Theatre Women Organize in LA & NY/More SWAN News

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Theatre Women Organize
in Los Angeles and New York/
SWAN News from Bulgaria & D.C.

Deborah Steinberg, our Director of Artist Services, has written two pieces for the WomenArts Blog this week about groups fighting for gender equality in theatre - the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative and its New York predecessor 50/50 in 2020. We have included excerpts in this newsletter - if you want to see the full articles, please visit the WomenArts Blog.

Please keep sending us your SWAN Day photos and videos. We have news this week from SWAN Festival Bulgaria and a SWAN song suggested by Liberated Muse Arts Group in Washington, DC. Thanks so much to all of you who helped make the Fifth International SWAN Day the best ever!
Martha Richards
Executive Director, WomenArts

Get a Free Badge from the the Female Playwrights Initiative!
The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative is a Los Angeles-based movement working to ensure fair representation of women playwrights on local stages and beyond.

Are you ready to say "I'm with the FPI?" You can download a free FPI badge or buy one on T-shirts, mugs & more.
The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative, or LA FPI, was formed almost 2 years ago by playwrights Laura Shamas and Jennie Webb as a local, West Coast branch of the national movement for gender parity in American theatre led by the New York-based 50/50 in 2020 movement.

The FPI commissioned a study of women playwrights in the Los Angeles area, which found that only 20% of the plays produced locally were written by women. They began working on various fronts to address this paradox, with an infectious enthusiasm for their members' works and a positive, action-oriented attitude toward the field as a whole. These women know that they are making a difference, and they are excited about doing it.

Membership is free and the FPI offers newsletters and a variety of other online resources. Read more about them on the WomenArts Blog>>

Join 50/50 in 2020 - A Grassroots Movement to Achieve Gender Parity in Theatre
50/50 in 2020 is a New York-based grassroots movement that seeks gender parity for professional women theatre artists (i.e. 50% of theatre jobs) by the year 2020.
The members advocate for more opportunities and equal pay for women in professional theatre productions.

The cornerstone of 50/50 in 2020 is Works By Women, a group that goes to see productions written, directed, and/or designed by women in New York. Any woman can submit her show for consideration for listing on the Works by Women blog and for a possible group outing, though shows must be on Broadway, Off-Broadway, or Off-Off-Broadway. Works By Women also profiles women theatre artists and their shows in blog articles and interviews.

We especially love the idea of women supporting each other by seeing each other's work. WomenArts' own SWAN Day celebrations grew from the Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now/WITASWAN groups that Jan Lisa Huttner formed in Chicago to encourage women to see films by women.

We encourage women around the world to form groups to support each other, and when you do, please be sure to tell us about it, so that we can feature you in future newsletters.

Read more about 50/50 in 2020 in the WomenArts Blog>>

Congratulations to SWAN Festival Bulgaria!
SWAN Day Bulgaria Organizers
Rumyana Tancheva, Nevena Gadjeva, and Dessi Dimova
Congratulations to the organizers of SWAN Festival Bulgaria for their second four-day SWAN celebration. The efforts have been led by musician Dessi Dimova of Art Nova Foundation.
Dimova worked closely this year with Rumyana
Tancheva of Wonderland Events and Nevena Gadjeva of City Center Sofia Mall where many of the events were held. She also formed partnerships with the American Embassy in Bulgaria, Les Fleurs Hotel, the Sofia Municipality, Social Me (check out their cool graphics), and Fresh Swing Dance.

This year's celebration focused on the active participation of the audience by offering workshops in several styles of dancing, puppet theatre, candle-making, creating batiks, knitting, painting with watercolors (for children), food carving, and food photography.

They also offered their first "SWAN Academy," a one-week free "boot camp" in documentary film-making led by Minnesota-based U.S. filmmaker Melody Gilbert of Frozen Feet Films.

For more information, please visit: swanfestivalbg.com
Note: This site is in Bulgarian, but if you look in the top right corner of the screen, you will find a small British flag that you can click to get the English version.  You can also use Google Translate to translate the site from Bulgarian to English and many other languages.
Quick Links
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Check It Out: Dianne Reeves Sings About Being A Woman Artist
Special thanks to Khadijah Ali-Coleman of Liberated Muse Arts Group in Washington, DC for introducing us to Endangered Species, a song by the fabulous jazz singer Dianne Reeves about being a woman artist.

We have printed the lyrics below because they seem like a perfect fit with this week's newsletter about groups fighting for gender equality in the arts.

You can find several versions of the song on YouTube or you can hear the excerpt that Liberated Muse used in its promo video for their I'm Every Woman SWAN event.

Their SWAN event featured performers from Washington, DC’s progressive soul music scene sharing their own music and performing tribute songs to other artists. You can see videos from their show at LiberatedMuse.com

Endangered Species
by Dianne Reeves
"I am an endangered species
But I sing no victim's song
I am a woman
I am an artist
And I know where my voice belongs
I am a woman I exist
I shake my fist
but not my hips
My skin is dark
my body is strong
I sing of rebirth
no victim's song
I am an endangered species
But I sing no victim's song
I am a woman
I am an artist
And I know where my voice belongs
They cut out my sex
they bind my feet
Silence my reflex
no tongue to speak
I work in the fields
I work in the store
I type up the deals
and I mop the floors

I am an endangered species
But I sing no victim's song
I am a woman
I am an artist
And I know where my voice belongs
My body is fertile
I bring life about
Drugs, famine, and war, take them back out
My husband can beat me his right they say
And rape isn't rape
you say I like it that way
I am an endangered species
But I sing no victim's song
I am a woman
I am an artist
And I know where my voice belongs
I know where my soul belongs
I know where I belong." 

Special Thanks

WomenArts is supported this year by generous grants from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Art Happens, The Sister Fund, the Harnisch Foundation, HEW Foundation, Northern Trust Charitable Giving, Do A Little, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the PatsyLu Fund of the Open Meadows Foundation, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, California Community Foundation, and by gifts of time, energy and money from artists and arts supporters around the world. 

About WomenArts

WomenArts (formerly known as The Fund for Women Artists) is a community of artists and allies dedicated to celebrating and supporting art by and about women. For an overview of our programs and services, please see the About Us section of our website.

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