Cohesion Theatre's PARITYFEST BALTIMORE 2015 Launches Today

Cohesion Theatre's PARITYFEST BALTIMORE 2015 Launches Today

To cap off their Inaugural Season, Cohesion Theatre Company is tackling the need for parity in the arts and organizing Baltimore area theatre companies to participate in a city -wide festival aimed at exposing audiences to new and under-produced work by female playwrights. ParityFest Baltimore 2015 will run Wednesdays through Sundays for six weeks fromtoday, July 1 to August 9, 2015 at multiple venues throughout Baltimore.

Cohesion has partnered with The Kilroys, an LA-based group committed to gender parity in the arts, who, in 2014, released The List, a compilation of the most recommended new and under- produced plays written by female playwrights. The 2014 edition of The List garnered national acclaim for opening a broader discussion on gender parity, and The Kilroys plan to release their second annual List in June of 2015. Cohesion Theatre Company Co-Founders Alicia Stanley and Brad Norris envision a festival of readings of each play included on the new 2015 List in an effort to get more of those authors and their work in front of audiences and theatre makers.

Over the course of six weeks, each participating theater company will tackle at least one play from the 2015 List and present it in a reading style of their choosing. Some readings may be actors with scripts at a table, while others may make full use of costumes, props, and lighting. Each company will have full creative control over how they present the work, which will be complemented by talk back discussions with audiences, panels on gender issues, and discussions with playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and cultural leaders regarding parity across all disciplines in the arts. All of the tickets for ParityFest readings will be pay-what-you- will with proceeds supporting playwright royalties, artist stipends, and participating companies.

To help cover some of the costs of producing the festival, Cohesion is hosting a ParityFest Kickoff Party on Saturday, June 6, 2015, from 7pm to midnight at Church on the Square, 1025 S Potomac Street. There will be live music, DJ Arturo Ozaeta, dancing, food provided by local vendors, and beverages by Cohesion Theatre Company Sponsors Union Craft Brewing and Charm City Meadworks. Participating companies and venues will also be contributing silent auction and raffle items to help raise funds and awareness of local artists. Tickets for the party are $20 online in advance or $25 at the door. All proceeds go directly toward festival costs such as play licensing, venue fees, and artist stipends. Visit www.cohesiontheatre.org to purchase tickets, or visit the Facebook event page for more information and regular updates.

ParityFest Baltimore 2015 will unofficially kick off a week early with Cohesion Theatre Company and The Strand Theater Company partnering to co-produce a Baltimore premiere of The Pillow Book by Anna Moench, directed by Jonas David Grey. Moench is a Baltimore native who now resides in Brooklyn, New York, and was one of the playwrights featured on The Kilroy's 2014 List. The co-production of The Pillow Book will take place alongside the first two weeks of ParityFest from June 25 - July 12, and will feature audience discussions with the playwright on her work. Performance of The Pillow Book will be held Thursdays through Sundays at Church on the Square, 1025 S. Potomac Street, in the Canton Neighborhood of Baltimore.

Cohesion feels that Baltimore, with its well established theatrical institutions and its thriving DIY Theatre scene is precisely the kind of groundbreaking arts city that a festival like this will thrive in. Festival Director Alicia Stanley said, "We are so excited at the prospect of Baltimore's theatrical community coming together in this revolutionary way." Though the list of participating companies and venues is growing daily, here is the current lineup of who has signed on to participate in ParityFest Baltimore 2015:

Participating Theatre Companies: Arena Players, Baltimore Annex Theatre Company, Baltimore Improv Group, Center Stage, Cohesion Theatre Company, EMP Collective, Federal Theatre Project, Fells Point Corner Theatre, Howard Community College, Interrobang Theatre Company, Iron Crow Theatre Company, Nu Sass, Pallas Theatre Collective, Rapid Lemon Productions, Single Carrot Theatre, Single Batch Theatre Company, Spotlighters Theatre, Stillpointe Theatre, The Strand Theatre Company, UMBC, Vagabond Players

Participating Venues: The Chicken Box, Church on the Square, Creative Alliance, Gallery 788, Hour Haus, Joe Squared, Liam Flynn's Ale House, The Mercury Theater, MICA Lazarus Center, St. Mark's Church, Terrault Contemporary, Theatre Project, The Y Not Lot

The full schedule of performances and locations for ParityFest Baltimore 2015 will be announced in early June 2015 following the release of The Kilroy's 2015 List.

For tickets and updates, visit www.cohesiontheatre.org or email founders Alicia Stanley at alicia@cohesiontheatre.org or Brad Norris at brad@cohesiontheatre.org. For more information on The Kilroys and The List, visit www.thekilroys.org.

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