Women Center Stage Festival at the Living Theater

Summary Info Festival StoryFestival EventsOther SourcesPractical Info Not Available

Country and Region United StatesNew York
Type of Festival Drama
Location of Festival New York, New York, USA
Festival Contact Information

Culture Project
49 Bleecker Street, Suite 602
New York, NY 10012 USA
Phone: (212) 925-1806
Fax: (212) 925-2531
Email: info@cultureproject.org

Festival Description

Women Center Stage presents over 30 performances created by more than 40 female artists in 29 days, the festival is a dynamic and diverse laboratory for new works in progress by both established and emerging women artists—a demographic that continues to be underrepresented on stages in New York and throughout the country.

Culture Project Founding Artistic Director Allan Buchman says, “For me personally, the thrill of committing Culture Project resources to provide opportunities for women artists, and to see those artists pursuing their creative dreams with utter abandon, compensates for the lack of those same opportunities that my own daughters experienced. I feel this year’s festival embodies the goals of our vision: not only is it thoroughly satisfying artistically, but the spirit and sense of community with which the participants and those behind the scenes are approaching this work is infectious, inspired, and transformative.”

Women Center Stage 2011 also marks the beginning of a new partnership between Culture Project and The Living Theatre, Judith Malina and Julian Beck’s revolutionary anarchist theater company. Culture Project will be in residence at the company’s Clinton Street theater for several months each year for the next two years.

Festival Dates March 8 - April 7, 2012
Festival Links


Festival Story:

Launched in 1996 by Allan Buchman in memory of his daughter, Women Center Stage is the Culture Project’s longest-running initiative, dedicated to supporting and vigorously promoting the work of women playwrights, directors, and performing artists. An important launching pad for new work, WCS has presented early iterations of Heather Raffo’s Nine Parts of Desire (2003), Sarah Jones’ bridge and tunnel (2004), which went on to a sold-out Broadway run and special Tony Award; the world premiere of Staceyann Chin’s Border/Clash (2005); Lynn Redgrave’s Nightingale (2005); and most recently the world premiere of Lenelle Moïse’s critically-acclaimed Expatriate (2008).

Culture Project is New York’s premier destination for artistic work that investigates urgent social and political issues. By fostering innovative collaboration between human rights organizations and theatre, music and film artists, Culture Project aims to inspire and impact public dialogue and policy, encouraging democratic participation in the most urgent matters of our time.

Culture Project has premiered celebrated shows including The Exonerated, Sarah Jones’ Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Lawrence Wright’s My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Tings Dey Happen, the Lucille Lortel Award-winning world premiere of George Packer’s Betrayed and Lemon Andersen’s County of Kings at the Public Theater. Most recently, Culture Project presented The Citizens Band’s The Past is a Foreign Country, a cabaret tackling the issue of displaced people, in partnership with USA for UNHCR. For more information, visit http://www.cultureproject.org/.


Festival Events:

Festival Schedule 2011:
  • March 5 – 6, 3:00pm and 7:00pm

Over one weekend, in a series of 15 minute pieces, 16 female directors will answer the question “What is political theater?”  With Kathleen Amshoff, Suzana Berger, Mallory Catlett, Mikhael Garver, Noelle Ghoussaini, Jessi Hill, Rebecca Holderness, Alex Mallory, Anna Jones, Sarah Rasmussen, Alice Reagan, Colette Robert, Mia Rovegno, Tina Satter, Gaye Taylor Upchurch, and Nicole A. Watson.
  • March 7, 7:30pm
    • viBeGirlsInCharge!

Created by an ensemble of teenage girls, this uniquely dazzling performance weaves together stories of urban girls’ experiences and uses poetry, dance, video, and original songs to ask, “Why does the world need us to lead?”
  • March 8, TIME TBA
The Living Theatre Ensemble, Hosted by Culture Project
      Judith Malina’s revolutionary career with the Living Theatre has spanned six decades, traversed the globe and inspired generations of political theater artists. Members of the ensemble—aged 7 to 70—host an evening of performances and stories from Malina’s history.
  • March 9 - 31, 10:30pm
The Living Theatre Ensemble, Directed by Judith Malina

A visceral examination of the social contract between the governed and the government, Seven Meditations was written after Malina and members of the company were imprisoned—and some tortured—by the Médici dictatorship in Brazil in 1973, and hasn’t been performed since its debut. Considered one of the company’s most significant pieces, the play explores Sacher-Masoch’s Six Houses of Bondage: Love, Money, Property, State, War and Death, with a seventh meditation on Revolutionary Change. (Tickets available at LivingTheatre.org)
  • March 10 – 11, 7:30pm
Written and Performed by Monica Hunken, Directed by Melissa Chambers

Follow your bewildered hostess, Monica, through her bicycle journey across Poland in search of the man who haunts her—a man of power, genius, fame and violence—her grandfather.
  • March 11, 16, 18, Wed at 7:30pm, Fri at 10:00pm
Written and Performed by Jane Bussmann

A darkly hysterical true story of quitting Hollywood celebrities for Ugandan war criminals. The Guardian called it “one of the most passionate, smart, hilarious hours on the Fringe, packed with so many brilliant one-liners it’s impossible to stop laughing, even as your brain buzzes with fury at the tale she relates.”  Reuters called it “so funny you almost feel guilty laughing,” and South Park’s Matt Stone said, “very funny - Jane’s got a death wish.”
  • March 12 – 28, Mon and Sat at 8:00pm, Sun at 7:00pm
Written by Calla Videt and Benjamin Sampson, Directed by Calla Videt
      With Merrie Jane Brackin, Arlo Hill, Josh Odsess-Rubin, Avery Pearson, Mickey Sumner, Aya Tucker
      A symphonic story about the way people listen to each other and to the world around them, HOLD MUSIC takes us on a journey into the musical world of speech and memory, language and thought. Why and how does music make us feel? How do things get stuck in our head?
  • March 17 – 20, Thur and Fri at 7:30pm, Sat and Sun at 3:00pm
Written and Performed by Leila Buck, Directed and Developed by Shana Gold
With Adam Green, Kathryn Kates, and Maya Serhan

Leila, a Lebanese-American writer/performer, and her husband Adam, an artist from a Jewish family, have been invited to a conference by Adam’s aunt Joan to present their experiences in Lebanon during the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. But as the evening unfolds in unexpectedly humorous and dangerous ways, the biggest conflict this family must face is the one between them. An interactive dialogue about the personal in the political, and how this intersection shapes who we are.
  • March 22 & 24, 8:00pm
Written by Daphne Rubin-Vega with Winter Miller, Directed by John Gould Rubin

Daphne Rubin-Vega’s solo show, FUQ’s: Frequently Unanswered Questions, is a rock and roll infused odyssey about the bonds of a family separated not just by the Gulf of the Caribbean but an even wider gulf—unspoken love and longing—and the loneliness of being the last one standing. Intimate, tender and hilarious, Ms. Rubin-Vega’s semi-autobiography is written with playwright Winter Miller and directed by John Gould Rubin.
  • March 23, 7:30pm
      Adapted from the essay by Alice Walker by Dana Balicki, Directed by Tamilla Woodard
      In partnership with CODEPINK Women for Peace, Culture Project is developing an adaptation of Alice Walker’s essay ‘Overcoming Speechlessness,’ a reflection on her travels through Gaza. A meditation on the indomitability of the human spirit and the struggle to overcome the speechlessness that engulfs us in the wake of violence and brutality, WCS will present a staged reading of this work in progress, adapted by Dana Balicki and directed by Tamilla Woodard.
  • March 25 – 27, Fri at 7:30pm, Sat and Sun at 3:00pm
Written, Choreographed and Performed by Chelsea M. Gregory
Directed by Ira-Sharay Kip

After a series of racial conflicts between high school students in Jena, Louisiana, some sought reconciliation while others gathered for a white supremacist rally on Martin Luther King Day. Portraying a surprising and evocative range of perspectives, including her own experience growing up in the Deep South, Chelsea M. Gregory explores race and identity through dance, poetry and documentary theatre.

  • March 30 - April 2, 8:00pm
Written and Performed by Angela McCluskey
With Ian Buchanan and Paul Cantelon

Hailed by Vanity Fair as a “chortling, cussing, room-dominating force of nature,“ Scottish singer/songwriter Angela McCluskey performs her new autobiographical musical, featuring Ian Buchanan (Nip/Tuck), and Angela’s husband, film composer Paul Cantelon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Oliver Stone’s W).
  • April 2, 2:00pm
Presented by The Lost Theatre

With the mission of cultivating new, exciting work by early-career artists, The 20-Something Project gives emerging playwrights the opportunity to build their plays and their professional relationships through productions by their peers. The Lost Theatre presents developmental readings of Chloe Carter Brown’s Beautiful Somewhere and Molly Hagan’s The Swing of the Sea.


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