Civic Ensemble to Present Woman-Centered Performance SHE PERSISTS
She Persists is the culmination of a yearlong workshop aimed at creating a "community of women." Using the template of consciousness-raising groups that sprung out of the Women's Movement, the women's performance workshop creates a safe space for women to talk about their personal lives and socially relevant issues. From these conversations, participants shape their stories into an interwoven performance.
She Persists is Civic Ensemble's penultimate play of the season, contributing to a year of performances that have unapologetically dealt with issues surrounding oppression, black lives, corruption, gentrification, and misogyny. She Persists complements a year of women-centered events in Ithaca, including Sue Perlgut's Women's Wisdom Project, The Bad and Nasty Political Cabaret, the Ithaca Women's March, Tompkins County Legislature's proclamation that 2017 is the "Year of the Woman," and Civic Ensemble's upcoming co-production of 4 Plays - 100 Years with The Cherry, Hangar Theatre, and Kitchen Theatre Company.
"The Women's Performance Workshop sprung out of a performance that myself and a few Cornell undergraduates and graduates put up last year as part of an experimental theater lab," says She Persists facilitator Jayme Kilburn. "I wanted to create a piece of theater that allowed women to tell their own stories. I am fascinated with archival feminist performance groups that give the performer the power to dictate how they will be represented onstage. During the course of creating this show, the women in the group have turned an empty room into a sacred space where we can talk about anything."
She Persists decentralizes the hierarchal power relationships usually found in traditional Theater Productions. Each workshop participant has served as the director of their own show and each story has been created with the input of the entire ensemble.
The performance will feature Ithaca community members Sue Brightly, SherRon Brown, Ali Diemecke, Jazlin Gomez, Rachel Gould, Amelia Habicht, Jayme Kilburn, Gloria Majule, Sue Perlgut, Margaret Reed, Anna Sannes, and Erin Stoneking.
"This process of finding our voices, and of collaborating with other women to hear and support our stories together and then share them with the community is so empowering. Our group includes women of diverse ages and backgrounds, and every time we gather I appreciate something new. I can't help but feel that this is a particularly important time for this kind of work, and that the confidence we're gaining in telling our stories will have a lasting impact." - Sue Brightly
IF YOU GO:
Civic Ensemble presents
A devised performance by women in the Ithaca Community.
When: May 11-14, 2017; Thurs, Fri, Sat at 7:30 pm; Sun at 4 pm
Where: Lehman Alternative Community School, 111 Chestnut St, Ithaca, NY 14850
Tickets: $10 - $20 online at civicensemble.org or 607-241-0195. Limited number of pay-what-you-can tickets at the door.
Civic Ensemble is proud to produce She Persists with the support of Community Arts Partnership, the Cornell Graduate and Professional Student Programming Board, Cornell Departments of American Studies, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Performing and Media Arts, Wegmans, and GreenStar Co-op.
Civic Ensemble is a non-profit theatre company that produces new plays by or about women and people of color, re-imaginings of classics, and community-based plays that explore and explode the social, political, and cultural issues of our time. Through the production of plays, after-school and in-school education programs for young people, and civic engagement programs with Ithaca community members, the company works to bring audiences of different races, classes, and experiences together in a public forum on the American experiment.
Photo Credit: Ali Diemecke