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Women Take The Spotlight At ON WOMEN Theater Festival, July 11-31

Fifth annual theater festival to offer artists and audiences in-person and pre-recorded streaming experiences this July.

Committed to producing the works of emerging, progressive, and dynamic playwrights, this year's festival will be headlined by three mainstage productions; Mt. Rushmore, July 14-17, encompassing themes of female grief and the power of reinvention in a one-woman play, The Great Lesbian Love of Eve Adams, July 21-24, navigating the experiences of discrimination and inequality of a queer immigrant and disruptor, and the world premiere of an opera created and performed by an all women team, Letters That You Will Not Get: Women's Voices from the Great War, July 29-31.

Throughout the festival, audiences will also enjoy an online library of new digital works submitted from International Artists, all presented to bolster the voices of multi-disciplinary artists and the female perspective.

Kicking off the 3-week festival, Mt. Rushmore takes the stage, July 14-17 with an autobiographical account of the untimely death of playwright Monica Hunken's father due to environmental toxins in his workplace. With her mother in the throes of grief and embroiled in a trial against his employer, Hunken takes audiences on a punk rock voyage that lands them in the center of the rebellious Reagan era, where they help the performer on her quest to save her mother from a lifetime of grief and political Conservatism. A wild and queer quest packed to the brim with espionage, unexpected friendships, and even a chance for redemption, this one-woman show is performed by Hunken with the help of musical accompaniment, live original songs, punk, karaoke and classic 80's hits.

Paige Esterly, a local playwright, producer, teacher, and arts advocate moves into the space, July 21-24 with a cast of five in The Great Lesbian Love of Eve Adams, directed by Jenny Lester. A historical and biographical account of Eve Adams, a Jewish immigrant, anarchist and gender non-confirming lesbian, the piece uncovers the truths of discrimination she faced in New York City in the 1920's. As Eve was an influential publisher, speakeasy proprietor, and self-proclaimed "Queen of the Third Sex," audiences are reminded of the strides made in the 100-year fight for queer equality, and the actions that need to be taken to continue to strive for a more just and equal world.

During the final week of the season, the festival will welcome its first opera production, Letters That You Will Not Get: Women's Voices from the Great War, July 29-31, by The American Opera Project. Brought to life through authentic source material that includes letters, poetry, journal entries, memoires and recalled oral sentiments by real women who experienced the global impacts of WW1, Letters that You Will Not Get: Women's Voices from the Great War is composed by Kirsten Volness in collaboration with librettists Kate Holland and Susan Werbe to explore and empower the female experience in a historical context. With a cast of 6 women, audiences are introduced through song, to the perspectives of female American, British, European, Asian, African, and Caribbean archetypes who lived, and died, during The Great War-mothers and wives, daughters, friends and lovers, nurses and factory workers, caretakers, and civilians. Themes of love, loss, resignation, guilt, horror, and humor personify both sides of the conflict, while amplifying the quiet voices of the women whose experiences were an integral part the war but left out of history's larger narrative.

"As Irondale works to present theater that speaks to the issues of our times, this festival is an opportunity to look at the social, political and historical experiences of women through an authentic lens," explains Emilio Maxwell Cerci and Renata Soares, Irondale's co-producers of the festival. "To amplify these voices and provide an artistic platform to use art as activism, education and the inspiration to dream of a more unified tomorrow, we applaud these artists for their artistic courage and look forward to seeing them shine on stage later this summer."

The mainstage line up has been selected by curators Melissa Moschitto, T Mitsock and Shannon Corenthin.Throughout the Festival, each curator will also host an interactive Artist Exchange panel discussion, free to attend.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

July 11-30, New Media Storytelling, streamed anytime with audience voting and cash awards

July 14-17, Mt. Rushmore

July 21-24, The Great Lesbian Love of Eve Adams

July 29-31, Letters That You Will Not Get: Women's Voices from the Great War

July 31, closing party featuring a performance by The Opera Cowgirls following the performance

Dates and times of the Artist Exchange panel discussions to be announced.

All performances will be held at 7:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, and Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

A Festival Pass, $75, includes full access to all three Mainstage productions and the digital New Media Storytelling performances. Each Mainstage performance can be viewed separately for $30, $15 for students, seniors and working artists. A ticket to any two Mainstage productions is $50, and access to the New Media online portal is $10. Group tickets and financial assistance for those in need are available.



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