During the first week of March 2020, 3Girls Theatre was busy gearing up for our 2020 New Works Festival and our tenth anniversary season, including the world premiere of ‘Tasha by Cat Brooks in July, plus dozens of readings and scratch performances of scripts-in-development throughout the year. Just one week later, our staff downloaded Zoom for the first time and tried to figure out how to adapt to “the foreseeable future” without live performances.
One of 3GT Executive Artistic Director AJ Baker’s all time favorite words is “YES!”-- but as renowned theatre director Ann Bogart reminds us, “limits are a necessary partner in the creative act.” Taking inspiration from the limits imposed by the pandemic, our tenth anniversary "Year of Yes" was fueled by collaborations that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. We used this period of enforced quiet to reinforce our mission to develop, promote, and present the work of Bay Area women playwrights, and we couldn't be more thrilled with the results, not to mention the dedication and passion of our Company members and collaborators.
In this final blog post before next year’s season announcement, we’re looking back at the things we said "yes" to, and all of the amazing things our community of artists was able to accomplish during these difficult and unprecedented times.
The Sins & Secrets of Tabard Lake
With all of our best-laid plans for 2020 canceled, 3GT leadership wanted to create a project that would embrace the moment and create paid opportunities for our expansive artistic community to continue making art, despite our inability to come together in a theatre. Voila: our original "pandemic noir" radio play was born! In The Sins & Secrets of Tabard Lake , six out-of-work theatre artists are invited by infamous playwright Allyce Singer to a workshop at the isolated Tabard Lake Lodge, only to find themselves thrust into the middle of an unfolding murder mystery. Thirty-five artists -- including nineteen 3GT playwrights and sixteen collaborating actors and technicians -- helped us bring this first-of-its-kind (for us) theatrical experience to life "for your ears only." If you missed the episodes when they dropped in the spring, you can binge all ten of them now from our website (or on the podcast platform of your choice!)
The playwrights of the 2019/2020 season were reunited with their dramaturgs and directors to delve deeper into their plays throughout the pandemic. In June 2021, we hosted eleven digital readings of the new plays to emerge from the Salon Series while we were stuck at home.
The 2019/2020 LezWritesBTQ playwrights and solo performers were also reunited with their dramaturgs and directors for extra rounds of revisions. three new plays and three new solo performances will receive public readings in late fall 2021.
In the late summer of 2020, LezWrites founder Margery Kreitman, began virtual writing workshops for past, present, and future writers of LezWritesBTQ. Dozens of queer women and gender-nonconforming artists joined us, and the desire for more was so strong we will be continuing to host these workshops in 2022!
Each workshop ended in an opportunity for writers to share their work with family and friends. We created a video that highlights these performances, which occurred throughout 2020-2021.
Girlwrights held one-off and multi-day workshops throughout late 2020 and early 2021. The workshops centered around personal development and the art of the monologue, which culminated in filmed performances by professional actors. Check out the videos from Holly, Isabella, and Abigail.
In the summer of 2021, we ran a week-long workshop that culminated in a short film, Anna's Mechta.
3GT Innovator Tyler Jefferys spearheaded weekly writing workshops every Tuesday throughout quarantine called “Write Myself Free” with her ensemble, US in the U.S. and community members. She harnessed this writing into a three-part performance, What Had Happened Was. The project explores how writing can be a means of healing the world, the country, and the self. The first and second parts are available now, and the third and final installment will be streaming in late 2021.
Program Director Cat Brooks and her collaborator, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, continued to develop their piece, Surviving In Oakland. The play raises up the voices and untold stories of the missing and murdered Black women in connection with Oakland’s place as a major stop on the human trafficking circuit in the United States. We are in the process of filming the script, which will be shared publicly late in 2021.
In order to keep this vital conversation going in the meantime, we hosted three town halls featuring conversations with Black women scholars and leaders whose work centers around researching and/or working with the Black survivors of trafficking and state violence. We created a video from the first town hall about the "school-to-track pipeline." The fourth town hall is slated for mid-October.
Chasing the Ghostlight
In tandem with the radio play, 3GT developed “Chasing the Ghostlight”, a podcast that centers around the singular moments that haunt playwrights artistically. Hosted by 3GT’s Communications Director, Hannah Meyer, the podcast featured intimate conversations with writers across disciplines about the personal histories and cultural narratives that shape them, covering everything from the politics of period sex to the ethics of leaving someone on a cliff to die to the liberation found in teaching med students how to palpate a uterus.