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The Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival fosters and encourages women in the performing arts by offering unique opportunities for exposure, professional, artistic and personal development and a platform for performance. Since 2015, PWTF has been bringing new and thought provoking works to the Philadelphia stage, highlighting the voices and stories of local women playwrights, and providing opportunities for actors, designers, technicians, and administrators. This was all possible because of the vision and passion of two women who saw a need and created a space to uplift marginalized voices. We are so grateful for the leadership of Polly Rose Edelstein and Christine Petrini over the last NINE YEARS. They have touched the lives of so many artists and audiences across the Philadelphia region and beyond. As they now shift their roles in the organization away from the staff and onto the board, we want to celebrate and honor them with this Founders' Fund campaign! This fundraiser will help usher in the next generation of PWTF leadership and set us up for success! Please help us reach our goal of raising $9,000 by July to continue the incredible work started by Polly and Christine. Your gift today is an investment in the future of the landscape of local theater. Every dollar makes a difference as we head into our 9th Annual Festival, "FOLKSLORE: Breaking the Binary," presented August 3rd-6th at the Arden Hamilton Family Arts Center in Old City. Show the love for Polly, Christine, and all the women theater makers and doers in Philadelphia!
A note from the founders:
Once upon a time, Christine and Polly met in grad school. We worked together, studied together and completed our masters thesis together in 2014 (Polly directed Sarah Ruhl’s EURYDICE and Christine's wrote and performed an original solo musical, I CAN DRESS MYSELF, which Polly still hums along to).
Inspired by a 2013 dramaturgy class where Polly’s manifesto included banging on a lectern with a shoe demanding parity for women in the arts (it was a good class), Polly told Christine she would reach out when struck by an idea to support women’s voices in theatre. Sure enough, we met up after graduate school, and Polly said "how about a festival?”. Christine replied, "how ABOUT a festival!". After receiving the support and guidance of friends, colleagues, mentors and theatre professionals throughout the Philly region, the festival was born in August 2015! While there have been a million stories since then, in some ways the rest is history.
As the Founding Artistic Director there was one thing Polly knew - she didn't want to be a 30+ year Artistic Director, especially of a company like PWTF which thrives with new voices and vision. And Christine, who is forever grateful that Polly called her to collaborate back in 2014, always felt certain she would know when the time had come to pass leadership to a new team of visionaries prepared to usher the mission (that we so fervently believe in) forward with fresh energy, perspective and inspiration. And, while it’s difficult to let your baby spread its wings, it’s extraordinarily exciting!
And so - we're honored to pass the torch and announce Glynnis Nadelbaum and Autumn Storm Blalock as the new Artistic Director and Managing Director of Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival. Not only are we confident that they have the vision and drive to uphold the mission of PWTF, we believe that their leadership and expertise will take PWTF to the next level as it continues to grow and serve artists across the Greater Philadelphia area.
We could not be more proud of the company we built. And we certainly could not be more excited to see it continue to grow under new, innovative leadership with Glynnis and Autumn.
-Polly and Christine
PS, from Polly: It wasn’t easy, taking an idea from the classroom to an organization that’s touched hundreds of artists and thousands of Philadelphians. But to anyone out there who’s looking to take a big leap and make something happen, or even to just make it through the day some days - I’d love to quote my co-founder Christine, from her original musical I CAN DRESS MYSELF:
IN PUTTING FEARS ASIDE
FINDING THE COURAGE
TO FACE TOMORROW
We got this. You got this.
PWTF is a trans-inclusive organization. We also welcome allies of all genders who are committed to creating environments that are supportive of centering the experience of women.Through staffing, casting, and programming that reflects the diverse makeup of our community and our world, we are dedicated to creating accessible theatre for the Greater Philadelphia Region and it's theatre artists. Our story is to #ChangeTheStory.