Committed to producing works by emerging, progressive and dynamic playwrights, this year’s festival will be led by three mainstage productions; Mt. Rushmore, 14th-17th July, with themes of female grief and the power of reinvention in a one-woman play, The Great Lesbian Love of Eve Adams, July 21-24. July, exploring a queer immigrant’s experiences of discrimination and inequality 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, 29. -31. July.
Throughout the festival, audiences will also enjoy an online library of new digital works by international artists, all presented to empower multidisciplinary artist voices and female perspective.
Kicking off the three-week festival, Mt. Rushmore takes the stage July 14-17 with an autobiographical account of playwright Monica Hunken’s father’s untimely death due to exposure to environmental toxins at his workplace. With her mother grieving and embroiled in a lawsuit against his employer, Hunken takes the audience on a punk rock journey that takes them to the heart of the rebellious Reagan era, where they help the performer in her attempt to protect her mother from it save a life of grief and political conservatism. A wild and strange quest filled with espionage, unexpected friendships and even a chance at redemption. This one woman show is performed by Hunken using musical accompaniment, live original songs, punk, karaoke and classic 80’s hits.
Paige Esterly, a local playwright, producer, teacher and arts advocate, is moving to the space July 21-24 with a five-person cast in The Great Lesbian Love of Eve Adams. A historical and biographical account of Eve Adams, a Jewish immigrant, anarchist and lesbian who does not confirm her gender, the play uncovers the truths of the discrimination she faced in 1920s New York City. As Eve was an influential publisher, speakeasy owner and self-proclaimed “Queen of the Third Gender,” audiences are reminded of the progress made in the 100-year fight for queer equality and the actions that need to be taken , to continue this quest for a more just and equal world.
In the last 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, 29-31. July, by The American Opera Project. Composed by Kirsten Volness, Letters that You Will Not Get: Women’s Voices from the Great War is brought to life through authentic source material that includes letters, poems, journal entries, memoirs, and recalled oral sensibilities from real women who experienced the global impact of the First World War II in collaboration with librettists Kate Holland and Susan Werbe to explore and empower the female experience in a historical context. Featuring a cast of 6 women, the audience is introduced through songs to the perspectives of female American, British, European, Asian, African and Caribbean archetypes who lived and died during World War I – mothers and wives, daughters, girlfriends and more lovers, nurses and factory workers, janitors and civilians. Themes of love, loss, resignation, guilt, horror and humor embody both sides of the conflict and amplify the faint voices of the women whose experiences were integral to the war but were left out of the story’s larger narrative.
“As Irondale works to present theater that addresses the issues of our time, this festival is an opportunity to look at women’s social, political and historical experiences through an authentic lens,” explain Emilio Maxwell Cerci and Renata Soares, Irondales Co – Producers of the festival. “To amplify these voices and provide an artistic platform to use art as activism, education and inspiration for the dream of a more unified future, we applaud these artists for their artistic bravery and look forward to seeing them later this summer to see them shine on stage.”
The main stage line-up was selected by curators Melissa Moschitto, T. Mitsock and Shannon Corenthin. Throughout the festival, each curator will also host an interactive panel discussion on artist exchanges, which is free to attend.
July 11-30, New Media Storytelling Anytime Streamed with Audience Voting and Cash Prizes
July 14-17, Mt Rushmore
July 21-24, Eve Adams’ Lesbian Lovemaking
29-31 July, Letters You Won’t Get: Women’s Voices from World War I
31 July, closing party with a performance of The Opera Cowgirls following the performance
Dates and times of the panel discussions for the Artist Exchange will be announced later.
All performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5:00 p.m
A $75 festival pass includes full access to all three mainstage productions and the New Media Storytelling digital performances. Each performance on the main stage can be viewed separately for $30, $15 for students, seniors and working artists. A ticket for any two Mainstage productions costs $50, and access to the online portal New Media costs $10. Group tickets and financial assistance for those in need are available.