WomenArts Presents SWAN Day Bay Area on March 28

Lisa Morse & Cathleen Riddley

Lisa Morse & Cathleen Riddley in 16th Annual “Best of PlayGround Festival”

WomenArts will celebrate the amazing women’s theatre community of the San Francisco Bay Area with a special Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN Day event on Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m. at Shotgun Players’ Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, CA.

Admission is free, but only a few seats are left. 
Reserve your seats now through Brown Paper Tickets!
PLEASE NOTE:  Reservations will be held until 10 minutes before the show.  If we sell out online, we will set up a waiting list at the door and release unclaimed reservations on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Learn about the world-wide movement for gender parity in the arts from WomenArts Executive Director Martha Richards;
  • See four short plays by and about women presented in collaboration with PlayGround and Symmetry Theatre;
  • Get the facts about gender parity in our community from Valerie Weak’s highly-anticipated Counting Actors Project study of 500 local productions over the past 3 years;
  • Celebrate & strategize with us at a special networking reception following the show.

Martha Richards is celebrating her 20th year as Executive Director of WomenArts.  In 2008 Richards and film critic Jan Lisa Huttner created Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN Day. In the first seven years of this new holiday, there have been over 1,200 SWAN events in 24 countries.  This year, there will be events all over the U.S, and in Burundi, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey, and New Zealand!  Richards will speak about the remarkable growth of SWAN Day and the increasing interest in gender parity in the arts in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The Bay Area has an incredible wealth of talented women artists.  To showcase a few of them at SWAN Day Bay Area, WomenArts will present four ten-minute plays developed in collaboration with PlayGround and Symmetry Theatre.

  • Abominable by Katie May –  Fate and Luck decide to present a series of challenges to Beverly Onion, a mortician’s assistant who has a fascination with the Abominable Snowman.
  • Lean in with Liz by Rachel Bublitz – A woman with a new baby is questioned about her career choices by her ambitious teen-age self.
  • Street Photographer by Genne Murphy – Photographer Vivian Maier speaks to John Maloof, the man who “discovered” her after her death and made a documentary about her work.
  • Feminist Valhalla by Takeo Rivera – Audre Lorde, Frida Kahlo, Joan of Arc, and other feminist icons face the challenge of a capitalist woman who seeks entry to Feminist Valhalla.

Valerie Weak has been collecting statistics on women actors, directors, and playwrights at Bay Area theatres for the past three years through her Counting Actors Project.  She now has over 500 plays in her database.  She will release the summary of her findings for the first time at SWAN Day Bay Area.

Following the show, audience members will be invited to stay for a free wine and cheese reception where people can network and continue the conversation about the best ways to advance women artists in theatre.

WomenArts is especially proud to present SWAN Day Bay Area at Shotgun Players’ Ashby Stage, because Shotgun Players has just announced a full season of plays by women including six mainstage plays and six staged readings.  Bravo!!!

Celebrate SWAN Day All Day!

If you are in the Bay Area and want to celebrate SWAN Day all day on March 28, it is easy this year.  You could spend the morning at SWAN Day Martinez, an outdoor visual and performing arts fair held  at the Old Train Depot parking lot in Martinez, then come to WomenArts’ free SWAN Day Bay Area at Ashby Stage in Berkeley from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

In the evening, you could return to Ashby Stage at 8 p.m. to see  Anne Carson’s Antigonick, the first play of Shotgun Players’ all-women playwrights’ season, or head over to the East Side Arts Alliance, 2277 International Boulevard in Oakland for a 7 p.m. reading of Out of Control, a new play by Opal Palmer Adisa presented by the Lower Bottom Playas.