2018 Festival

2018 Festival

Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival Celebrates Motherhood.

August 2nd – 5th, 2018

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs for anyone and even harder for women in theatre. By dedicating our 2018 festival to motherhood in the arts and partnering with the Parent Arts Advocacy League, PWTF hopes to not only shine a light on the amazingly talented and hardworking mother artists in our field, but to create a world where motherhood is accepted, celebrated, and supported in the arts.

The King Who Wanted to Clean the Moon

by Ashley Kerns

Based on Ashley’s own third grade writing assignment, The King Who Wanted to Clean the Moon is an interactive musical play for family audiences exploring climate change and gender roles. In this story, the King loves to read each night by moonlight; she reads stacks and stacks of books. One evening, she discovers that she can’t read because the moon is dirty. The King creates several different plans to clean the moon only to realize she can’t reach it. In the end, she boards a rocket ship never to return to earth to accomplish her task of finally cleaning the moon.

Motherhood Reading Series

Water in My Hands

by Emma Gibson

Directed by Lesley Berkowitz

Sorrel is busy preparing for her wedding even though her fiancé has just died, and Maria’s eyebrows are still not growing back. Gerry wants to know if the weather will improve so that he can lie on his back in the grass, and Eric’s wife has someone else’s heart beating inside her. Through a series of interweaving accounts, WATER IN MY HANDS, lays bare the power of grief, and asks, ‘how do we move on when we are haunted by the life that we have not yet lived?

Emma Gibson is a British theatre-maker and Mother, now living in Philadelphia. She has a BA in Performing Arts from Middlesex University, and a Masters Degree in Creative and Critical Writing from The University of Southampton. In the UK she worked as an actress in London, Edinburgh, on tour and regionally around the UK in both new writing and classical theatre, for BBC radio drama, and film. She also worked as a freelance journalist for The Guardian Newspaper. In Philadelphia she has worked with many local companies, most recently producing and performing in the Barrymore recommended production of Perfect Blue. As the founding producing artistic director of Tiny Dynamite she has produced over 20 productions ranging from Scottish one acts, to full length plays that integrate complex technology in performance. She has directed multiple classical theatre productions at The Shipley School, and is the proud Mother of Oscar and Willow.

Lesley Berkowitz is a local performer and fledgling director. She has directed pieces with Revamp Collective and Reject Theatre Project. Past works as an actor include: Helen 5 in The Helen project (Revamp Collective), Chick in Crimes of the Heart (Curio Theatre Company), Nathaniel in Love’s Labours Lost (Revolution Shakespeare), Hattie in The Last Plot in Revenge</ (Brat Productions), Lavinia in Titus Andronicus (Philly Shakes). She has also performed with Tangle Movement Arts as an aerialist for TIny Circus, Go West and Firefly Night. When not in a theatre Lesley can be found at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts where she is a coach, special events coordinator and dilettante trapeze artist. Love to John for all the Chuckles.

Brown-Eyed Rapunzel

by Monica Flory

Directed by Tamanya Garza

A white mom and her mixed-race daughter must find their way from the future back to the present by understanding anew a painful incident and learning to tell the unique story of their relationship.

Monica Flory is a collaboration-loving playwright, director and teacher. Her work has appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe, New York Fringe, Youth Theatre Northwest, Brooklyn Lyceum, Poly Prep CDS, and Acting Manitou. Her plays are published by Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, and Brooklyn Publishers and she is frequently commissioned to write new takes on classic stories. Monica is the Education Director at Philly PACK, where she writes and teaches. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughters. More at monicaflory.com.


Tamanya M.M. Garza is a freelance director and producer who has had the pleasure of working with: The Wilma Theater, UPenn’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Plays & Players, No Passport and many others. Tamanya was formerly the President of the Board of Directors for Azuka Theatre and helped the company usher in the Pay What You Decide model to provide access to theater for all. Recently, Tamanya directed Power Street Theatre’s Las Mujeres by local playwright Erlina Ortiz. The production continues to spark vital conversations about the current tectonic shift in storytelling that is focused on empowering Latinx communities, and other communities who have been systematically marginalized, to share their own stories.

Zen and the Art of Mourning a Mother

by Emma Goldman-Sherman

Three generations, mothers & daughters, in three different moments in time, try to avoid their feelings of loss and grief while traveling from Philadelphia to New York City by train from 30th Street; In 1993, Sarah upends how Denita sees her mother, Lois, while we only see Lois with Angie in 1963, as 18 year olds ready to start their lives. Angie, in 1963, meets Isabelle, a runaway in 2003, across the time/space continuum, and this changes everything. A dramedy about mother issues. Bring tissues.

Emma Goldman-Sherman creates timeless yet relevant, feminist work that engages on multiple levels to heal what our culture denies. Her work is part of The Every 28 Hours Plays, a response to Ferguson seen nationwide. She semi-final’d 3 times for Risk Is This at Cutting Ball with why birds fly, Abraham’s Daughters, and Whorticulture also shortlisted at The Unicorn (Kansas City) and Owl & Cat (Melbourne). Jane Chambers Award for Perfect Women. Other work in NYC at WP Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Source, New Georges, Dixon Place, All Outs Arts, Culture Project, New Ohio, West Bank, New Circle and others; regionally at Capital Fringe, EST-LA, Golden Thread and others; internationally in London, Zagreb and currently shortlisted for the Queensland Short & Sweet. MFA: University of Iowa. Member: LPTW, The Dramatists Guild. Her newest play FUKT is on the NPX. More: 9thStreetPlaywrightsCollective.org where she is the Resident Dramaturg.

Refrigerator Mother

by Alessandra Most

Directed by Jill Harrison

REFRIGERATOR MOTHER is, at its core, a play about the strength of a mother’s intuition and its ability to withstand the fiercest external influences. Set in the 1950s, it tells the story of a woman whose daughter is suspected of having autism, at a time when the diagnosis implied more about the mother than the child.

Alessandra Most is a playwright, producer, arts marketer, mother, wife, and so much more. Her plays include Refrigerator Mother, Private Policy: A Circus in Two Acts, Sevens: A Play in Eight Scenes, The Incomplete Ones, One Thousand Days, Fit To Print, Notes In the Sand, and The Canoe Play. Alessandra was on the casting team for Chicago:The Musical (Broadway, UK, and Tour Productions), La Cage Aux Folles (Longacre Theatre) and numerous productions at Playwrights Horizons, The Huntington Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and The Women’s Project. Alessandra has also been a leader in marketing for performing arts organizations, having blossomed the LC Kids program at Lincoln Center, and is now the Assistant Director of Marketing at McCarter Theater Center. She holds a bachelors degree in Dramatic Literature from Barnard College and an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University School of the Arts. She’s proudest of being a mother to Zoe and Charles and wife to Evan. For so many reasons, this would all have been impossible without Evan.

Jill Harrison is a theatre director, producer, and founder + executive director of Directors Gathering (DG), a start-up non-profit that develops and elevates Philadelphia theatre directors through master classes, director-centric performance platforms, and (DG) Fellows, a season-long residency for early-career directors. An advocate for new work, Jill has collaborated with playwrights & directors on over 25 world & regional premieres at such companies as Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, Williamstown Theatre Festival, MET/ENO, and Philadelphia Theatre Company. Select directing credits include: Alessandra Most’s Private Policy, a circus in two acts (Columbia Stages), the Philadelphia premieres of Samuel D. Hunter’s A Bright New Boise and Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Simpatico Theatre), David Strattan White’s The Foundling Wheel (FringeArts), Jason Gray Platt’s Frontier (UArts), Charles L. Mee’s Big Love & Stefanie Zadravec’s Honey Brown Eyes, an excerpt (Temple Theaters), Craig Lucas’ Reckless (Theatre Outlet), and Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play (Villanova Theatre). Jill serves as a mentor for The Foundry@PlayPenn, an emerging writers’ collective, and has directed and guest taught new work at University of the Arts, Swarthmore College, Arcadia University, and Villanova University. Jill holds a MFA in Directing from Temple University and a BA in Theatre from Lehigh University. She is a member of Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Lab and an associate member of SDC.

Festival Venue

Music Theatre Philly
262 S. 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
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