Poet, Playwright, Workshop Facilitator

Our Voices Festival

About Our Voices Festival

A Festival of Boston Area Women Playwrights

Now in its 10th year!


10th Annual Our Voices Festival of Boston Area Women Playwrights

FREE Evening of Staged Readings

Sept. 17, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

Featuring Short Plays & Monologues by 10 Playwrights &

A Special Performance by Arlington-Based True Story Theater 

Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley College

The tenth annual Our Voices Festival, supporting new plays by Boston area women playwrights, will present an evening of staged readings, free and to the public on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at 6:30 p.m., at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Alumnae Hall, Wellesley College. A reception to meet the playwrights begins at 6:30 p.m. with refreshments. The show begins at 7:00 p.m., and seats are first come first served. This presentation of new plays by local women playwrights features the talents of some of Boston's best actors and directors. This year, in honor of the 10th anniversary, the evening’s theme is theatre as social change. There will be a special post-plays performance with Arlington-based True Story Theater, who will perform audience responses to the plays using Playback Theatre.

This year's evening performances include work by Boston area writers: Andrea Fleck Clardy, Deniz Khateri, Hortense Gerardo, Griffen Hoyle, Ann Marie Shea, Phyllis Rittner, Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Kelly DuMar, Johanna Skouras, and Lida McGirr.

The festival founder and producer, Kelly DuMar, says it has been fully established by recent research that women face more barriers than men in the world of theater. “According to a 2015 study, ‘The Count,’ featured recently in The New York Times, women’s plays in the US are produced about one-fifth as often as those of men. This historic pattern of - consciously or unconsciously - over-investing in stories by male writers needs to change."

Over the past ten years, the 12-hour daylong Our Voices festival has helped well over 100 Boston area women playwrights develop stories for the stage, DuMar says. “In addition to offering a day of workshop presentations of new plays by women, Our Voices presents and evening of staged readings, and, with the generous help of exceptional actors and directors, presents them to an audience. “It’s an opportunity for audience members to be exposed to the artistic craft of women’s stories they are not seeing produced – and a way for men and women theatre goers to show interest in new work by women playwrights,” DuMar says.

“The point of the festival is to give women playwrights a nourishing, no-cost day of incubation.” DuMar says. “Many of the short plays and monologues first presented at Our Voices go on to have full productions in Boston theaters and beyond.

 Throughout the day on Saturday, prior to the staged readings, thirteen additional Boston area women writers will present workshop style readings of new work with the help of volunteer actors and directors. Participating playwrights, and one poet, include: Cassie M. Seinuk, Debbie Wiess, Mickey Coburn, Fabiola Decius, Vannessa Greenleaf, Lynda Vernalia, Wokie Kajota, Sue Huggans, M. Lynda Robinson, Linda Hanley Finnigan, Carole Frohlic, Mara Elissa Palma, and Anne Marilyn Lucas. 

The festival is held in The Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, through the generosity of Wellesley College, which is located in Alumnae Hall, Wellesley College, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA. There is free parking and the theatre is wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact Kelly DuMar at (508) 647-0596 or e-mail kellydumar@gmail.com.



Our Voices is produced by festival founder, Kelly DuMar and hosted by the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre at Wellesley College. Over the past ten years, Our Voices has presented the work of over 100 Boston area women playwrights and poets.

This volunteer collective of playwrights, actors and directors aims to nourish women playwrights and poets by providing a supportive, inspirational setting for developing our unique voices and sharing our vision by presenting plays and monologues - with talented actors and directors - in front of each other and in front of an audience. What began as an evening of staged readings became a daylong event six years ago. 

Read on for more information about our work and ethos.
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Our upcoming festival is September 17, 2016!

I’m thrilled to announce the Our Voices annual festival of Boston area women playwrights is now in its 10th year. Our daylong event of workshop readings of new works includes an evening of staged readings, free and open to the public on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley College from 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., thanks to the generosity of The Wellesley College Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre. 

This year's theme is “Theatre art as a medium of social change.” 

Playwrights have been asked to consider theatre’s potential for changing personal and social ideas, values and behavior – and how their writing might influence or inspire individuals or groups to change – what is the change you hope to support or create in individuals or the world? 

Please join the playwrights at 6:30 p.m. for a cheese & cracker reception; show begins at 7:00 p.m. No reservation is necessary, seating is first come, first served. 

In celebration of our theme, the plays will be followed by a unique post-show discussion and Playback Theatre performance with True Story Theatre in which everyone will be invited to participate.

I’m thrilled to announce the Our Voices annual festival of Boston area women line-up, celebrating our 10th year! Our daylong event of workshop readings of new works includes an evening of staged readings, free and open to the public, Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley College from 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., thanks to the generosity of The Wellesley College Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre. 

Evening Selected Playwrights & Plays:

Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, In the Blink of an Eye             

Lida McGirr, A Doctor’s Prescription                                    

Andrea Fleck Clardy, Hijab                                                 

Hortense Gerardo, Death in Venice Beach                           

Kelly DuMar, monologue                                                      

Ann Marie Shea, The Dirty Irish                                         

Deniz Khateri, When We All Used to be Sane                   

Johanna Skouras, How Did Mama Snare My Soul              

Griffen Hoyle, What We Know                                          

Phyllis Ritner, Night Conversation                                      


DAYTIME Participants Include:

Linda Hanley Finigan, People Living in Caves

Debbie Wiess – As Flotsam & Jetsam

Fabiola Decius, Date Night Surprise

Vannessa Greenleaf, The Line

Lynda Vernalia, What to Expect When You Expect an Emergency

Carole Frohlich, Stripped Bare

Cassie M. Seinuk, Miles of Homemade Candy 

Sue Huggans, Solid Confirmation

M. Lynda Robinson, Something About Swans 

Mickey Coburn, The Left Bower 

Mara Elissa Palma, Love Told Pain

Anne Marilyn Lucas, Mother

Wokie Kojota, The Lover, The Writer, The Surgeon, The Chef  

Questions? For more information contact Kellydumar@kellydumar.com
Keep reading for more of our philosophy and history!


Every year, for the past eight years, I wake up the day after producing the Our Voices Festival of Women Playwrights and think – it can’t get better than this one.

Every year, as they’re saying goodnight, the playwrights whose plays have been workshopped and staged tell me I must be super exhausted, and wish me all the rest I’ve earned. The thing is, I’m not tired. I’m so filled with energy after this jam-packed twelve-hour day I feel like Eliza Doolittle – I could have danced all night. 



You know this feeling, right? You’re on an inspiration high – you didn’t spend energy, you created it, by engaging wholeheartedly in an expressive activity you love.

Producing Our Voices lets me spend my day listening to women show and tell their unique stories as creatively as they can in a safe, supportive environment. Our Voices costs next to nothing, yet offers priceless rewards to everyone involved, including me. 

Here is just a small sampling of what Our Voices participants are saying:

A most welcoming, talented, and caring group of women and I had the supreme honor of sharing, art, air, time and space with you all yesterday.
A ROAR of creativity, defiance, grace and much joy was present in that room. I am grateful to have been in that number.
The morning after and I am still content to the core, basking in the glow of all our voices.
It was a magical day — more like a full retreat than a festival! How wonderful to spend a day on new play development in a nurturing and welcoming environment.

These essential ingredients have evolved over the years into the Our Voices collaboration:

    • Gather writers who will honor every participant’s creativity and take it seriously, support her to find meaningful ways to express her unique voice and vision in the world.
    • Attract writers who have taken risks, done the work of learning what it means to collaborate with a spirit of generosity and helpfulness. Writers who have the humility to maintain an open mind and value mentoring, passing the wisdom they’ve learned from their mistakes on.
    • Invite new writers who pose all the essential questions we need to be challenged to answer again and again – writers who truly want help and not just approval and are willing to appreciate feedback.
    • Involve writers who are interested in growing and developing as artists and human beings.
    • Facilitate an ethos of respect – and opportunity for deep listening, and then responding with empathy, compassion, enthusiasm, sensitivity and authenticity – challenging, stretching, but being able to authentically communicate encouragement to other.

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