How does On Her Shoulders work?
Every month we host a reading of a play written by a classic female playwright. We recruit the artistic team: actors, director, and dramaturg, secure the space (The New School through December 2013) and market the event. We also find a specialist on the woman playwright being presented and recruit them to come speak to the audience right before the reading.
Why On Her Shoulders now?
Women have been writing plays and contributing to the Western Theatrical Canon for 1,000 years. How many of the plays or playwrights can you name?
Total plays by women produced in commercial and regional theatres in the U.S. have remained below 20% for most of the 20th Century and now into the 21st. Yet many of these plays have been the most successful of their time, earning greater awards and box office income than their male counterparts. At the first reading of this series, Rachel Crothers' A Man's World, ON HER SHOULDERS surveyed the audience about their knowledge of the play and/or the playwright. The numbers were shocking: only 40% had ever heard of Rachel Crothers; just 21% had read any of her plays, and only 7% had seen a production of one of them.
The goal of ON HER SHOULDERS is to remedy this situation. By presenting staged readings of plays from across the spectrum of time and place, with contemporary dramaturges
adapting them for modern audiences, we are making it impossible to deny or ignore the great tradition and value of women's contribution to the theatrical canon. Through our reading series we intend to motivate producers and directors to champion and produce these brilliant plays in New York and regionally, and to incite audiences to demand to see them. In making history visible, we also shine the light on today's women playwrights and see their work as part of a continuum a thousand years long. They stand on the shoulders of giants--and in restoring our foremothers to their rightful place, we elevate all women playwrights to their rightful place.
Who is behind On Her Shoulders?
Co-Producers of Production: Melody Brooks & Andrea Lepcio
Melody Brooks was an actor for more than 30 years, and has been producing and directing in NYC since 1983. In 1991, Ms. Brooks formed the New Perspectives Theatre Company, and serves as the company's Artistic Director and CEO. Its mission and goals are a result of her long experience working in the Off- and Off-Off Broadway arenas. Ms. Brooks was a program officer with the Academy for Educational Development for eight years, previously worked at Bank Street College of Education, and was Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theatre at Long Island University/Brooklyn for ten years. She also co-founded “50/50 in 2020,” a grassroots organization committed to achieving parity for women in theatre
Andrea Lepcio's Looking for the Pony was a finalist for the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award and for the NEA Outstanding New American Play Award. It was presented in a "Rolling World Premiere" Off-Broadway at Vital Theatre Company in New York and Synchronicity Performance Group in Atlanta and subsequent productions. Plays and musicals under development include Tunnel Vision, Me You Us Them, Dinner at Home between Deaths, Strait of Gibraltar, Central Avenue Breakdown, Room 16, Lf&Tms and Ballad of Rom and Julz. Andrea is the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program Director. M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing, Carnegie Mellon University. B.A. Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic. Andrea lives in Harlem, New York and Seal Cove, Maine.
Co- Producer of Marketing & Social Media: Lillian Rodriguez
Lillian Rodriguez is a NY actor and writer. Lillian currently writes for The Annex Press and freelances as an actor with numerous theatre companies, standardized patient programs, and in film. She also works as a freelance social media & website design liaison most recently assisting with Cherry Lane Theatre's blogging campaign for their Mentor Project Program & JJBrown Author's numerous websites. She graduated with honors from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Theatre, winning the Outstanding Achievement in Studio Award from The Lee Strasberg Institute for her year.
The Play in Context, the dramaturgical and scholarly presentation component to the program, is sponsored in part by the League of Professional Theatre Women, a not-for-profit organization promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in theatre since 1982.
50/50 in 2020
Works By Women Blog
Works By Women Meet Up Group
Works by Women San Francisco
League of Professional Theatre Women
Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative
International Centre of Women Playwrights
Women in Theatre
ON HER SHOULDERS is also aligned with the goals and projects of
50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists. This grassroots initiative was launched in August 2009 to work toward 50% representation for women playwrights and directors by the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage in the U.S.