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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Skirts Afire - What are you Passionate About?

Monday evening I was delighted to attend the launch for Skirts Afire - HerArts Festival at The Carrot on 118th Avenue.  The brainchild of local actor and playwright Annette Loiselle and a group of equally accomplished women in the Edmonton Arts scene, Skirts Afire, is an upcoming theatre/arts festival that focuses on stories told by and for (but not limited to) women. Certainly looking around the room on Monday night I could see why this was a focus topic.  It was a great collection of female artists and art supporters in the space, come to find out what this was all about. it was a great event and we were treated to a visual art display, some poetry, a short reading from The Passion of Mary, as well as the musical talents of Andrea House.

The inaugural festival is set for March 7-10, 2013 and will be held in various locations on the Ave.  They group hopes to incorporate a variety of art mediums, including theatre, visual art, dance, and music. Still in the planning stages, programming has not been finalized, but the group is working on that and plans to bring an exciting mix to the community.  One thing is for sure, the stories shall reflect the voices of women.

In Edmonton's theatre scene, this certainly makes sense.  When I think about the number of power-house women we have to draw from, particularly in the independent theatre scene it makes me quite excited.  It is interesting to note that most of the major theatre companies in town (The Citadel, Shadow, Teatro, Theatre Network, Northern Light, Workshop West) are headed by men, and while their programming often takes into account the strength of the women in our city's theatre scene, it will be interesting to see what happens with this festival which is entirely female driven.  It has me personally and artistically excited as my own company, FinallySauces, has a mandate for telling women's stories  and I certainly write from a very female perspective (it's what I know).

A lot must go into creating a festival like this and the group is hoping to raise not only awareness, but funds, in a fundraising event tied to Loiselle's playwrighting debut, The Passion of Mary at Theatre Network this fall.  The September 8th, 2012 performance of The Passion of Mary will help support the cause.  A portion of the box office (20%) on that evening will go to Skirts Afire.  The performance will be preceded by a reception hosted by fellow committee member, Nadien Chu.

At this important stage in their development the group is looking for support in a variety of ways.  They can be contacted through their newly launched website.

SkirtsAfire Objectives
  • To create a festival that empowers, celebrates, develops, supports and highlights women in theatre and other art forms.
  • To create a platform for Canadian women’s stories and the female voice.
  • To provide opportunities for women to take on directing, writing, designing, dramaturgy, visual arts and other art forms.
    Preference will be given to female artists but not exclusively.

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