The Culture Project present the festival, which features works of theatre, film, comedy, music that spotlight established and emerging female artists. The three-week event — which runs June 25-July 17 — will play Culture Project's new SoHo home as well as The Knitting Factory and P.S. 122.
The fest opens June 25 with "Why Women Center Stage?" described as "A conversation between and about women making serious change in the world, on a variety of platforms."
The theatre events lined up for the festival follow: (at Culture Project unless noted)
"Can youth, hope and faith survive in a world of greed and corruption?" poses this "reinvention of Brecht's savage masterpiece" by creator-director Lear deBessonet featuring original music by country/blues singer Kelley McRae.
Part of the "Conversations" events, Olivia Wilde leads "a reading of Zak Berkman's new work, which will serve as a catalyst for a conversation about beauty, young women and navigating a world where power and beauty are increasingly blurry and loaded."
The Haitian-American solo artist mixes "womanist Vodou jazz, queer theory, hip-hop, and movement" in this "interactive evening of patchwork poetic storytelling delivered — slam style — from the gut" on topics of "childhood, masculinities, sexualities, AIDS, cultural hybridity, and reclaiming f-words."
The WCS mainstay — of Def Poetry Jam on Broadway and her own Border Clash — "brings brand new material to the festival" as she works on her new book.
A four-woman play inspired by Victor Malarek's book "The Natashas" that "explores and exposes the economic and cultural influences behind [human trafficking], a billion dollar industry and the psychological pain and afterlife of some of its victims."
"A wild and edgy theatre piece of songs, scenes and monologues portraying the absurdity of our world and the scandalous and outrageously stupid behavior of the people who inhabit it."
"A new collection of writings edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle [that] includes work by writers, thinkers and activists from Alice Walker to Sharon Olds, Maya Angelou to Dave Eggers, and the voices of those less frequently heard." Presented by Ensler's V Day and WCS, the evening celebrates the book's release with readings by included authors and other special guests.
Artist, educator, and filmmaker Lisa Regina leads "a collection of monologues, songs, and poetry emerging from and inspired by the true writings of survivors of domestic abuse."
Marisa Tomei and David Strathairn are featured in a "new script workshop production" of Carol Gilligan's adaptation of the classic Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, directed by Leigh Silverman.
A "unique collection of song, dance, music and spoken word" featuring "highlights from the critically acclaimed We Got Issues! performance piece, fresh off their national tour." Performers include Rha Goddess, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai and Queen Godis. Women Center Stage began in 1996 to "address the starkly consistent under representation of women artists." Culture Project artistic director Allan Buchman stated, "I felt it was important to create a destination to celebrate women artists, to acknowledge the crucial impact of this work, and to offer space to continue to generate it."
Works that have previously played at the Women Center Stage have gone on to commercial runs, including Staceyann Chin's Border Clash, Geraldine Hughes' Belfast Blues, Yeardley Smith's The Good Life (later titled More) and Heather Raffo's Nine Parts of Desire.
For tickets and a complete schedule for all WCS events, at Culture Project's new SoHo home (at 55 Mercer Street) and other venues, call (212) 925-1900 or visit cultureproject.org.