The D.C. Women’s Voices Theater Festival playwrights: Top row (left to right), Patti Kalil, Mel Bieler, Marilyn Ansevin Austin, Margaret Engel, Susan McCully, Marcia E. Cole, Martyna Majok, Christine Evans, Caleen Sinnette Jennings, Ty Hallmark, Mary Hall Surface, Sandra Kammann, Audrey Cefaly, Helen Pafumi. Bottom row (left to right), Jacqueline Goldfinger, Karen Zacarías, Jennie Berman Eng, Leslie Kobylinski, Patricia Connelly, Claudia Barnett, Kathleen Akerley, Jennifer Nelson, Marilyn Hausfeld, Goldie Patrick, Monique LaForce. (Photo by Scott Suchman)

D.C. Women’s Voices Theater Festival to Return in 2018

The second iteration will feature world premieres from Mary Kathryn Nagle, Heather Raffo, and Annalisa Dias.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Women’s Voices Theater Festival is coming back for a second time, Jan. 15-Feb. 15, 2018. The event was first held in 2015, when more than 50 plays by female and female-identifying writers received world premieres at D.C.-area theatres. For the 2018 event, 28 theatres have signed up so far to present world premieres, as well as second and third productions from female playwrights. The festival will present world premieres from Mary Kathryn Nagle, Heather Raffo, and Annalisa Dias.

Initially created by Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, Studio Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the festival was started in response to the under-representation of female voices in the American theatre.

“The 2015 Women’s Voices Theater Festival ignited a much-needed conversation within our theatrical community,” said the seven theatres’ artistic directors in a joint statement. “The success of the first festival inspired us to continue this important effort and to broaden how we highlight female playwrights. By presenting world premieres, as well as plays in their second and third productions, we hope this new undertaking will again call attention to the gender disparity on our stages and continue to introduce our audiences to exciting new female voices.”

The artistic directors are Molly Smith (Arena Stage), Paul R. Tetreault (Ford’s Theatre), Ryan Rilette (Round House Theatre), Michael Kahn (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Eric Schaeffer (Signature Theatre), David Muse (Studio Theatre) and Howard Shalwitz (Woolly Mammoth). In addition to these leaders, Nan Barnett, executive director of the National New Play Network, will serve as the festival’s coordinating producer again. The service organization theatreWashington will also play a supporting role.

The confirmed production titles so far are:

  • Sovereignty by Mary Kathryn Nagle at Arena Stage (world premiere). Directed by Molly Smith.
  • Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker at Ford’s Theatre (American premiere). Directed by Nataki Garrett.
  • Handbagged by Moira Buffini at Round House Theatre (American premiere). Directed by Indhu Rubasingham.
  • Noura by Heather Raffo at Shakespeare Theatre Company (world premiere). Directed by Joanna Settle.
  • 4,380 Nights by Annalisa Dias at Signature Theatre (world premiere).  Directed by Kathleen Akerley.
  • The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe at Studio Theatre.  Directed by Marti Lyons.
  • Familiar by Danai Gurira at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Directed by Adam Immerwahr.
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