Culture Project Presents Women Center Stage 2012 Festival

By: Feb. 13, 2012

The Culture Project (Allan Buchman, Artistic Director) will present Women Center Stage 2012 Festival beginning March 8 and continuing through April 7 at The Living Theatre (21 Clinton Street at East Houston Street). This year’s festival will feature over 40 performances in 30 days created by a diverse array of women artists across disciplines.

Launched before the formal incorporation of Culture Project in 1996, Women Center Stage is Culture Project’s longest-running initiative, committed to supporting and promoting the work of women artists and celebrating the unique contributions of women to social justice and human rights. The annual Women Center Stage Festival, presented each March for Women’s History Month, is a dynamic and diverse laboratory for works-in-progress from performing artists at all levels of their careers. Culture Project is committed to providing new artistic forums on wider social justice issues and galvanizing the performing arts community and its audience around supporting the voices and visions of women.

Culture Project Artistic Director Allan Buchman founded the festival in memory of his daughter, Chitra, who passed away 20 years ago. “After suffering the loss of my daughter, I wanted my life to counter the injustices she faced—many of which were gender based. I felt her life was a work in progress, and that this festival could begin to address the disparity of opportunity provided to women in various creative endeavors.”

Over the past 16 years, Women Center Stage has been an important launching pad for the projects of numerous artists, including early iterations of Heather Raffo’s Nine Parts of Desire (2003); Sarah Jones’ bridge and tunnel (2004), which went on to a sold-out Broadway run and garnered a special Tony Award; Staceyann Chin’s Border/Clash (2005); Geraldine Hughes’ Belfast Blues (2005); Lynn Redgrave’s Nightingale (2005); Lenelle Moïse’s Expatriate (2008), and most recently Daphne Rubin-Vega’s memoir-musical FUQs: Frequently Unanswered Questions (2011), which will premiere at LAByrinth Theater Company this Summer.

This WCS 2012 Festival will be headlined by a theatrical adaptation of the graphic novel Swell by Juliacks, directed by Kathleen Amshoff. The Festival will also feature Charity Henson-Ballard’s Pete The Girl, about an inner-city softball prodigy turned baseball superstar; and Dictee: bells fall a peal to sky adapted by Soomi Kim (Lee/gendary) from the work of Theresa Hay Kyung Cha; and new works by Lenelle Moïse (Expatriate), Anna Khaja, Dominique Morisseau, Mariah MacCarthy, Eboni Hogan, Caroline Rothstein, and the women of the First Generation Nigerian-American Project, as well as musical performances by Heloise & the Savoir Faire, Xenia Rubinos, and Rebecca Hart.

The second annual Directors’ Weekend will showcase the work of 13 up-and-coming directors responding to the economic crisis and questions about the idea of “economy” itself: Chloë Bass, Krystal Banzon, Charlotte Brathwaite, Jessica Chayes, Rachel Dart, Morgan Gould, Alicia Dhyana House, Rachel Karp, Katie Naka, Ira Kip, Awoye Timpo, Calla Videt, and Monica L. Williams.

Last year’s Festival featured the work of luminaries like Judith Malina, Alice Walker, and Angela McCluskey alongside emerging artists like Calla Videt, Leila Buck, and Monica Hunken, and others. Playing to an audience of over 2000 over the course of the festival, WCS patrons and supporters included Salman Rushdie, Liev Schreiber, Heather Graham, Karen Elson, and Lotte Verbeek.

Individual tickets ($10-$18) and Festival Passes ($45 for a 3-show pass or $165 for an all-show pass) may be purchased at or by calling 866/811-4111. For more information, visit

13 directors tackle the ECONOMY in 15 minutes
Series A: March 10 at 3pm and March 11 at 7PM
Series B: March 10 at 7pm and March 11 at 3PM
Over one weekend, in a series of 15-minute pieces, 13 female directors will tackle the subject of the economy. With Krystal Banzon, Chloë Bass, Charlotte Brathwaite, Jess Chayes, Rachel Dart, Morgan Gould, Alicia Dhyana House, Rachel Karp, Ira Kip, Katie Naka, Awoye Timpo, Calla Videt and Monica L Williams. ($10)

March 10 at 10AM
Co-presented with SDC Foundation
Please join us for a 90-minute conversation with multi award-winning Director and Playwright Emily Mann, produced with SDC Foundation as part of their One-on-One conversation series. Ms. Mann, now in her 22nd season as Artistic Director of New Jersey’s McCarter Theatre, has been at the center of National Theatre for the past 35 years, having produced, directed, written, and adapted plays and productions around the country. Topics to be discussed include her vision of artistic leadership, her personal career influences and challenges, her thoughts on fostering both creativity and successful collaboration, and her approach to direction. ($10/$5 SDC Members)

A new solo show by Lenelle Moïse
March 13-14 at 7:30pm
Whether talking about post-earthquake Haiti, conjuring Michael Jackson, or recounting her run-in with a skinhead on a crowded city train, poet and performer Moïse shares intricate stories of creative resilience, stubborn compassion and death-defying love. ($18) Written and Performed by Lenelle Moïse

Based on the graphic novel by Juliacks
Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm
March 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, April 5-6
When Emmeline’s sister unexpectedly dies, her family enters a tailspin of despair. Adapted from the acclaimed graphic novel, Swell explores the kaleidoscopic journey of grief, immersing the audience in a lush visual landscape as Emmeline confronts her fears, dreams and imagination. ($18) Based on the graphic novel by Juliacks, Adapted by Juliacks, Kathleen Amshoff, and The Company, Directed by Kathleen Amshoff

Fridays after Swell
March 16 at 9:30pm Xenia Rubinos
March 23 at 9:30pm Magic Trick by Mariah MacCarthy
March 30 at 9:30pm Sunset Baby by Dominique Morisseau
Join us each week for Friday night listening parties for new plays and new music. (Pay What You Can)

The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto
March 17-18 at 3pm and 7pm
In 2007, Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned from exile to unite a nation bitterly divided. Taking place minutes before her assassination, SHAHEED explores Pakistan’s complex relationship with the U.S., the depths of religious fundamentalism, and a people’s struggle to reclaim their nation, freedom, and faith. ($18). 2011 winner of the Ovation Award for Lead Actress in a Play. Written and Performed by Anna Khaja, Directed by Heather de Michele

bells fall a peal to sky
March 20-21 at 7:30pm
March 24 at 3pm and 7:30pm
March 25 at 3pm
Adapted from the work of the late Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, DICTEE intertwines the stories of ordinary, mythic, and martyred women—including Korean revolutionary Yu Guan Soon, Joan of Arc, Demeter and Persephone, and Cha herself—through movement, video, and original music. ($18) Conceived and performed by Soomi Kim, Directed by Suzi Takahashi, Music by Jen Shyu

A Collaborative Work in Progress
March 25 at 7pm
Created by 5 Nigerian-American writer/performers, this collaborative work-in-progress wrestles with their joint tugs of loyalty, identity, and culture as Africans and Americans, through storytelling, song, dance and multimedia. ($18)
Written and Performed by Jennifer Akabue, Ngozi Anyanwu, Joy Notoma, Yvonne Orji, and Mfoniso Udofia, Directed by John Gould Rubin

co-presented with Rising Circle Theater Collective’s Refinery
March 27-28 at 7:30pm
March 31 at 3pm and 7:30pm
April 1 at 7pm
Petrice Kincaide, an inner-city softball prodigy, finds a promising future in world domination when she teams up with Vera, a brilliant physicist living in her housing project. The only thing standing in the way of their guaranteed success and political power: Vera and Pete. ($18) Written by Charity Henson-Ballard, Directed by Donya Washington, Co-Presented with Rising Circle Theater Collective’s Refinery

viBe Theater Experience
April 1 at 3pm
This brand-new collection of “one-girl-shows” expresses the real-life experiences and dreams of independent, courageous teenage girls from all over New York City in their own unique voices. (Pay What You Can)

Co-Presented with Poetic Theater Productions
April 3 at 7pm
April 4 at 8:30pm
Through monologue and media, poet and performer Eboni Hogan tells the story of her mania-driven trek from NYC to Ghana, presenting an unflinchingly true testament to the complexities of the fragile mind, the breakable body and the resilient heart. ($18) Written and Performed by Eboni Hogan, Directed by Nicole A. Watson, Co-Presented with Poetic Theater Productions

Co-Presented with Poetic Theater Productions
April 3 at 8:30pm
April 4 at 7pm
Seven years into full recovery from a decade-long eating disorder, writer/performer Caroline Rothstein reflects on having the deadliest mental illness while coming of age in the 1990s through monologue, poetry & performance art. ($18)
Written and Performed by Caroline Rothstein, Directed by Alex Mallory, Co-Presented with Poetic Theater Productions

Rebecca Hart
New Songs and Stories
April 5 and 6 at 9:30pm
Actress and musical powerhouse Rebecca Hart has been hailed as "a broadway voice and rock star soul" and "a potent dose of downtown heat". Returning to WCS after her mesmerizing 2004 solo show Jazz Desert, Hart shares new songs and stories from her next untitled project. ($18) Performed by Rebecca Hart

Featuring Heloise and the Savoir Faire
April 7
At Culture Project – 45 Bleecker Street at Lafayette
Time TBD
Join us to celebrate another great year of Women Center Stage and to welcome WCS back to Culture Project’s theaters at 45 Bleecker Street, future site of our 2013 Festival! We’re throwing a wrap party extravaganza with live music, dancing, and more!