On January 20th, I watched men and women from all over the country gather together in a common motive to protest a man they believe is unfit in his remarks and beliefs towards women and minorities to run the country. I felt a spark in my chest, a hope that I can do more than comment angrily on Facebook. But once the March was over, the question lingering on many minds was, "what's next?"
I received an email from my writing group with a list of opportunities, the one at the top being a festival called The Future is Female. I clicked the link and found that I could submit my name as a volunteer for directing or acting in a 10-minute play. Sure, I thought. Why not? A week later, I received an email from TFIF Festival creator Mya Kagan, looking for volunteer work to sort through submitted plays and pop-up registration. I was desperate to do something. But what could I do? I'm just a writer. So I volunteered.
"Instead of Women's History, we celebrate Women's Futures"
The tag line for TFIF Festival is bold and doesn't mince words. Women's History has been observed since the late 1970's, starting as just "Women's History Week", in an attempt to observe equality in classrooms, developing curriculum on women's history and sponsoring essay contests and other programs throughout the country. By 1986, 14 states had already declared March as Women's History Month, launching a campaign to Congress to declare the entire month of March to observe women's history nationally. But while it's important to remember the accomplishments of those who came before, women have found themselves fighting to have a voice in the future.
With the Women's March becoming the largest organized protest in American history, and an influx of more than 4,500 women running for political office, it's clear that the 2016 election has emboldened women to get involved and consider their country's future on a personal level. Artists have taken this step in another way, by doing what they do best - creating art.
Theaters, playwrights, directors and actors throughout the US and Canada have come together for Women's History Month to present THE FUTURE IS FEMALE FESTIVAL, a series of staged readings and productions of 10-minute plays written by women of all backgrounds on the subject "The Future is Female" and what that means to them. The Festival will produce work by over 140 women to 2,000 audience members.
Across North America, 27 outposts will hold their own festival celebrating women, donating all or a portion of the proceeds to local charities of their choice. In addition, anyone can participate by hosting a pop-up in their own home or community, choosing to keep it private or open to the public. They can choose from 10-minute plays submitted in an open-call and made available online.
The Future Is Female Festival was created by playwright Mya Kagan in response to the 2016 election, and to amplify the inequality of women in theater. On the website, she writes,
"What better way to ensure that the future is female than to ask women writers to create it? And in an industry dominated by men, what better way to help them achieve it than by giving them this experience, which will hopefully lead to new connections, new visibility, new audience members eager to see their work again?"
To find a festival pop-up near you, go to https://thefutureisfemalefestival.com