Poet, Playwright, Workshop Facilitator

Our Voices Blog

Our Voices - The 10th Annual Festival in Words & Pictures
The "Daytime" Playwright Presenters: Vannessa Greenleaf, Fabiola Decius, Kelly DuMar, Mara Elissa Palma, Carole Frohlich, Linda Hanley Finigan, Anne Marilyn Lucas, Lynda Blair Vernalia, M. Lynda Robinson, Debbie Wiess, Sue Huggans, Wokie Kajota (also, not pictured here Cassie Seinuk & Mickey Coburn)

The "Daytime" Playwright Presenters: Vannessa Greenleaf, Fabiola Decius, Kelly DuMar, Mara Elissa Palma, Carole Frohlich, Linda Hanley Finigan, Anne Marilyn Lucas, Lynda Blair Vernalia, M. Lynda Robinson, Debbie Wiess, Sue Huggans, Wokie Kajota (also, not pictured here Cassie Seinuk & Mickey Coburn)

Our Voices X Participants Share their Appreciation for the 10th Annual Day-long Festival of Boston Area Women Playwrights in the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley College,

Produced by Kelly DuMar

Sept. 17, 2016

I think this was the best of all the Our Voices celebrations I’ve ever attended! What a rich cornucopia of women’s works! I enjoyed the company of old and new friends. Thank you for a wonderful day!
I was in awe of how much brain-power and spirit . . . assembled in that room.
It was a remarkable day. . . What makes the whole event so special to me is the profound commitment. . . to mutual support and appreciation. Thank you. . . for the logistics and the hours of preparation but also for that very special spirit of collaboration and encouragement.
Many thanks to Nora Hussey and Wellesley College for generous use of the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre and for many years making Our Voices possible

Many thanks to Nora Hussey and Wellesley College for generous use of the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre and for many years making Our Voices possible

It was an inspiring day and I feel lucky to have celebrated our work together.
. . . all of the plays this weekend had wonder and magic in them and you are all jewels in my box of life’s treasures.
... thanks for all the writers who came, and listened, and read their work, and - with great generosity - encouraged each other to keep on keeping on!!
I also want to thank my fellow playwrights and performing artists for sharing of your formidable talents.
It really was impressive and so well organized and facilitated, and I’m so glad I came for the day as well as the evening. I had some interesting conversations. . . It was fascinating to hear the ‘social issues’ which are occupying people’s minds, and to hear, yet again, the multiple generational perspectives. I hope at some point the differences and overlaps might get explored more intentionally as I think both ends of the age spectrum have a lot to learn from each other.
Thank you for a wonderful day [that] helped everyone to gain insight into their work!
Playwrights from left: Fabiola Decius, Andrea Fleck Clardy, Phyllis Rittner and Cassie Seinuk

Playwrights from left: Fabiola Decius, Andrea Fleck Clardy, Phyllis Rittner and Cassie Seinuk

. . . A fascinating day altogether. I really appreciated all the feedback,which will keep me busy for quite a while! Thank you so much for all your efforts in putting this on. . .
OVT is really a very special gift to us all. I was so pleased to be a part of it again, sharing work, thoughts and ideas, and encouraging and supporting each other. It is a wonderfully rewarding and inspiring experience and great coming together.
I so appreciate all the very helpful feedback and encouraging comments I received. I have been given much to think about as I gear up to revisit my new full length project.
I just wanted to say a big, heartfelt thank you. . . for. . . the juggernaut that is Our Voices, and for inviting me to be a part of it.
It was a MAGNIFICENT DAY. I feel so chuffed to be able to rub shoulders with so many accomplished women playwrights...
The word is out that this is an event not to be missed.

The Daytime Play Presentations & Discussion

The playwrights who presented work include: Vannessa Greenleaf, Fabiola Decius, Kelly DuMar, Mara Elissa Palma, Carole Frohlich, Linda Hanley Finigan, Anne Marilyn Lucas, Lynda Blair Vernalia, M. Lynda Robinson, Debbie Wiess, Sue Huggans, Wokie Kajota (also, not pictured here Cassie Seinuk & Mickey Coburn). We're grateful for the generous and talented actors who share their gifts with us.

The Evening of Staged Readings Played to a Full House

We were pleased to have a full house for the evening of staged readings by selected playwrights, including Lida McGirr, Phyllis Rittner, Hortense Gerardo, Kelly DuMar, Ann Marie Shea, Andrea Fleck Clardy, Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Griffen Hoyle & Deniz Khateri

Act II - True Story Theater of Arlington, MA Performed

This year's theme was "Theatre as a Medium of Social Change." Inspired by Diane Paulus and the A.R.T.'s practice of involving the audience by providing an "Act II" - consisting of facilitated discussions after the play performances, this year Kelly invited True Story Theater to facilitate audience sharing & "play back" spontaneous & heartfelt audience responses to the plays about social change, as pictured below. 

All photos taken by Kelly DuMar 2016

For more information about the Our Voices or to be added to the mailing list and call for submissions, please contact kellydumar@kellydumar.com or call me at 508-647-0596. I look forward to seeing you all next year!

​Sherborn's Kelly DuMar leads annual festival for women playwrights

 

Posted Sep 15, 2016 at 12:01 AM

 

 

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 10th 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, 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 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 theater 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 of Sherborn, said 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 U.S. 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.”

“The point of the festival is to give women playwrights a nourishing, no-cost day of incubation.” DuMar said. “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, prior to the staged readings, 13 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 will be held in the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, through the generosity of Wellesley College, which is located in Alumnae Hall, Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley. There is free parking and the theater is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, contact Kelly DuMar at 508-647-0596 or e-mail kellydumar@gmail.com.

Kelly DuMar
Our Voices Festival Explores Theatre as a Medium for Social Change this Saturday
In Our Voices "Act II" - Arlington Based True Story Theater will perform audience stories in response to the plays

In Our Voices "Act II" - Arlington Based True Story Theater will perform audience stories in response to the plays

Welcome to the tenth year of Our Voices Festival of Boston Area Women Playwrights this Saturday night! I'm excited for you to join us at 6:30 p.m. in the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Wellesley College - here's why:


·      Our theme is Theatre as a Medium for Social Change

·      Ten Boston area women playwrights will present monologues or short plays

·      You’ll experience diverse female protagonists in dramatic roles

·      True Story Theater will perform audience responses in our “Act II” following the plays

·      We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary of nourishing Boston area women playwrights

·      It’s FREE & open to the public!

 

In producing this tenth year celebration, I've been inspired by Diane Paulus and the A.R.T. I've selected a theme: Theatre as a Medium for Social Change. After attending the A.R.T.'s production of Eve Ensler's In the Body of the World last spring, I was deeply moved by Diane's commentary published in WBUR's Cognocenti in July 2016: It's Time To Merge Art And Audience In Quest For Social Change from her address to the Americans for the Arts convention in Boston shortly after the murders in Orlando, in which she speaks about the relationship between art "and the world beyond the stage":

I also make theater because it can take us to places we’ve never been before. To worlds that are not familiar, to perspectives and stories that are not our own. Through the use of narrative and character, we can achieve empathy — which can lead us to identify with a point of view that is not our own. Living in the world at this very moment, I cannot imagine an action more vital to our survival — other than love — than empathy. Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. To experience from within another person’s frame of reference. To get inside their skin. . .
— Diane Paulus

In this year's evening Our Voices staged readings, ten Boston area women playwrights will present monologues or short plays, including: Andrea Fleck Clardy, Deniz Khateri, Hortense Gerardo, Griffen Hoyle, Ann Marie Shea, Phyllis Rittner, Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Kelly DuMar, Johanna Skouras, and Lida McGirr.

You’ll experience diverse female protagonists in dramatic roles. For instance, in Hijab, a 10-minute play by Andrea Fleck Clardy, you’ll witness an encounter between the most popular girl in her high school and one of the few Muslim students who wears a head scarf and was the focus of an internet joke. Focusing on our theme of theater as a medium for social change, Andrea says in her Artist Statement:

If my play could challenge something, I would like it to be the ease of our assumptions, the things we think we know about a girl in a hijab or a boy with a nose ring or a woman who is overweight or a man who has very dark skin. This play is about misunderstandings. It is also and perhaps more importantly, about how starting a conversation, making a connection, can change everything. Even if you start with wrong information or for misguided reasons, everything changes when two people talk honestly with each other. That is something I strongly believe.
— Andrea Fleck Clardy

How Our “Act II” Involves You

As the founder and producer of Our Voices, I’ve always sought to have the festival promote cultural change to bring more diverse stories to the stage by women. I’m originally a psychotherapist trained in applied theatre as a therapeutic modality. As a healer and a playwright, I’m a passionate believer that everyone’s story is deeply meaningful and telling it can lead to personal and societal transformation. So, this year we'll include an "Act II" in the festival, inspired once again by Diane Paulus and the A.R.T.'s vision:

For several seasons now, A.R.T.’s series of curated discussions Act II has invited audience members to connect the work onstage to the wider world. We purposefully use the term “Act II” because we view this event as an essential part of the theatrical performance. When it is called “Act II”, the ushers and production staff do not view this time as “extra.” They do not look at their watches and clock this post-show time as an addition to what they are normally asked to do. Our Act IIs are directed as if they are part of the show; A.R.T.’s stage becomes a public forum for audiences, artists, activists and scholars, who work together, in dialogue, to connect the themes of each production to contemporary conversations in politics, science and beyond.
Playback Theatre in Action with Arlington Based True Story Theater

Playback Theatre in Action with Arlington Based True Story Theater

So, in the service of involving the audience, I've invited True Story Theater to perform audience responses in our “Act II” following the plays

About True Story Theater

True Story Theater is a nonprofit theater company that offers 50-75 improvisational performances and workshops a year for community groups, businesses, and individuals mostly in the greater Boston area. We work with hospitals, universities, corporations, religious communities… with teen leaders, cancer survivors, activists, philanthropists, business leaders… as well as for weddings, birthdays, and other private events.

Our mission is to build empathy and respect in community through honoring all of our true stories.

In performances, volunteers from the audience are helped to share what’s important in their lives. On the spot, actors then portray the heart of what they heard using music, movement, and dialogue. From this simple interaction, people laugh, cry, share fresh insights, and bond. Our events create a respectful atmosphere where every voice can be heard and any story told — however ordinary or extraordinary, difficult or joyful. True Story Theater offers audiences fresh perspectives, deeper connections, and a renewed appreciation for our common humanity.

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.

I hope you'll join us!

I hope you'll join us!