Parent Artists and the need for radical inclusion at Women’s Theatre Festival


Establishing a career in the theatre can be challenging. Even more challenging? Trying to maintain that career once you become a parent. 


At Women’s Theatre Festival, we believe a woman shouldn’t have to choose between making great theatre and being a mother. We’ve carved out space and created programming specifically by and for parent artists.


Festival goers can begin Saturday morning with a Keynote Breakfast with Founder of  PAAL,The Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts, Rachel Spencer Hewitt. A Broadway veteran and Yale grad, Hewitt is a national spokeswoman addressing the needs of parent artists.


The Keynote Address will be followed by local theatre luminaries Tamara Kissane (Artist Soapbox), Naima Yetunda Ince (N.Y.I Productions), and Susannah Hough (Honest Pint) hosting “I Can’t, I Have Kids! How To Make Art While Parenting,” a frank panel discussion about the challenges and some solutions for parents making theatre here in the Triangle.


The afternoon continues with a very special collaboration with Playmakers Rep–a staged reading of Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler, directed by Vivienne Benesch. A comedy with dark edges, Cry It Out takes an honest look at the absurdities of being home with a baby, the power of female friendship, the dilemma of going back to work, and the effect class has on parenthood in America. The cast includes Katie Paxton, Rachel Spencer Hewitt, Molly Ward, and Daniel P. Wilson. WTF Executive Director and PAAL Chief Representative Johannah Maynard Edwards will lead a talkback panel with the artists following the performance.


While all this is happening, there’s something for the kids to do, too! The WTF Kids will spend the day with our pals from Seed Art Share devising their very own production about some fascinating females of the 20th century. They will perform their show on stage in the Calypso Room at Marbles Kids Museum at 4pm!


On Sunday, the parent artist programming continues with Beki Baker (Chair, Theatre Department, Lipscomb University), Chris Cragin-Day (Associate Professor of Theatre + English, The Kings College), and Robyn Berg’s (Assistant Professor of Theatre, Radford College) presentation “Mothers in Academia: ‘Swings’ in Performance” on the demands of females with children in academia. Don’t forget to catch A Mother’s Heart by Victoria Evans Erville over at Occupy The Stage, as well. There will be a family-friendly performance at ArtSpace this day--The Adventures of Pink & Purple, a new musical by local playwright (and mom) Amanda Almodovar hits the stage at 10:00 am. 


We hope to see you at the festival! Don't forget to