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ISU, Theatre Midwest 2019-20 seasons highlight women in film


Two Central Iowa theater groups are celebrating women in film in a big way. Iowa State University Theatre and Des Moines-based Theatre Midwest recently announced their 2019-20 seasons, which feature only plays written by women.

ISU’s season is part of a bigger celebration to shed light on women in film. Through its “HERoic” initiative, ISU will also bring two 2019 Tony Award winners to the college, host a yearlong symposium series, celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and commit to a national 50-50 by 2020 initiative promoting gender equity in theater.

According to the Dramatists Guild of America’s, only 29% of plays produced in America are written by women, ISU noted in its announcement. The percentage drops to 24% for plays produced in the Great Plains region, which includes Iowa.

“It’s time for a change,” said Brad Dell, associate professor and director of ISU Theatre. “We are eager to commit to gender parity and a more inclusive canon in future seasons. Our season will celebrate the importance of women’s voices in the arts, humanities and sciences, and encourage others to commit to equal and equitable space at every table for women now and into the future.”

ISU Theatre’s 2019-20 season includes a community-focused series of climate change plays, a family musical about George Washington, a poetic and contemporary retelling of Homer’s “The Odyssey” through an immigrant perspective, the story of a high school girls’ soccer team, Dolly Parton’s high-octane musical “9 to 5,” and a puppetry drama that ponders the extent of the connection between humans and the natural world.

ISU also will host a yearlong symposium series titled “HERoic: Gender Equity in the Arts” that includes lectures by 2019 Tony Award winners Rachel Hauck and Ali Stroker. In addition, five recent Iowa State alumnae will return as guest artists to direct and design the “HERoic” season.

See more about the 2019-20 ISU Theatre season online.

South of Ames, Theatre Midwest’s upcoming season includes two major productions and three plays showcased in “Fresh Produce,” a new play concert-reading series.

For those unfamiliar with Theatre Midwest, the nonprofit arts organization was founded in 2018 with a mission to create works of relevance to the Midwest. The group pays particular attention to the voices of women and other underrepresented groups, according to its website.

Theatre Midwest’s season kicks off in November with “Holy Days,” the first installment of “Fresh Produce.” In January, the group debuts two fully staged productions with “Brilliant Traces,” featuring Des Moines-area actors.

Information about auditions, locations and ticket sales for each Theatre Midwest event will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, visit www.TheatreMidwest.org.

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