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Past Conferences

The Women+ in Theatre Conference launched in 2016 as a means of drawing attention to the continued need for parity within the field and to provide an avenue for engagement amongst women-identifying professionals and students in the theatre. Features of the conference including keynote addresses, workshops, play readings, and networking sessions have evolved over the years. These elements and the focus of each conference are decided by a volunteer steering committee comprised of theatre artists and educators with leadership provided by Rep Stage. If you are interested in lending your voice to future conferences, please contact Grace Anastasiadis at Rep Stage.

Nicole M Brewer2021 “The Power of Engagement” conference was virtual and free for all participants. It featured keynote speaker Nicole M. Brewer, founder of Anti-Racist Theatre. Additional sessions for the day included keynote breakdown facilitated by Freyja Harris, Shirley’s speed-networking session dedicated to our committee member and friend, Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap, a project sharing panel where we discussed challenges and successes in theatre through the pandemic, as well as an afternoon of virtual performances from the winners of our Virtual Performance Contest, followed by a talk-back with the creators of those performances.

Lady Dane Ididi


2020 “The Power of Engagement” conference was virtual and free for all participants. It featured keynote speaker Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi discussing Theatre as an Agent for Change and Cultivating an Equitable Future. Additional sessions for the day included Meeting the Times, featuring panelists and small group discussion; a Designer Panel; Shirley's Speed Networking; Play Readings of selected plays from our 10-minute Play Contest; and an Online Expo. The conference was dedicated to the memory of committee member Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap.

Maria Goyanes


2019 "The Power of Engagement” featured keynote speaker, Artistic Director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Maria Manuela Goyanes; a speed networking session; a portfolio expo; and play readings showcasing the winners of a 10-minute play contest. The theme, The Power of Engagement, was explored throughout the day, including numerous opportunities for networking and reflection.

Erika Rose


2018 "Empowerment and Connection" encompassed both the original mission of the conference, to provide an opportunity for women-identifying theatre practitioners to network with one another, with the urgent need for women to develop strategies that further the cause of gender equality. The keynote speaker was DC-based actor and activist, Erika Rose and the conference included small group discussions and play readings of the winners of the 10-minute play contest.

Caleen Jennings


2017 "Balance and Connection" included topics of interest to women-identifying theatre practitioners in all fields of theatrical production including theatre educators, playwrights, performers, designers, and administrators. The day included break-out sessions on various topics (i.e. Women and Diversity in Production and Design, Working in a Male-Dominated Field, Juggling Personal and Professional Roles, Building Connections etc.) in addition to a keynote address by Caleen Jennings; Professor of Theatre, American University.

Jennifer Nelson and Nan Barnett


2016 "Challenge and Connection" was our first conference and provided a unique opportunity for women-identifying theatre practitioners, from professionals to students, to share experiences and expertise. The day included workshop sessions on diverse topics such as: new models of theatre, inclusion/nurturing/community, women as producers, how to feed your creative life, work/life balance, and business/finance. Keynote addresses were presented by playwright/director Jennifer Nelson and National New Play Network executive director Nan Barnett.