Week of 12/12: This Week in Feminist Theater

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Martha Richards Celebrates 20 Years with WomenArts

Works by Women San Francisco salutes Martha Richards, who celebrated her 65th birthday and the 20th anniversary of her organization Women Arts this past weekend! Martha is a cracker-jack arts administrator and long-time champion of women artists. Among her many accomplishments is the founding of SWAN Day/Support Women Artists Now Day, an international holiday designed to showcase the power and diversity of women’s creativity. Over 1,200 SWAN Day events have been staged in 24 countries over the past 7 years. Read Martha’s reflections on her 20 years at WomenArts in this special birthday blog post.

WomenArts is collaborating with other local arts organizations to host a Bay Area SWAN Day event in March, 2015. For more information and to get involved, visit the WomenArts site and use the Contact Us Form to send a message.

Boston Theater Needs More Female Presence 

In featuring The Chronicles of Kalki, “a story about women, by women” produced by Company One Theater, Don Aucoin discusses how Boston theater needs a stronger female presence. Don mentions that, though it is a Broadway production, it is better in regional theaters, which he suggests as an example of how “gender parity” has become both a “goal and a rallying cry” in the theater community. He argues that the reason we lack a female presence in theater is due to the prejudice of individual artistic directors. In general, female theater brings new perspectives on issues that wouldn’t otherwise maintain attention from male dramatists. Don also argues that the most compelling playwrights are women and that gender parity would broaden the scope of topic explored in theater to included greater ethic and racial diversity at large as well.

‘Audience School’ Bridges Dramatic Borders

“The idea was that the small Tijuana troupe would develop fresh audiences with theatrical savvy and passion, who would then inspire others to join them, helping create (ideally) a critical mass of dedicated playgoers in the border city.

What the Audience School is turning into is something more: a cross-border cultural exchange that is helping form bonds between theaters in Tijuana and San Diego.”

The Audience School selects 20 people each year to join them out of a pool of applicants that span a wide range of ages and backgrounds. They receive both individual and government funding to provide the students with free tickets to performing-arts events for 10 months.

But only this fall has the Audience School begun venturing into the United States. That step came about through a partnership with four San Diego theaters,Spearheaded by Moxie Theatre, the women-centered San Diego company that hosted the group for an October performance of its show “A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World.'”

Shows to See

5th Annual One Minute Play Festival
In Collaboration with Playwrights Foundation
The One-Minute Play Festival (#1MPF)  is a fast-paced evening of non-stop theater that will twist and turn your mind and heart – featuring brand new one-minute plays by 50+ of the Bay Area’s growing talent pool of exceptional contemporary writers, including some of the most important artistic voices in the nation.
Runs December 15-16 @ 8 pm, Brava Theater

Brava’s New Years Eve Comedy Fiesta
Starring Marga Gomez, Diane Amos, and Betsy Salkind
Host Betty Pazmiño, DJ Page Hodel
The Mission District’s one stop New Year’s Eve destination for stand-up comedy lovers, dancing fools, feministas and progressive party animals.
Runs December 31 @ 9pm, BRAVA Theater Center

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins
By Margaret Engel and Allison Engel
Directed by David Esbjornson
Produced by Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Featuring Kathleen Turner
Two-time Tony and Oscar nominee Kathleen Turner makes her Berkeley Rep debut as Molly Ivins, the brassy, sharp-witted political journalist and best-selling author of Bushwacked. Celebrated for her folksy yet barbed humor, Ivins was the rowdy raconteur stirring up trouble in the old boy’s club and ridiculing those she deemed too big for their britches—earning her a widely read syndicated column and a seat next to Mark Twain as one of America’s beloved satirists. 
Runs thru January 11, Berkeley Rep

Our Town
by Thornton Wilder
Directed by Susannah Martin
Featuring El Beh, Madeline H.D. Brown*, Sam Jackson, Christine Macomber, Molly Noble*, Karen Offereins, Valerie Fachman,
and Michelle Talgarow
Produced by Shotgun Players
Wilder graduated from Berkeley High in 1915, and Shotgun is proud to bring this classic to The Ashby Stage. Even if you think you know Our Town, we guarantee that you’ll experience something new – after all, no one breaks down the classics like we do. With live music throughout, we will find the heartbeat of every line, every word. “That’s what it was to be alive…To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another.”
Runs thru January 11, Ashby Stage

Image courtesy WomenArts

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