The Future Is Female Festival was created by playwright Mya Kagan in response to the results of the 2016 presidential election.
Among the many crushing things about the election results, Mya was struck by the phrase “The Future Is Female,” which recently reemerged and for obvious reasons had taken on significance during the election, with many women recontextualizing it and bringing to it their own modern interpretation. To Mya, it was a way of saying the future would contain better opportunities for women, and in the wake of the election’s outcome, the sentiment of this phrase—that the future would hold greater, brighter, more equal opportunities for women of all backgrounds—felt to Mya like one of the things we had truly lost.
Not willing to accept that loss, Mya felt ready more than ever to envision a future that is female, and wanted to see and hear how other women envision it too, and to amplify those messages. So she embarked upon creating TFIF Fest, in which individuals and theatre companies across the US are invited to host productions or readings this March (2017) of ten-minute plays written by women of all backgrounds on the subject of “The Future Is Female.” What better way to ensure that the future is female than to ask women writers to create it? And in an industry dominated by men, what better way to help them achieve it than by giving them this experience, which will hopefully lead to new connections, new visibility, new audience members eager to see their work again?
Inspired by the amplify concept famously used by the women in the Obama administration to support and further each other, the whole undertaking is part of an umbrella effort spearheaded by Mya, so that numerous theatres and theatre companies across the country can simultaneously participate in one unified endeavor about the future of women. By all participating as individual groups within a joint venture, our voices are magnified. This technique was chosen to address the feeling of “screaming into an echo chamber” often otherwise encountered with low-budget theatre that is only seen and heard by fellow artists in a deeply blue liberal city. By joining together in this project, there will be a larger impact. Strength in numbers—or, you might say, Stronger Together. Individually we may still end up echoing, but with enough participants reverberating the sound, the volume will be heard.
Mya launched TFIF Fest as a new branch of her blog project Submitting Like A Man, which challenges gender bias in the entertainment industry. While SLAM will continue onwards itself, too, Mya chose to create TFIF Fest to further the voice and visibility of women from all backgrounds in a new way. With the changed circumstances in the world around us, Mya felt it was time to have a branch of the project that was more actionable; something that doesn’t just “evaluate” women’s role in theatre, but which actually champions it, advancing our perception of women theatre artists and of women themselves.
So this March, please join in giving visibility and voice to women from all backgrounds, so that instead of celebrating women’s history, we can celebrate women’s futures.
Mya Kagan is a writer based in New York (ahem, Brooklyn) whose work is known for being a spiky blend of smart, lively, deliciously absurd, and wildly entertaining.
Mya is the creator and writer of Submitting Like A Man, a viral blog challenging gender bias in the entertainment industry, in which Mya resubmits all of her previously-rejected work, this time under a man’s name. SLAM has been read about 14,000 times in 51 countries.
Mya has had shows produced all over NYC and beyond. Favorites include Play Chunks! in Ars Nova’s ANT Fest and Puppet Love at the American Globe (Festival Finalist & Honorable Mention for Best Show), as well as readings and workshops with New Dramatists, FRESH PRODUCE’d, Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, Dixon Place, Bechdel Group, and more. In 2012, Mya participated in the 10×10 Professional Development Series, where she was selected for development by Big Beach Films (the producers of Little Miss Sunshine). In 2014, she spent a day in the window at Drama Book Shop in New York City as part of Write Out Front, an installation of working writers. Mya is also the founder and team captain of Dim-prov, an improv team that performs in the dark, like a radio play made up on the fly. She works as a freelancer, and has been hired to write everything from webisodes to online dating profiles (really).
Lauren is an actor based out of Brooklyn. She has worked professionally in and out of New York for 10+ years. Regionally she performed as Eurydice in the anniversary production of Metamorphoses at the Lookingglass and Arena Stage, in the premier of The House in Hydesville, telling the tale of the Fox sisters who claimed to be the first spiritual mediums (and perhaps feminists themselves), heroine Gerda in The Snow Queen, the courageous Anne in The Diary of Anne Frank, and many other juicy roles.
Favorite New York credits include My Sweet Charlie at the Abingdon, playing the saucy Mary Boleyn in The Kings Whore at Walkerspace and Snoopy himself in the ever popular Charlie Brown Christmas Live.
Additionally Lauren is incredibly organized and business savvy. She is the Business Operations Manager at Apartment Therapy Media where she makes things happen on a daily basis.
MFA Acting FSU/Asolo Theatre Conservatory, BA Theater Penn State University. www.laurenorkus.com
Sarah Cosgrove is a feminist theatre artist who is dedicated to the creation of new works. Her play, Cafe Bernard, will have its first staged reading at CenterPieces Reading Series on The Waldron Stage at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Virginia in April 2017. She had the first reading of a play she is currently writing, Jack’s Place, at The Tinker in Roanoke this past November. As an actor, Sarah Cosgrove has worked with the Playwright’s Forum and 1MPF in DC, as well as, the Organic Theatre, Bailiwick Theatre, Inn Town Theatre Company, Chameleon Theatre, and The Artistic Home in Chicago. Sarah was nominated for a non-equity Joseph Jefferson award for Supporting Actress in John Patrick Shanley’s Savage in Limbo with Inn Town Theatre Company. She toured with Urban Gateways Center for Arts Education in Chicago and taught drama with ArtStream in the Metro DC area. As a film actor, Sarah performed in La Stanza Acconto/The Room Next Door and A League of Their Own. She studied professionally with Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse, earned a B.S. in Acting and Directing from Illinois State University, and is currently an MFA Candidate in Playwriting at Hollins University.
The Future Is Female Festival would like to thank these additional volunteers, who gave their time to help with everything from scouting for festival participants, to researching flagship venues, to monitoring incoming emails and play submissions. THANK YOU!