Indy Week critic Byron Woods recently wrote a wrap-up piece about the Festival's successes as well as noting places ripe for improvement. "Our region had never before seen anything like the Women’s Theatre Festival. In an organized grassroots revolt against long-term local and national gender inequity in playwriting, directing, casting, and technical design, the fully crowd-sourced endeavor produced seventy-three events in four cities over five weeks. It mounted eight mainstage productions—and eight hands-on workshops where dozens of women received an introduction to disciplines including stage combat and set design." Click here to read the full article.
In it, Woods has mixed things to say. He simultaneously seems impressed with the audacity of the idea and ambition of the Festival while critical of some of the results. This is, of course, his job. And in many cases, I completely agree.
One point he makes is that the Festival will benefit by starting with stronger material, and we should utilize talent outside playwrights in the Triangle. To this I say, he's right. I'd like to discuss this idea a little though. I agree that when you start with strong material you have the potential for better results. But I would like to point out that to develop the skill and talent of our local playwrights they must be able to see their work, produce their work, and in the process, get better. Giving our local playwrights the chance to have their works produced is the only way that they will be able to become national, published playwrights. If women are to get to a place of level footing they must also have the opportunity to grow and with that goes the opportunity to try, fail, and try again.
So that is where we are now. A fair assessment of where we are now. A mixture of success and places to work and grow going forward. I hope that we can accept the challenge of self appraisal and strive for improvement with every step forward.
I would also like to thank Woods and all of our reviewers for giving the Festival such stellar coverage and helping to put WTF on the map. Indy Week, Triangle Arts & Entertainment, The Daily Tar Heel, The ArtsCenter’s Blog, The News & Observer, Burning Coal’s podcast Into the Fire, Lights Up! on WHUP 104.7 radio, and NPR’s The State of Things have all covered the festival as well as assorted other blogs and papers. Their support and critical review has meant a lot to the Festival and our mission going forward.
We are currently looking for feedback on festival strong points and weaknesses. Please consider contributing by filling out our survey. We need your feedback to get better and grow! We will also be having a meeting to discuss survey results and plans for the future. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct 3 at 7:30pm at NCSU at Hunt Auditorium (James B Hunt Jr Library, 1st floor room 1103). Join us!