Who is Women’s Project Theater?
Legal Name: Women’s Project & Productions, Inc.
D/B/A: Women’s Project Theater; WP Theater
What is your mission?
Women’s Project is dedicated to producing and promoting theater written and directed by women.
What makes your organization so unique in the non-profit space?
Women’s Project Theater was founded in 1978, when a mere 7% of the plays produced in America were written by women, and far fewer were directed by them. The founders thought their “project” would swiftly lead to parity for women theater artists. That was 35 years ago.
One would think that we would have moved beyond gender by now. The idea that men alone have the capacity to tell important, universal, dramatic stories seems absurd. But then come the announcements of the plays to be produced at our nation’s largest, most visible, and most supported theaters, and we find maybe one or two women have been given a shot, and even they are most often relegated to secondary stages where runs are shorter and resources are scarcer.
Today, the percentage of professional theater productions written or directed by women persistently hovers around 22% nationwide. That percentage shrinks at the top, since the national theaters that produce the most productions, have the largest audiences, and pay the highest remuneration provide far fewer opportunities to women. At Women's Project Theater, we give women playwrights and directors 100% of the opportunities, 100% of the time. We are the only off-Broadway company doing this, and we'll keep doing it until gender parity is the norm, not the exception, on our nation's stages—large, small, and in-between.
WP Theater accomplishes its mission to produce and promote women playwrights and directors through two fundamental programs. The first is WP’s Lab, a two-year artistic residency and mentorship program for early career women playwrights, director, and producers. The second is WP’s Main Stage season, which annually features three off-Broadway productions written and directed by extraordinary women theater artists. Writing about our 35th Anniversary this season, Newsday recently echoed what we are hearing more frequently these days: “…Women’s Project has grown into a fierce, increasingly important and quite wonderful institution.”
What is your organization up to at the moment & how can CUP Members be involved?
Up to at the moment: Our off-Broadway production of Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek’s JACKIE, directed by Tea Alagic and starring Tina Benko is garnering accolades. It runs at City Center Stage II through March 31st. Details are at http://www.womensproject.org/on_our_stage.htm#jackie. We hope CUP Members will see the show, check out our work, and meet the staff and artists.