Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


BCWJ Article – ON HER SHOULDERS in NYC

Here is my latest Page & Stage column from the Bucks County Women’s Journal (June/July).

On Her Shoulders in New York City

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

My respected colleague Susan Jonas, the founder/ director of The Legacy Projects, is also a co-founder of 50/50 in 2020. In recent years she has made pursuing gender parity in theatre her life’s work, and her success continues to grow.

Her newest endeavor is On Her Shoulders, a series of staged readings of plays by women which will occur in Manhattan monthly through December, 2013. It’s a terrific new program which seeks to educate theatre professionals and the public about women’s plays which have been written over the course of ten centuries. The historical scope of the material, as well as the involvement of leading theatre specialists, is unprecedented.

On Monday, May 20th, the project will present Rachel Crothers’ controversial 1909 play, A MAN’S WORLD, directed by Melissa Crespo, and introduced by Jane Ann Crum. Other plays in the season include: Anna Cora Mowatt’s FASHION, Cicely Hamilton’s DIANA OF DOBSON’S, Shelagh Delaney’s A TASTE OF HONEY, Lorraine Hansberry’s LES BLANCS, Daphne Du Maurier’s THE YEARS BETWEEN, and Susanna Centlivre’s A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE.

Founded in 2012 by Andrea Lepcio (Playwright), Lillian Rodriguez (Performer), and Susan Jonas (Dramaturg/Scholar), the reading series is dedicated to, “‘re-loading the canon’ by familiarizing potential producers and audiences with a neglected legacy of plays– not by women playwrights– but by great playwrights.”

On Her Shoulders intends to restore their contribution to theatre history, the canon and the living repertory,” the founders assert on their website, which includes a curated list of significant plays by women.

The initiative encourages teachers to include plays by women on their syllabi, introduces students to monologues and scenes for acting and directing exercises, and invites literary managers and artistic directors to produce these plays on their stages. Its practical, multifaceted approach is unique because it provides the incentive to look at the plays as living works of art rather than just relegating them to history books.

The series will culminate in the publication of an anthology of the scripts staged for production with introductions by major scholars and theatre artists.

Admission is free, and seating is first come, first served, with RSVPs required. More information is available at http://onhershoulders.weebly.com/.

Anne Hamilton has 22 years of experience as an dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.

You may download the article here: BCWJ Article on ON HER SHOULDERS by Anne Hamilton

 

 



Theatre Women’s Advocacy Groups

This is my most recent Bucks County Women’s Journal column about resources for women in the theatre.

You may download the article  here: BCWJ article on Theatre Women’s Advocacy Groups by Anne Hamilton.

Theatre Women’s Advocacy Organizations

By Anne Hamilton, M.F.A.

In the last few years, several new women’s advocacy organizations have joined those already established.

In New York, the perennial leaders include The League of Professional Theatre Women, and Women in the Arts and Media Coalition, Inc.

The League is an advocacy organization for reinforcing the positive image of, promoting the visibility of, and increasing the opportunities for women in the arts and entertainment industries, more particularly the professional theatre, thereby enriching the culture with the infusion of women’s creativity.

The purpose of the Coalition is to focus the power of its member organizations together and to use that combined strength to address issues of concern to women in theatre, film, TV, radio, and new media.

In recent years, they have been joined by many new groups. The Dramatists Guild Women’s Initiative advocates for female playwrights. And Works by Women supports theatrical work written, directed and/or designed by women.

WISE (Women in Stage Entertainment) was created by a group of like-minded women working in entertainment lighting who discovered they commonly faced issues that sometimes negatively impacted on their working lives. They felt the time had come to address these issues as a collective and to bring them to the attention of the wider industry.

17 Percent is an organization supporting and promoting female playwrights in the UK.

Why 17%? It’s a significant figure. It was quoted at Sphinx theatre’s 2009 ‘Vamps, Vixens and feminists’ conference as the percentage of UK women playwrights being produced and it’s also the pay gap between men and women.

While women make up 52% of the UK’s population, and 65% of the theatre audience, only 17% of UK produced plays are written by women. Something is badly skewed. The quoted figures are from 2010.

17% founder Sam Hall, says, “We will support and promote female playwrights through networking events, courses, feedback and dramaturgy, and championing women’s achievements in the theatre. We will also provide positive female role models and inspirations, showcases with opportunities for feedback, and mentoring opportunities.”

Services include an enewsletter, a blog, and video resources on YouTube.

Anne Hamilton has more than twenty years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@ hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! will begin with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.



THE STACY PLAY – SOLD OUT

I’m very excited about directing a staged reading of THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I for two performances in Central Park this Saturday. The cast consists of Soraya Broukhim* as Stacy and Brent Wellington Barker III as Jonathan. They are both members of The Living Theatre’s acting company, where I recently saw them perform in Judith Malina’s HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

Our rehearsal last Saturday was full of challenges. I had to rework the route for the walking tour because of loud music coming from events based near the sites I had chosen. I moved the action to three spots surrounding Bethesda Fountain: an outcropping of that great, bold gray rock for Act One, a site overlooking the Lake for Act Two, and a grove of trees overlooking both for Act Three. I  hope that the audience will feel a connection with nature and a large sense of space while listening to the story of a woman’s spectacular life which spans over a century.

Stay tuned next week for news of the reading, and some audience responses.

*This actor appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

Soraya Broukhim and Brent Wellington Barker III

Stage Manager Ben Rodman, Playwright/Director Anne Hamilton, Soraya Broukhim and Brent Wellington Barker III

Soraya Broukhim and Brent Wellington Barker III rehearse as Jonathan and Stacy

Soraya Broukhim, Brent Wellington Barker II, and Dramaturg Walter Byongsok Chon



Anne to Direct THE STACY PLAY in Central Park

The League of Professional Theatre Women, an international organization based in New York City, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2012 with a variety of programs and events.

Under the leadership of Co-Presidents Kristin Marting and Lorca Peress, the League has launched 30 PLAYS CELEBRATE 30 YEARS”, which features 30 brand new plays, musicals and theatre events curated by League members. The events will take place in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and beyond; from site-specific theatre on the prairie in central Canada; to the unveiling of a new play in London; to Memphis, Tennessee; to downtown performances at the New York Theatre Workshop, the Cherry Lane and HERE.

I am curating and directing a walking tour staged reading on May 19th on Literary Walk in Central Park in New York City, ending at the Bethesda Fountain.

I created an updated model of a medieval pageant play in the middle of New York’s most famous park. Stacy, the main character in my full-length play, THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I, goes through a modern journey of the soul, wheeling her pageant cart between eight locations, ending at the fountain.

The audience will follow Stacy as she travels through such “locations” as Paradise, Limbo and The Womb, as well as her Manhattan apartment, sometimes with Jonathan, her love interest who happens to be dead.

Because THE STACY PLAY is episodic in nature, I thought it would be fascinating to literally journey through her story. Originally, I intended for the walking tour to be done in Nervi, on the Italian Riviera, where I enjoyed a fellowship and residency from the Bogliasco Foundation several years ago. But my ultimate desire was to present it in a New York City park, and the League presented me with an opportunity to direct my play in my dream location.  This is just one example of how unique staging can partner with women artists’ advocacy efforts to produce a groundbreaking event.

Please join me at this 2pm event on May 19th.  RSVP to hamiltonlit@gmail.com. I’ll see you on the Mall!

Anne Hamilton has more than twenty years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@ hotmail.com. Season Two of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! concluded with an interview with Jennifer Tipton, the award-winning lighting designer.

Please download this article here: BCWJ article – Anne Hamilton to Direct THE STACY PLAY in Central Park



My Blog 30 Profile

Celebrating the Members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

This post appeared on the LPTW’s website: http://networkedblogs.com/soNpV

Anne Hamilton

Anne Hamilton, member of the League of the Professional Theatre Women

Dramaturg, Playwright, Educator
Quakertown, Pennsylvania USA

I once asked Judith Malina what she does when she’s not working, and she answered, “I work”. I feel like I take the same approach to life, because I seek out beauty, inspiration, and truth everywhere.

However, to take my mind off of writing, dramaturging and editing, I like to make up new recipes. One of my newest creations this year was a Red Velvet Gingerbread tree sculpture, in which I stacked heart and flower-shaped cookies to make a tree reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’ artwork. Things like that give me great delight.

When my mind is puzzling over a dramaturgical problem, I like to visit the ocean. I particularly enjoy going to Coney Island and watching the beluga whales at the aquarium and laughing at the antics of the otters.

The production which changed my life was GUYS AND DOLLS at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, NJ. When I was a teenager, we would always see the musicals at my brother’s high school, which had a fine arts department. I fell in love with the first musical I saw there. In the “Luck Be A Lady” number, they used black lights. When the costumes and dice glowed in the light during the song and dance number, I fell in love with the theatre. And that was it for me. I’ve been in it ever since.

One of my favorite lines from a play is, “More life” from ANGELS IN AMERICA. I’ve made artwork with the phrase and placed it prominently in my home. I also write my own poetry on the walls of my home, in places appropriate for the content of the poem.

I would like to make a writer’s retreat for my friends in the city to escape to. It is beautiful here in Bucks County and I find it to be very conducive to writing and expanding my thoughts. I’ve already made the invitation to several of my friends in the League and I hope that they take me up on the offer soon.

Anne Hamilton is the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international consultancy based in New York City’s professional scene, and located in Bucks County, PA. Anne also write plays, poetry and children’s literature, and give workshops in script development. (www.hamiltonlit.com).



THE STACY PLAY on May 19th

Save the date!

I will curate and direct a staged reading of THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I on May 19th in New York City. This is an official event of the League of Professional Theatre Women’s 30 Plays in 30 Years celebration. You can learn more about the other events at: http://www.theatrewomen.org/jan-2012-dec-2012-30-plays-celebrate-30-years

*Saturday, May 19
2:00pm Central Park, New York, NY
Curated by Anne Hamilton
The Stacy Play − A Love Song-Volume I. Hamilton directs a staged reading walking tour of her modern pageant play. Audience meets at the NW corner of 67th St. and 5th Ave to be led to The Mall. We follow Stacy and Jonathan, her dead teenage friend, to eight stations along Literary Walk, ending at Bethesda Fountain. Bring something to sit on; the audience will walk between locations.
Discussion: hamiltondramaturgy.wordpress.com
RSVP: hamiltonlit@gmail.com



Judith Malina Featured in WOMEN IN THEATRE Magazine

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Judith Malina, Artistic Director of The Living Theatre, in May, along with two other female artistic directors in New York City. My article on the conversation, entitled “Women on the Cutting Edge”, has just been published in WOMEN IN THEATRE Magazine. The conversation also features Kamilah Forbes, Artistic Director of The Hip-Hop Theater Festival, and Maria Striar, Producing  Artistic Director of Clubbed Thumb. It covers discusses the challenges, and rewards of producing experimental theatre.

WOMEN IN THEATRE Magazine was published in a special 30th Anniversary edition by the League of Professional Theatre Women this month. The Editor is Ruth Mayleas, the Managing Editor is Alexis Greene, and the Designer is Linda Florio of Florio Design.

You may download the article here: Women on the Cutting Edge article by Anne Hamilton – WOMEN IN THEATRE Magazine



Anne to direct THE STACY PLAY in Central Park, NYC

Great news! I’ll be directing a walking tour version of my play THE STACY PLAY-A LOVE SONG-VOLUME I on May 19, 2012 in Central Park! I won a Curatorship from the League of Professional Theatre Women’s 30 Plays in 30 Years Event. My play will take part in eight locations, like a modern pageant play which follows one woman’s journey through her own soul. It will start on The Mall and Literary Walk, and will end at the Bethesda Fountain. The event will be free. Stay tuned for more!

The site for Anne Hamilton's staging of THE STACY PLAY on May19, 2011



Interview with Kamilah Forbes, Artistic Director/Actor/Curator

Kamilah Forbes Interview 2010

Kamilah Forbes
On December 9th the League of Professional Theatre Women will honor Kamilah Forbes with the Josephine Abady Award, given to an emerging director or producer of works of cultural diversity. Miss Forbes is an actor, director, curator and producer who develops creative works by, for and about the hip-hop generation. She is currently the Artistic Director of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Anne Hamilton recently interviewed the NYC-based artist. 

AH: FIRST OF ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY CONGRATULATIONS. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WINNING THE ABADY AWARD?

KF:  I’m a little speechless because I’m in such awe of the other honorees as well as the organization, so I’m very, very honored. The recognition means a great deal.

AH: I THINK THAT IT’S IMPORTANT TO LEARN ABOUT A WOMAN’S EARLY GROWTH AS AN ARTIST. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT KINDS OF ARTISTIC ACTIVITIES YOU TOOK PART IN AS YOU WERE GROWING UP?

KF: I took piano lessons and I went to a lot of theater growing up in Chicago. Based on my musical influences, I would write hip-hop lyrics at that time. I was very much involved in my drama program in high school, which led to me wanting to study theater in college. I was involved in the acting and directing program at Howard University and did a little bit of producing.

AH: AND YOU ALSO STUDIED AT OXFORD.

KF: Yes, at the British-American Drama Academy (BADA). I’m in love with the classics. I’ve always been in love with language, whether it’s hip-hop or Shakespeare. You know, it made my decade, just to be in the same room with Ben Kingsley and to study with him. I studied with Fiona Shaw as well.

AH: TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE SHAKESPEAREAN ROLES YOU’VE PLAYED.

KF: I’ve played Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT. That was with the WSC Company in Washington DC. I was part of the Folger Shakespeare Theater Educational Troupe. I did ROMEO AND JULIET, and MUCH ADO. In The Scottish Play, on the main stage of Folger Shakespeare, I played Hecate, which is a role that’s generally omitted. She’s the queen of the witches.

AH: HOW DID YOU GO FROM HECATE TO HIP-HOP?

KF: Well, I think my interests always co-existed, and it was just a matter of my two worlds bumping into one another. When I studied at Oxford, I would attend classes about scansion and diction during the day and then I would be running to London to see DE LA SOUL at night.

My college professor Sybil Roberts really encouraged us as theater makers to challenge the boundaries of performance and take experimental risks.  I decided to pull together a collective of poets and DJs, and began to workshop a concept for a play I was writing called RHYME DEFERRED. The DJ definitely laid the score of the play. I worked with dancers and choreographers whose background was in hip-hop dancing and popping and locking and break dancing. I was interested in using the dance as storytelling tools.

I asked myself, “How can this kind of movement truly tell a story just as any posse or other Broadway choreography would?” And the poetry and the language wove together. In this 1997 workshop I was experimenting with what Hip-Hop Theater as an aesthetic could potentially look like.

AH: TELL US ABOUT WORKING WITH DEF POETRY JAM.

KF: I served as the producer for the HBO show, which basically meant I just did what I did for the festival. I curated. When the show started to move towards Broadway, I worked with the director Stan Lathan as an associate director for the Broadway tour. I got to work with a lot of these poets in a lot of different ways. Several of them had written long-form work that I had presented in the festival. And then in this iteration, they were performing their three-minute, shorter work as well.

AH: YOU WEAR A NUMBER OF HATS EXTREMELY WELL. WHAT DO YOU THINK CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?

KF: I’ve always been interested in a lot of different sides of things. I want to know how the show is run as well as how it’s produced, because they’re interrelated. You know, being a good actor makes me even better director. Being a producer makes me a better director. Being a director makes me a better producer, just because of my knowledge of the full 360-degree circle of the theatre world. At times it’s difficult, because sometimes I can feel very schizophrenic. But when I’m truly able to focus on one thing at a time, I think each one of my interests enhances the other.

AH: IS YOUR JOB WITH THE FESTIVAL YEAR-ROUND?

KF: It seems like it. [Laughs.]  But we’ve backed away from being a year-round organization only because it gives me a lot more freedom to work on other individual artistic projects, whether as a director or an actor. Or to work on the series that I produce. It gives me a little bit of freedom for that.

AH: WHAT KIND OF ARTISTIC GROWTH ARE YOU EXPERIENCING AT THE MOMENT?

KF: I’m finding a lot of inspiration from a lot of different forms and in very unlikely places. I will go to a visual art exhibit and be so inspired in by the way in which it was presented. I’m always figuring out ways to build upon inspiration, and to incorporate this piece of inspiration into the work that I do. I’m constantly looking for ways for that to happen in very unlikely places.

AH: IT SEEMS LIKE YOUR ARTISTS ARE WELL-DISCIPLINED, WELL-INFORMED, SUPERBLY INTELLIGENT AND ALSO, THAT THEY WORK THROUGH THE HEART AS WELL AS THE MIND.

KF: Absolutely.

AH: KAMILAH, I WISH YOU GREAT, GREAT SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE IN EVERYTHING THAT YOU’RE DOING. HOW CAN PEOPLE KEEP UP WITH YOUR SHOWS AND ACTIVITIES?

KF: Thank you, Anne. They can go to the websites www.kffproductions.com and www.hhtf.org.



THE STACY PLAY to Appear in Julia’s Reading Room December 14th

On December 14th, I will direct a reading of my play THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I at Julia’s Reading Room in NYC. Held at the home of legendary producer Julia Miles, JRR is a program of the League of Professional Theatre Women. As a special treat, I will also direct and present a performance of my clown play BOUDOIR BENCH, which introduces a new archetype: the beautiful female clown. Please email me for more details at hamiltonlit@hotmail.com.

THE STACY PLAY was originally written as a one-act named AND THEN I WENT INSIDE. Kathleen Chalfant premiered the role of Stacy at the LPTW’s New Play Festival last November. THE STACY PLAY appeared last summer in TRANSITIONS, a juried Virtual Exhibition created by Pen and Brush, the legendary New York City women’s art collective. I have read scenes from the play at Pen and Brush and the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe. It recently placed in the top 100 entries for the Stage Play category of the 79th Writer’s Digest competition.