Festival to show the ‘Future is Female’


» Courtesy Future is Female Festival

Festival to show the ‘Future is Female’

By Kendrah Villiesse

Empowered women will be taking the stage throughout March, but instead of celebrating women’s history, they will be celebrating the future.

The month-long Future is Female Festival will be hosted in 18 different cities and 27 venues across the U.S. and Canada, featuring the work of 140 women interpreting the meaning of the female future through theater and comedy with short performances.

The festival will have a Chicago outpost March 7 at the Bughouse Theater, 1910 W. Irving Park Road, and again on March 19 at the Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave. 

The festival was created by playwright Mya Kagan, author of Submitting Like A Man— a blog that challenges the entertainment industry’s gender biases. She said she wanted to do something more powerful  to support women in the arts than just her blogging. After the presidential election, Kagan said she started thinking about what it would mean if the future were female-focused. 

“It is really important to have an opportunity to stress that all voices are important and should be heard,” said Lauren Orkus, the festival’s co-producer. “There is a lot coming from the media and our president undervaluing certain voices in our culture, including those of women and people of color. We thought it was important to stand up against that.”

Each theater participating in the festival is able to choose a charity to donate the proceeds of each night to, Orkus said. For the Chicago March 7 event, the charity chosen is Sarah’s Circle, a local nonprofit that provides resources to  women who are in need of a safe space or are homeless.

Sarah Cosgrove, the festival’s social media manager, also will debut her play March 19 titled “The Woman Question,” on women’s rights and equality.

“We need more women in power,” Cosgrove said. “The question I continuously deal with is: What do I have to sacrifice? I am a person that believes in living in the moment. But how do we have the courage to speak openly and honestly to the public?”

With Donald Trump’s new administration, many people think rights are going to be threatened, according to Colette Gregory, a comedian for the Chicago festival and project director of the Violence Prevention Research Team at DePaul University. She said having events like the festival and performances that empower people will encourage people to stand up for their beliefs.

“One of the things I have been talking about to people who are performers is how important our work is for just renewing the spirit of the troops; the troops being those of us who [are] marching and actively advocating and being activists against the  administration,” Gregory said. “That is taxing, emotionally and spiritually; laughter and the arts are important to renewing spirits.”