Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3rd Annual WomenArts Night

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”- Gloria Steinem. PlayGround and WomenArts are partnering once again on “WomenArts Night,” a special Monday Night PlayGround evening featuring short plays that will celebrate women leaders and exemplify gender parity in theatre. For this year’s WomenArts Night, playwrights were invited identify a nominee for an imagined “Feminist Hall of Fame” and create an original work with that woman in action. Plays will feature women who broke new ground or led the way, helping other women along the way (as example, first female ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick, aviator Amelia Earhart, Manhattan Project nuclear physicist Joan Hinton, theatre artist Lorraine Hansberry, tennis player Billie Jean King, just to name a few)! Writers have been encouraged to include strong roles for women of color.  PlayGround writers had four days to generate their original ten-minute scripts inspired by the topic. The top six plays will be performed on the set of Berkeley Rep’s current show on Monday, March 20 at 8pm at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.  Tickets and discount flex passes for Monday Night PlayGround can be purchased online at http://playground-sf.org/monday.

Each month, PlayGround announces a topic to the thirty-six playwrights in the PlayGround Writers Pool and the writers have four-and-a-half days to generate original ten-minute scripts inspired by the topic. Recent topics have included: “Going Viral,” “Nutcracker, Sweet!,” and “Awakening to the Dream of the Earth” as part of a now three-year collaboration with Planet Earth Arts. The top six plays from each month are rehearsed for just one-and-a-half hours each and presented as script-in-hand staged readings at Monday Night PlayGround, now celebrating its twenty-third year. PlayGround audiences get to enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes perspective, with a free Pre-Performance Discussion at 7:10pm.  Audience members can also experience the thrill of being a producer through the monthly People’s Choice Awards, helping to determine which plays and playwrights go on for consideration in PlayGround’s annual showcase, the Best of PlayGround Festival.

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 750 original short plays and 61 commissioned full-length plays. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.

ABOUT THE SPONSOR: This month’s PlayGround is sponsored by WomenArts (www.WomenArts.org ), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the visibility and opportunities for women artists, especially women in theatre, film, and video.

WomenArts has been a strong advocate for gender parity in the arts for more than twenty years. In 2015 WomenArts published The Not Even Report, Valerie Weak’s study of women’s employment in Bay Area theatres (www.WomenArts.org/not-even/ ), and WomenArts coordinated an international summit on gender parity in theatre in Toronto. (http://www.americantheatre.org/2015/06/09/7-steps-for-achieving-gender-parity-in-the-theatre/)

WomenArts also coordinates an annual international celebration of women artists called Support Women Artists Now Day or SWAN Day for short. (See www.WomenArts.org/swan/.)  Over the past 9 years there have been over 1,500 SWAN events in 36 countries, including substantial festivals in Kenya, Bulgaria, Germany, and Prague, as well as in cities across the U.S. Check the SWAN Calendar for upcoming events (www.WomenArts.org/swandates/) or the WomenArts Blog for articles about past events (www.WomenArts.org/blog/). WomenArts Night at PlayGround is part of the SWAN Day 2017 celebrations.  A primary goal of SWAN Day is to create events that will inspire and entertain feminist audiences.

To learn more about the way women are portrayed in films and television shows, check out the excellent work by Dr. Martha Lauzen for the Center for the Study of Women in Film & Television (http://womenintvfilm.sdsu.edu/research.html) and by Dr. Stacy Smith for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender & Media (http://seejane.org/research-informs-empowers/).  Additional studies about gender representation in the arts are listed on the WomenArts Employment page at:  http://www.womenarts.org/womens-employment-in-the-arts/. 

WHAT: Occurring monthly, October-March, the popular Monday Night PlayGround series presents staged readings of thematically-connected short works by the Bay Area’s best new playwrights each month at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, staged by leading local professional actors and directors.  For March’s performance, PlayGround and WomenArts will present an evening of short plays, inspired by the stories of imagined inductees to the “Feminist Hall of Fame”.

WHERE: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St, Berkeley, CA

WHEN: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 8pm
                         
TICKETS: $15 general admission ($20, priority seating) in advance, $20 at the door.  4-admission priority seating flex passes are just $60.  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit www.PlayGround-sf.org.

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