Artemisia Announces 2019-20 Season of Two Fully Staged Productions

Artemisia Announces 2019-20 Season of Two Fully Staged Productions

Season to kick off in November with THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS by Shaw and Evelyn Glover and conclude in June 2020 with World Premiere of Lauren Ferebee's EVERY WAITING HEART

In a departure from the company's previous production model, but not from its mission of fostering the development of new feminist plays, Artemisia Theatre will mount two fully staged productions in 2019-20 and forego its Fall Festival of New Play Readings. Previously, Artemisia's seasons consisted of the Fall Festival and a single fully-staged production.

Artemisia Founding Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot says, "While we will continue to actively solicit and develop new scripts, we're excited about the opportunity to champion new work by reaching the larger audiences that will be attracted to fully staged productions. Additionally, we will revisit landmark feminist dramas in full productions to celebrate and learn from these classic pieces."

In that spirit, the company's 2019-20 season will include both an evening of one act plays from the canon of British Suffrage Plays of the early 20th Century, and the World Premiere of the winner of Artemisia's 2018 Fall Festival - the drama EVERY WAITING HEART, by Lauren Ferebee.

FALL 2019 - THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS

Artemisia's season opener will be THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS, running November 1-24 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. The program will be three one-act comedies focused on the importance of voting rights for women and will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in America. "Suffrage Plays" emerged during the British women's suffrage movement and were popular from 1907-1914. Many Suffrage plays called for a predominant or all female cast. Suffrage plays served to reveal many of the double standards that women faced daily and featured familiar everyday situations with relatable characters. The three suffrage plays in Artemisia's program are all comedies, and though they have a clear political focus, are as entertaining as they are astonishingly prescient.

One of the most influential writers of suffrage plays was Evelyn Glover, who dramatized the arguments of working-class women in particular, because of the criticism that was leveled at the Suffrage Movement - that only middle-class women would benefit from sexual equality and the vote. Artemisia's THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS will include two of her most popular plays. A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY, which depicts a conversation between a suffragette charwoman and an upper-class matron; and MISS APPLEYARD'S AWAKENING. The latter play is a comedy in which an anti-suffrage activist comes to realize the fallacies and illogic of her views.

THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS will also include Shaw's one-act comedy PRESS CUTTINGS, a farce satirizing British politicians and attitudes against suffrage. The comedy imagines a time when suffrage activism led to an imposition of martial law and a chaotic society.

The evening of one-acts will be unified through the vision of one director (to be announced) and by casting a company of actors that will appear as a variety of characters throughout the performance. Artemisia will offer post-show discussions using these historical pieces on Women's Suffrage to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and to bring to light the importance of one person - one vote in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election.

SPRING 2020 - The World Premiere of EVERY WAITING HEART

Artemisia's Spring 2020 production will be the World Premiere of EVERY WAITING HEART, by Lauren Ferebee. The drama will be performed at The Den in June 2020 and directed by Artemisia Founding Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot. This winner of Artemisia's 2018 Fall Festival, EVERY WAITING HEART centers on the relationship between an overworked single mother and her rebellious teenaged daughter. Sherri and Annette have been an unbreakable mother-daughter duo since childhood, but suddenly Annette's rebelling and Sherri's terrified. Desperate for help, Sherri goes to a speed-dating event at a Pentecostal church that unexpectedly changes the course of both of their lives and fractures the bond that has held them together for so long. A deep and intimate dive into what it means to be a strong woman, EVERY WAITING HEART is an unflinching examination of faith and the many variations of love.

Lauren Ferebee's plays have been praised as "exquisite" (Applause, Applause) and "a fine balance between laugh-out-loud absurdity and gut-wrenching human drama" (DC Metro Theater Arts). Her play THE MEETING was recently a national finalist for the Kennedy Center's Gary Garrison 10-Minute Play Award. Proudfoot says "EVERY WAITING HEART is extremely special and sublime in its fierce feminist examination of the characters' shared crisis of faith. Lauren has given us something previously unseen and incredibly unique and inspiring."

Artemisia will continue its annual search for all-new feminist plays that empower women. Chicago playwrights as well as playwrights with whom Artemisia has a working relationship will be invited to submit each year for consideration. Artemisia's Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot will curate the submissions and select one play to be fully developed into a world or regional premiere production in Chicago. Ten plays and playwrights are finalists under consideration for Artemisia's 2020-2021 Theatre Season.

Artemisia's Girls Summer Camp will return in 2019 with a one-week camp from July 8-13. The program for girls age 12-18 includes a week of afternoon classes and workshops under the theme "Empowering Girls Through Theatre," and culminates in a Saturday performance for family and friends. More information and registration are available at artemisiatheatre.org/summer-camp/.



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