubilee coincides with both the month-long American celebration of Women’s History Month and with the March 27th celebration of World Theatre Day making the month of March an especially great time to laud the accomplishments of theatrical women from every rooftop.
Here are some ways you can celebrate:
- Attend WWSF’s March Meetup
Join us this Thursday, March 14th at 8pm for our 5th Meetup event – Theatre Rhinoceros’ production of A Lady and A Woman by Shirlene Holmes starring Velina Brown* and Dawn L. Troupe*. This critically-acclaimed love story recounts the courage of African-American women in the late 19th century using folklore and interlocking themes of spirituality and sexuality in the setting of a small southern town to tell the story of two women who find in each other the courage to begin a new life. Enjoy the show and conversation over drinks afterward in the company of other Bay Area theater women, and participate in celebrating the work of our sister artists by packing the house and showing our appreciation for their work.
- Participate in SWAN Day/Support Women Artists Now Day
SWAN Day/Support Women Artists Now Day is an international holiday spearheaded by WomenArts, which is designed to showcase the power and diversity of women’s creativity. In the 6 years since its inception, there have been over 900 SWAN Day events in 23 countries. This year, SWAN Day will be officially celebrated on Saturday, March 30th, but many events celebrating women artists will also take place in March or April. You can view a calendar of 2013 events and also post an event here.
- Attend one of 3 Girls Theatre’s “Celebrate Women’s History Month” Events
3 Girls Theatre is producing a ton of events that foreground the work of women artists throughout the month of March including staged readings, community gatherings, and full productions of Lynne Kaufman’s The Couch, directed by Amy Glazer and three short plays by Suze Allen under the title Things We Do For Love, directed by Jennifer Welch. All performances/presentations will take place at 533 Sutter Street, the intimate performance space formerly occupied by the SF Playhouse, and now under the management of Tides Theatre. You can view the full CWHM calendar of events here.
- Read a Play Written by a Woman
How many great plays by women can you name? Commit to expanding your knowledge of women’s contributions to dramatic literature by reading a play or two written by a woman this month. You can start with Samuel French’s recommendations of 8 Plays to Celebrate International Women’s Day! Or visit the International Centre for Women Playwright’s Publications Page, or pick a play from Large Cast Plays with Lots of Women, the impressive list of classic, modern, and contemporary plays created by dramaturg Ilana Brownstein.
The Vagina Monologues presented by The South Asian Sisters
Yoni Ki Baat, inspired by Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, is in its 9th successful year, and was staged at the San Francisco Women’s Building on March 9th and 10th by The South Asian Sisters. This group describes themselves as “a diverse collective of progressive South Asian women dedicated to empowering our community to resist all forms of oppression through art, dialogue, conscious alliances, and grassroots political action.” The focus of this year’s run was more on comedy, the organizers say, after having dealt with much darker material over the years. Several South Asian women playwrights and performers from the Bay Area took to the stage, in solidarity with women all over the world and especially in their home countries, and delivered inspired and heartfelt monologues on cultural identity, femininity and the female spirit. Half of the proceeds of the play will go to Narika, an organization that promotes the empowerment of South Asian women to confront and overcome the cycles of domestic violence and exploitation.
WWSF Facebook Page is Live
Works by Women San Francisco now has an active Facebook Page. If you haven’t liked us yet, please do! If you’ve liked us already, thank you – we hope you will spread the word. It’s a great way to keep in touch and also share news, events, recommendations and opinions!
Other Shows To See
Images Courtesy Yoni Ki Baat 2013.