National Women’s Theatre Festival Opens This Week

The 7th annual National Women’s Theatre Festival is coming to Raleigh from July 28-31 with four full days of performances, workshops, and all things celebrating gender parity in theatre!

Performers, presenters, and all kinds of theatre artists from around the country will be sharing their work at Festival 22. Pioneering interdisciplinary performance artist and professor Karen Finley will be participating in our Keynote Conversation, “Catalysts For Change”; leading a special workshop entitled Generative Creative Practice: The Body Phoenix; and debuting a brand new experimental work-in-process, VENUS ENVY.

Joining Ms. Finley for the Keynote Conversation will be playwright-producing artist-activist Yvette Heyliger and playwright-performer-activist and long-time WTF collaborator, Christine Toy Johnson. Ms. Heyliger is an executive committee member for Honor Roll!, an advocacy and action group for women+ playwrights over 40. Ms. Toy Johnson was recently honored with a Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre alongside her colleagues at Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC). Finley, Heyliger, and Toy Johnson will join the National Women’s Theatre Festival’s Executive Artistic Director, Johannah Maynard Edwards, for an intimate conversation on combining one’s artistry and activism to create lasting, meaningful change.


Three talented artists will also be bringing their solo performances to Festival 22. Kathryn Seabron, a Lead Instigator at our sister company, the Bay Area Women’s Theatre Festival, will be performing her show Angry Black Woman 101, which takes a deep dive into the microaggressions, tropes, and misogynoir Black women deal with in the workplace and society at large.

Based in Seattle, Alyssa Franks will be bringing her show Let Them Live, a story about an underground abortion provider in the 1960s, as well as an experimental piece entitled How Much designed for one audience member or “Player” to experience at a time. Finally, we’ll be welcoming New York-based Kathryn Markey to perform her new work The True Story of Judith, one woman’s exploration of life, grief, and what happens when you have to kill a man.

Local talent ShaLeigh Dance Works also brings their newest work (and the season opener from this year’s American Dance Festival), enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight to Festival 22. “This imaginative and immersive performance literally presents the audience with a new sensorial way to experience dance and theatre,” says Beltline to Broadway’s Kim Jackson. Another local group, Artist Soapbox, lead by Tamara Kissane, will be offering a two-part training session on writing and producing audio fiction collaboratively.

In addition to the exciting partnership with Honor Roll!, National WTF is proud to be partnering on programming with NCTC, Seed Art Share, PAAL, NC State University Theatre, Directors Gathering, and the Kennedy Center LEAD Conference.

To learn more about Who’s Who at Festival 22 and get a deeper look at all of the programming, check out, the official platform of Festival 22.

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