Tuesday, April 16, 2024

On Women theater festival celebrates female perspective

Leading Brooklyn think-tank theater group presents streamed festival of innovative work around the lives of women.

Irondale, Brooklyn’s leading theatrical and artistically ambitious think-tank theater ensemble, and three esteemed curators proudly announce the lineup of the fourth annual On Women Festival, March 4-28, celebrating the lives and experiences of womxn artists. Committed to producing the works of progressive and dynamic playwrights, this year’s festival will be headlined by two mainstage productions; if there is breakage you will find chips, March 11-14, which encompasses themes of connection, supportive partnership, and burning ambition, and the one-woman narrative play,Walking with Bubbles, March 25-28, navigating a seemingly impossible landscape of single parenting and mental health with incredible resilience and grace.

The artists that Irondale has invited for this year’s festival include a Broadway powerhouse and a team of multi-hyphenates exploring the world of memory and a queered relationship to time. Audiences will also enjoy a full month’s programming of digital media and a weekend of  Art Buffet cabaret, all presented to bolster the voices of multidisciplinary artists and the womxn perspective.

A fully produced and recorded Mainstage experience of Makaela Shealy-Sachot’s if there is breakage you will find chips,will stream online for ticketed patrons from Thursday, March 11- Sunday, March 14

“This world premiere follows a narrative of the nuances of a blossoming relationship between new lovers in their chosen memories, highlighting times of great strength and valleys of missed connection,” explains Shealy-Sachot and Abigail Jean-Baptiste, director of chips. “It’s both simultaneously rooted in our reality, grappling with COVID-19 and the continued trauma of existing in cis-hetero-patriarchal white supremacy; and shuffling through the hopeful mosaic of their future together,” they continue. Heavily driven by movement, character work and a deeply dedicated investigation of the layers of love, the work weaves together two lives impacted by hardships, differences, love, and the mutual quest for peace in a cumulative narrative that mimics the tasks of simply surviving a day and emerging as parents.

Later in the month, Thursday, March 25- Sunday, March 28, the Festival will premiere the second Mainstage production, Walking with Bubbles, a full-length one-woman narrative based on the self-penned memoirs of Broadway artist Jessica Hendy.  With a warm intimacy, audiences are invited into Hendy’s seemingly perfect New York City life from center stage on Broadway until her husband begins to suffer an inexplicable mental decline. Grappling with divorce, guilt and empathy around her ex’s homelessness and struggles, she is left with her young son, Beckett, to navigate a seemingly impossible new landscape with few resources other than an irrepressible sense of humor and a mother’s unwavering determination to create a new and hopeful beginning. “While having an opportunity to open up about my life in this way has been a little scary,” admits Hendy, “it’s time to have the hard conversations and let the shame go. Mental health needs to be addressed, and women need to be reminded how powerful they are,” she adds.

Throughout the festival, March 4-26, audiences will also have an opportunity to stream a robust collection of New Media Storytelling submitted by artists from all over the world. Additionally, a weekend of live performances of improv, music, performance and scripted monologue take center stage during the Art Buffet, March 20-21. These two new alternative performance initiatives of the festival celebrate the adventurous ways to tell theatrical stories, using digital media, while championing creativity during a time where artists have been displaced from stages all over the world. 

The mainstage lineup has been selected by curators Sharifa Yasmin, a trans Egyptian-American director, playwright and 2020 Eugene O’Neill national directing fellow; interdisciplinary performer, artist-educator, and theater-maker, Maya Carter; and Professor of Drama and Dance at Hofstra University, Cindy Rosenthal out of a large pool of applicants committed to continuing their artistic pursuits despite continued COVID closures. Throughout the Festival, each curator will also host an interactive Artist Exchange panel discussion, free to attend.


March 4-26, New Media Storytelling, streamed anytime from March 4th until March 26th.

March 11-14, 7:30 p.m., if there is breakage you will find chips

March 20-21, Art Buffet, 7:30 p.m.

March 25-28, 7:30 p.m., Walking with Bubbles

Dates and times of the Artist Exchange panel discussions to be announced.


A Festival Pass, $40, includes full access to both Mainstage productions, the New Media Storytelling and the Art Buffet performances. Both Mainstage performances can be viewed for $25, or individually for $15. New Media can be streamed throughout the festival for a flat fee of $10, and the Art Buffet, $5.

Group tickets and financial assistance for those in need are available.

All tickets are available at https://irondale.org/on-women-festival/

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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