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“Hot Mess” Gives Voice to Women Playwrights
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08 July 2017  
Michele McFadden "Evolution Fast Track" starting Julie Chavez Harrington, Karen Murphy and Ali Cassidy on Thursday July 6th in Prescott, Arizona. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham

Twelve Plays Showcased at Sixth Annual Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival

PRESCOTT- Throughout her time as a playwright, Tiffany Antone noticed there wasn’t many plays produced that were written by women. Working with Prescott Center for the Arts a few years ago, Antone decided to change this and create a female playwrights festival in Prescott.
 
“There has been a lot of discussion about the lack of female playwrights getting produced across the country,” Antone said. “I thought well, let’s see what I can do in Prescott.”
 
In 2011, Little Black Dress Ink's Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival hit the stage and featured women’s playwrights work from Prescott and Los Angeles. Over the next six years, the festival would grow as playwrights submitted work from not only the United States but globally with individuals from Japan, Australia and Canada participating.
 
“It was a lot easier to become a finalist in those early years,” joked playwright Michele McFadden, who has been with the festival since the beginning and wrote “Evolution Fast Track”, her third show to be produced at the festival. “Now with two-hundred women submitting all over the country, you feel especially proud. You feel really, really honored to have a play in this.”
 
Out of two-hundred plays submitted, thirty-four semi-finalists were chosen to be presented as stage readings across the United States in places like Minnesota, California and Louisiana just to name a few.
 
Following the readings, twelve were selected to be fully produced in Prescott as women playwrights watched the story they created come to life on stage.
 
“It means the world to be able to collaborate with other people to bring your own ideas to fruition,” said playwright and Los Angeles native Katherine James, who has been writing plays for sixty-years and had her fourth show produced at the festival with “Zero-Six-Two-Eight”.
 
Now with the festival reaching women playwrights throughout the country and world, Antone looks to continue growing the event and have the winning shows produced in different cities as well as Prescott.
 
“Every year I try to get more theaters involved,” said Antone, who mentioned winning plays were produced in Louisiana in 2017 through a partnership. “Whether they commit to do more readings, or to produce the plays, the goal is just to keep going so that these playwrights get seen and heard in more places.” 
 
“That’s really how you get to grow your repertoire as a playwright and grow your resume,” Antone added.
 
As more women submit productions, the playwrights welcome the opportunity to give women playwrights a voice throughout the world.
 
“I’d love to see it just blow up and be everywhere so that every woman who writes would feel like she has a place on stage here,” James said. 
 
The 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival named “Hot Mess” features twelve plays ranging from comedy to drama and lasts two hours. Individuals can see the show at the First Congregational Church on 216 E. Gurley Street in Prescott at 7:30pm on Thursday July 6th and Friday July 7th with two shows taking place on Saturday July 8th at 2pm and 7:30pm. Tickets cost $15 online or at the door and free refreshments are provided. 

Torrence Dunham

Torrence Dunham is a multimedia journalist who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  Torrence is our PrescottValleyeNews.com Correspondent covering local news and events in Prescott Valley. He is also the lead sports correspondent and play-by-play pro for all our multimedia news sites. If he's not adding to his extensive sports bobble-head collection, he's talking baseball, his favorite. Follow him on Twitter: @Tadunham.