Supporters Rise Up Behind Women's Project Theater Following Artistic Director's Departure
Though Women's Project Theater may have lost its Artistic Director, support for the New York-based company continues to grow.
As BroadwayWorld previously reported, a national search has begun for a new Artistic Director to lead the company for the coming 2014-15 season and beyond. The new Artistic Director will succeed Julie Crosby, who recently departed the company as Producing Artistic Director, a position she held since 2006.
Now, according to The New York Times, support for Women's Project Theater and Crosby, which has championed work by women theater artists since it was founded in 1978, has only continued to rise, with much of the company's advisory board and "several" members of its board of directors to walk away in solidarity. The group insists that Crosby's departure puts the future of the company in jeopardy.
Since the announcement that Crosby had stepped down, over 600 playwrights and supporters have signed an online petition, "demanding that the board of directors' chairwoman and chairman resign in the wake of the controversy," according to The Times.
During her tenure, Crosby led and nurtured the institution immeasurably, producing more than 25 plays by women playwrights and directors, and championing the careers of its alumnae lab artists.
In the interim, Jessica R. Jenen, the Tony-nominated producer and former Executive Director of Classic Stage Company, will move into the role of Interim Executive Producer during this transition period. Ms. Jenen was to have departed WP as Executive Consultant at the end of June, but will remain with the theater through the transition period to a new Artistic Director
The award-winning Women's Project Theater is the nation's oldest and largest company dedicated to producing and promoting plays written and directed by women, who receive only 20% of the professional opportunities nationwide.
Now in its 36th year, Women's Project Theater has produced and/or developed over 600 main stage productions and developmental projects, and published 11 anthologies of plays by women.
Women's Project Theater was founded in 1978 by Julia Miles to address the significant under-representation of women theater artists and has since built a tremendous legacy. Although even today women lack parity in pay and opportunity, the artists who have broken through the glass ceiling have first crossed the threshold at Women's Project Theater, including Eve Ensler, Lynn Nottage, Maria Irene Fornes, Katori Hall, Pam MacKinnon, Leigh Silverman and Anna Deavere Smith, among the many.
Women's Project Theater accomplishes its mission through two fundamental programs: the WP Lab, a two-year mentorship and new play development program for women playwrights, directors, and producers, and the Main Stage series, which annually features three off-Broadway productions written and directed by extraordinary women theater artists. And each year, Women's Project Theater hosts the Women of Achievement Awards Gala , which pays homage to luminaries such as Chita Rivera, Eve Ensler, Whoopi Goldberg, Estelle Parsons, Gloria Steinem,Vanessa Redgrave, and Laurie Anderson to name but a few.