Harmony France and Danni Smith.

Chicago Actors to Launch Female-Focused Firebrand Theatre

The new company will work toward gender parity in musicals by reimagining classics, commissioning new work, and producing unknown shows.

CHICAGO: Local actors Harmony France and Danni Smith have founded Firebrand Theatre, a company focused on musicals and women. The theatre is committed to ensuring  gender parity  on and offstage.

“There is a void in our industry, with more actresses than actors, yet fewer roles for women,” France said in a statement. “There are also statistically more women than men in our audiences. Yet most musicals are directed by men, cast with mostly men, with stories about men. Not only do we feel a moral obligation to illuminate female artists in roles that empower them, but also a need to tailor productions to the largest demographic of theatregoers.”

The company aims to expand the roles of women onstage by reimagining classics, producing unknown works, and commissioning pieces. Their first production will be in March 2017, and the company’s first season will be announced soon. Firebrand has launched an Indiegogo campaign, and there will be a launch party on March 27.

“For me, Firebrand is an opportunity to be a part of the process in a new way,” Smith said in a statement. “I love acting and always will. But what I find so exciting is the chance to be a part of creating a safe space where theatre artists are empowered to make thoughtful, powerful, truthful musical theatre. To celebrate the incredible artistry of the women in this community and create more work to showcase them is thrilling and, frankly, necessary.”

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