Thursday, June 16, 2011

Welcome to the Launch of Our New Blog: Festival 2011, Upcoming "Taking Pride" Events, and Volunteer Opportunities!

“Had William Shakespeare experienced the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival, the Bard might have amended that line in Hamlet to be: ‘Creativity, thy name is woman.’ ” ----Ed Rampell, Hollywood Progressive
On the evening of March 24th of this year, 2011, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival celebrated its 18th year as the oldest annual solo festival for women in Los Angeles with a Champagne GALA and Awards Ceremony at the Electric Lodge in Venice, California.  Awards were accepted by four exceptional women: Suzanna Guzman (Maverick Award), Velina Hasu Houston (Rainbow Award), Charmaine Jefferson (Integrity Award) and Joan Benedict Steiger (Eternity Award) for their outstanding contributions in theatre, along with touching performances by that evening’s hosts, honorary Co-Chairs, Florence LaRue (The 5th Dimension) and Hattie Winston (Becker).  The Festival continued through Sunday, March 27th playing to sold out crowds both at the Electric Lodge and the Ivy Substation in Culver City, home of The Actors Gang.

Karen A. Clark (Determined) | Photo Credit: R. Sky Palkowitz
Co-founder and Executive Producer of the Los Angeles Women’s Festival (LAWTF), Adilah Barnes, was happy and proud to announce that “this year’s Festival was in many ways our most successful year to date. I said that last year but we surpassed that milestone this year! We packed six out of seven of our programs which is no small feat in this economy. Many of the audience members returned to more than one program to enjoy a new set of talented artists on stage sharing their extraordinary journey.”
Performers this year represented a wide range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds telling moving, funny and sometimes shocking stories of courage, identity, survival and empowerment.  Solo performer and New Yorker, Monica Hunken, arrived on a bicycle to share her story of how a random catering job at a royal wedding party turned into an opportunity to explore the Arab world in Blondie of Arabia.  British-based actor Gael LeCornec brought audiences to their feet with her portrayal of the turbulent life of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in Frida Kahlo: Viva La Vida!
Monica Hunken (Blondie of Arabia) | Photo Credit: R. Sky Palkowitz
 Producer and comedian Lydia Nicole told a sober and funny story of a young woman’s life growing up in Spanish Harlem as the daughter of a prostitute and a pimp in Growing up Papi. “I loved how the evening was buzzing with excitement and how the audience was so committed to us.  The audience really fueled my work – they were a part of my performance.”

What began in 1993 as a passionate group of women solo artists with the mission of supporting each other has resulted in producing over 400 diverse solo artists of excellence from around the globe at the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival that takes place every year in March.  In keeping with our mission of utilizing theatre to educate, enlighten and empower, LAWTF has expanded outreach programming throughout the year to touch the lives of over 3000 youth in schools, involving senior citizens throughout Los Angeles county in our Wisdom Wednesdays writing workshops, bestowing over 50 theatre awards to women artists and crossing mediums to reach television audiences globally through our cable show.

Thanks to a generous grant made possible by the City of West Hollywood, LAWTF is pleased to join with the City of West Hollywood on Friday, June 24th from 2pm-4pm at Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, for “Identity as an Act of Courage” a writing workshop facilitated by writer/performer Terrie Silverman. “Whether you’re native or a transplant, this workshop will explore home and how it has changed or impacted your identity.” 

The festivities continue on Saturday, June 25th for Taking Pride! At Kings Road Park; 1000 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood from 4pm-6pm for performances by LAWTF artists: Laura James, Ingrid Graham, Teresa Willis, and Lindsay Halladay AKA “The Lindz”.  Taking Pride! will be hosted by LAWTF Board of Directors member and avant-garde multimedia performance artist, R. Sky Palkowitz. For more information on these events and LAWTF, please go to our webpage at

Both of the above upcoming events are FREE to the public and all are welcome!

As we continue on this magical and rewarding journey, we look forward to hearing from each of you. We welcome knowing what resonates for you in our upcoming posts at as we share upcoming events with you and introduce you to the artists, staff, interns and volunteers that comprise the LAWTF family. If you would like to join our family, please click here to volunteer.

Welcome to the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival!