Sunday, April 7, 2013

The WomenArts Blog Has Moved!

Dear Friends,
The WomenArts Blog moved as of March 15, 2013, and we are no longer posting articles in this account. 
We hope you will join us at our new address: 

We have published several articles about SWAN events during the past three weeks, which you can read on the new blog. 

Thanks so much for your interest in WomenArts.
                                                Martha Richards
                                                Executive Director, WomenArts

Thursday, March 14, 2013

SWAN Events Showcase Diverse Women in Theatre

There are some terrific SWAN events over the next few days that will showcase the diverse voices of women in theatre. 

In New York, the Culture Project's Women Center Stage is presenting Anna Khaja's Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto, a powerful drama about the former Pakistani Prime Minister which opened to rave reviews this week.

In Denver, the Athena Project Festival is presenting 4 plays in progress and the world premiere of Clinnesha D. Sibley's Tell Martha Not to Moan, about an elderly African-American couple in Detroit. Our Voices VII will be a day-long celebration of Boston Area playwrights, and on Tuesday, March 19, Actors Equity, the professional actors union in the U.S., is doing a presentation in New York about cross-gender casting of Shakespearean plays.

In addition to the theatre events highlighted below, The Modern-Day Griot Theatre Company in Brooklyn, NY is presenting staged readings of one-act plays by women; Key City Public Theatre in Port Townsend, WA is presenting an evening of monologues by women playwrights from around the world; and Liberated Muse Arts Group in Washington, DC is doing a presentation showcasing the voices and views of Lucille Clifton, Zora Neale Hurston, Lena Horne, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.

These are just a few of the events that have been posted on the Support Women Artists Now/SWAN Calendar, and more are added every day. You are welcome to post any kind of arts or educational event that features women artists, including online events and online fundraising campaigns for women-led arts projects. We have posted instructions about How to Post Your SWAN Event, and we hope you will join us. The idea is to show the world the full power and diversity of women's creativity. 

Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto
Written & Performed by Anna Khaja
Directed by Heather de Michele

Anna Khaja as Benazir Bhutto
Watch the Video
Trailer for Shaheed
Writer/performer Anna Khaja illuminates the lives and historical forces surrounding slain Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007 while attempting to reunite a nation bitterly divided over the ideals of Islam and democracy. Through the monologues of eight characters that take place in the minutes before Bhutto's death--including Condoleezza Rice and Bhutto herself--we see how Bhutto's life and death resonate far beyond the boundaries of Pakistan, reshaping the world's struggle to reconcile the precepts of Islam with those of democracy.

Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St, New York, NY - Through April 1. Tickets & More Info:

Our Voices VII
Our Voices VII A Day-Long Celebration of Boston Area Women Playwrights 

Produced by playwrights Kelly DuMar and Hortense Gerardo with support from Nora Hussey, Director, Wellesley College Theatre Studies

Our Voices VII is a day-long event providing artistic support for Boston-area women playwrights. The day will include afternoon play readings with feedback sessions for the playwrights; an afternoon writing workshop; and an evening of staged readings of new plays performed by Boston-area actors and followed by a talk-back. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013 Noon-10 p.m.
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Alumnae Hall, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
More info:
Opening Up Possibilities for Women through Non-Traditional & Cross-Gender Casting Sponsored by the Actors' Equity Association Equal Employment Opportunity Committee

Joanne Zipay
Judith Shakespeare Company
This will be an evening of scenes and lecture-demos that will highlight ways to create more opportunities for women in Shakespearean productions and classical theatre.

Actors from New York’s Judith Shakespeare Company, The Queen's Company and the Messenger Theatre Company will present several scenes from King Lear; As You Like It; Henry VI, Part Two; Macbeth; and The Tempest; followed by a brief talk-back and Q&A.

Joanne Zipay, Artistic Director of Judith Shakespeare Company is lead director of the event.  Additional directors presenting work are Rebecca Patterson, Artistic Director of The Queen's Company and Emily Davis, Artistic Director of Messenger Theatre Company.

All three directors and their companies have done cross-gender productions of Shakespeare's plays and other classical works.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Actors' Equity Association, 165 West 46 St., NYC, 14th Floor-Council Room
This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. 
RSVP to:

The Athena Project Festival Features World Premiere
Angela Astle, Founder & Executive Producer

Athena Project is a professional group of artists dedicated to supporting and expanding women's artistic contributions to the Denver stage and the wider community.  Each year, they produce an Arts Festival that includes the world premiere production of a new play by a female playwright, as well as female musicians, dancers and artists; a Plays In Progress series that presents workshop productions of women's plays; and Girls' Write, a year-long playwriting and play development program for at-risk girls.

This year they are presenting the world premiere of Clinnesha D. Sibley's Tell Martha Not to Moan. Set in 2007, the play focuses on a devoted but desolate elderly African-American couple in Detroit as the presidential election campaign plays out on the national stage and the 40th Commemoration of the Detroit Riot is marked.

Aurora Fox Arts Theater, 9900 East Colfax Ave, Denver, CO - Through March 31.  More info at:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

SWAN Events Take Audiences Travelling Through Space & Time

As of this morning, there are 95 events on the Support Women Artists Now/SWAN Calendar, with more are added every day. Please be sure to post your event if you have not done so. We will be doing two newsletters per week on SWAN events for the rest of this month.

We are thrilled that there are SWAN events all over the world, and that they represent such a wide range of women's voices.  In today's issue, we are focusing on events in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Minneapolis that will take their audiences through space and time. 

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe and Pearl Gluck have both created works about travelling across continents to learn more about their history - one exploring the effects of African migration and slavery, the other examining her Jewish heritage. Meanwhile, The Women of Theater for the New City in New York, and Women's History Month: The Historical Comedybration in Minneapolis will travel through time to offer women's perspectives on historical figures and events.

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe
Adventures of A Black Girl:Traveling While Black
A Solo Performance from Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe

Based on Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe's experiences as a Black American traveler/tourist in Africa, Europe, and North and Central America, Traveling While Black is part travelogue and part history lesson. It explores the tensions between tourism and colonialism as it reveals cultural connects and disconnects.

Inspired by Langston Hughes’ I Wonder As I Wander, Traveling While Black examines the post-slavery condition of Black travel, both fanciful and forced. March 15-17, 2013
Brava Theater Center  2781-24th St, San Francisco, CA
Tickets: $15   More Info>>

Divan - A Documentary Film by Pearl Gluck

SWAN Day co-founder Jan Lisa Huttner will introduce these screenings of Pearl Gluck's "Divan" followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker. This is the 4th annual SWAN Day program sponsored by the Chicago YIVO Society.

As a teenager, filmmaker Pearl Gluck left her Orthodox Jewish clan in Brooklyn for secular life in Manhattan. Many years later, Pearl’s father has one wish: that she marry and return to the community. Pearl, however, takes a more creative approach. She travels to Hungary to retrieve a turn-of-the-century family heirloom: a divan upon which esteemed rabbis once slept.

March 13, 2013 6:00 p.m. - Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street Chicago, IL  & March 14, 1 p.m. - Northbrook Public Library, 1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook, IL. No Reservations Required

Barbara Kahn as Calamity Jane
Barbara Kahn as
Calamity Jane
SWAN DAY: The Women of Theater for the New City
Six women playwrights from Theater for the New City will be featured in honor of SWAN DAY and the company's 40 year history of presenting women artists.

Performers will include: Barbara Kahn as Calamity in “Calamity Jane Sends a Message to Her Daughter” by long-time WomenArts member Carolyn Gage; Victoria Linchong previewing her new play “Dispossessed,” about eviction, the history of apartments and a meditation on possession; Mary Tierney performing Barbara Kahn’s play “CO-OP,” about the gentrification of the Lower East Side; “Diary of a Thought” written and performed by Bina Sharif; Lissa Moira performing her piece “Multiple Movie Personality Disorder;” and Francesse Maingrette singing “Ne Me Quittez Pas.” Time permitting, there will be a 20-minute open mic (without a mic) for 5-minute presentations.

March 13, 2013 at 7pm. Theater for the New City. 155 First Avenue (between 9th & 10th Sts) NYC 10003. Admission is by donation. Reservations: 212-254-1109.

Kelsey Cramer as
Rosie the Riveter
Women's History Month: The Historical Comedybration

Created by Heather Meyer

If you were looking for a SWAN event in a combination theater-restaurant-bowling alley in America's snowy heartland, be sure to check out The Historical Comedybration at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theatre in uptown Minneapolis.

The show will take you on a comedic journey through the 'softer side' of history with comedy sketches and historical reenactments from the lives of famous women such as author Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rosie the Riveter, anthropologist Jane Goodall, Hilary Clinton, and more. This show contains real facts and also has Truth or Dare and the chance to win fabulous prizes. Featuring Kelsey Cramer, Brigid Anderson Kelley, Heather Meyer, & Shannon Troy Jones, with additional writing by Emily Schmidt.

March 14 & 15 at 7 p.m.
Bryant Lake Bowl Theatre, 810 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN
Tickets: $10 Advance;
 $12 At the Door  Buy Tickets>>

Friday, March 8, 2013

It's Female Artist Takeover Day!

The Female Artist Collective of Greensboro North Carolina has really captured the Support Women Artists Now/SWAN spirit by declaring today as the first annual Female Artist Takeover Day in their town.  Brava!!

Musician/actress Stephanie Lindley started the Female Artist Collective of Greensboro as a Facebook group in 2010.  Her goal was to encourage and support local female artists, and the group has grown to 160 members.

As their way of celebrating International Women's Day and SWAN Month, they have organized the first annual Female Artist Takeover Day.  They have persuaded venues all over Greensboro and Jamestown to present women artists, and tonight there will be events featuring musicians, singers, spoken-word artists, dancers, theatrical performers and visual artists.  Artists and audience members will be wearing magenta to show their support for women artists. There is an article in Go Triad with more information.

Through their Facebook page, they are also encouraging every women artist in Greensboro to make herself visible today whether or not she is part of one of the main events.  As they say, "Five Minutes. 30 Minutes. An hour. In your favorite shopping place. Show your art. Sing a song. Recite Shakespeare! Get permission and let it fly!"

This is a great idea. So many women artists feel isolated and invisible, and we need to do much more to help each other and let our communities know we exist. 

At WomenArts we hear from women artists all over the world who have discovered the power of forming support groups with other women artists. Whether you get together to do a SWAN event or for some other purpose, we encourage you to find and build support networks for yourself. 

Many of the most successful SWAN organizers started with a small group of friends, a simple flyer, or an online announcement.  Now they are organizing large annual SWAN events. You can do it too!  Finding supportive colleagues is the key to discovering your power to create, connect, and change the world.

SWAN Month in Jamestown, NY Starts Saturday

Jennifer Schlick's "Dandelion"
Congratulations to the women of Jamestown, New York who have organized a month of SWAN activities that will kick off on Saturday with an exhibit at 3rd On 3rd Gallery in Jamestown that will feature new photographs and art from Jennifer Randall, Angela Caley, Debra Eck, Jennifer Schlick and Ashley Ordines.

Debra Eck, who specializes in paper and installation art,  and photographer Jennifer Schlick are the artists behind last year’s “Women Create”, which celebrated SWAN through a juried exhibition of works by 40 women artists, lectures, workshops, an arts market, and the creation of a new installation piece.  “Women Create” was the most attended exhibition of 3rd On 3rd Gallery’s history.  You can watch a video recap on YouTube.

Debra Eck, Room for Utopia
Other events in Jamestown will promote Support Women Artists Now throughout March and April. Girls Rock 6, a live music concert on Friday March 29 at Mojo's Music Bar, will feature local singers and songwriters Kat Elfman, Lori Burke, Amanda Barton, Marla Harris, Gina Vecchio and organizer, Cindy Haight. An end of the show jam session will bring Natalie Langworthy and Sara Rafaloski onstage.

On Saturday April 20, Infinity Visual and Performing Arts will host an art market featuring the work of female artists and artisans. A lunchtime lecture about the history of women artists will be held across the street at the Reg Studio Theater. Throughout the day, 3rd On 3rd Gallery will remain open for Audrey Dowling’s art show, Comfort Zones. More details will be released at

For details on all of these events, visit

SWAN Tonight: Amuse Bouche & Golden Thread

Selected SWAN Events:

Amuse Bouche - Women Aerialists in NY Do Benefit for Women in Cameroon BlacK*acrobat (led by long-time WomenArts member Kiebpoli Calnek) and Upsidown Productions (led by Madeline Hoak) are teaming up to host a variety show at The Muse in Brooklyn, NY tonight to benefit Breaking Ground, a non-profit that supports community-based programs in Cameroon, including programs for women entrepreneurs. Kiebpoli Calnek is an actress and corde lisse aerialist. Madeline Hoak is a NYC based aerialist, dancer, and teaching artist. The evening will feature artists from New York’s vibrant circus, aerial and performance communities.
Read more . . .

Golden Thread Features Middle Eastern Women

Golden Thread Productions is producing "What Do the Women Say?" an evening celebrating the poetry and performance of Middle Eastern Women featuring work by New York's Layla Modirzadeh, Minneapolis- based playwright Kathryn Haddad,  and Bay Area hip hop artist Tru Bloo. Friday, March 8 at La Peña in Berkeley, CA
Read More . . .

Be Sure to Post Your Events on the SWAN Calendar!
WomenArts will be writing blogs, Facebook posts and newsletters about women's arts events throughout SWAN month.

If you have a project you would like us to feature, be sure to post it on our SWAN Calendar and write to us about it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Join the Words of Choice Live Streaming Events on March 1 & 2

Words of Choice
Women around the world are invited to watch two live-streamed performances of the popular pro-choice play, Words of Choice, and to participate in post-show discussions via Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging, and shared photos.

Words of Choice will be performed at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City, New York on Friday, March 1 at 7 pm EST and Saturday, March 2 at 3 pm EST. As part of the first-ever WiredArts Fest, the performances will be available to anyone with Internet access and will be shared with hundreds of reproductive rights and social justice activists.

Created by long-time WomenArts member Cindy Cooper, "Words of Choice” weaves together dozens of stories of reproductive rights through poetry, spoken word, oral history, theater and journalism. It is performed by three actors, and includes serious, comedic and contemplative pieces. Each performance will be followed by a panel discussion.  Friday night will feature Amanda Marcotte, who is the author of It’s A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide and a regular contributor at Pandagon and RHReality Check, and Lori Adelman, contributing editor at Feministing. Saturday afternoon's discussion will be led by Lynn Roberts, a founding board member of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and an assistant professor at School of Public Health at Hunter College.

This production has often toured to states where reproductive rights were at risk, and it is an excellent example of the ways women are using the power of the arts to work for women's rights and social justice. As Cindy Cooper explains, she created Words of Choice because "theater is a way to transmit the pro-choice message, opening hearts and minds, and empowering the movement for women’s full equality and rights . . . everyone involved with Words of Choice is committed to moving public sentiment and influencing policy makers. ”

Host a Viewing Party! Start a dialogue with your friends about reproductive rights by hosting a viewing party to watch the play.  Words of Choice has prepared an excellent Viewing Party Kit that you can download here and a Free Original Poster that you can download as a pdf. There are also Free Itunes and Android Apps to let you participate in the event. Read more here.

Watch Online: You can watch online anywhere for free through Virtual Arts TV.  Free viewing comes with pop-up ads at any time. For a mini-payment of $2.50, you can watch online without the annoyance of commercials, and you are guaranteed a high quality stream.  Buy Online Premium Live Streaming Tickets Here (Note: Saturday tickets include an additional play at 2 pm at no extra charge.)  Here is a YouTube tutorial about the signing up for the premium WiredArtsFest LiveStream and using it. Suggestion: Set up your premium stream now, or at least a half hour in advance of the show.

Watch at the Theatre: If you want to attend the performance at The Secret Theatre in New York, please visit their website.  Tickets are $18 with discounts available for groups and pro-choice activists.

The Words of Choice ensemble will include Crista Marie Jackson, Carl H. Jaynes and Claudia Schneider under the direction of Francesca Mantani Arkus; Kelly Vieau is stage manager; Stacey Linnartz is Artistic Consultant.

Please Note: March is Support Women Artists Now/SWAN Month, and WomenArts will be celebrating by writing blogs, Facebook posts, and newsletters about our favorite women artists all month.  If you have a project you would like us to feature, please be sure to post it on the SWAN Calendar and write to us about it.