Arts & Culture,
Mission: The Airmid Theatre Company, founded in 2000, produces, recovers, and collects classic plays by women with artists of both genders as the playwrights originally intended. Airmid is committed to telling stories that are life affirming and span the spectrum of human emotion. Comedies that make us laugh. Dramas that touch us. Universal stories that help us all to better understand society across the centuries and our own individual place as part of the world today.
Airmid aims to:
· Produce performances of significant dramatic works written by women throughout history;
· Commission translations of non-English classic works of theatre by women;
· Engage in the ongoing research and recovery of classic plays by women;
· Mentor emerging female theatre practitioners;
· Expand the dramatic canon of works by women for study and production.
Unique in its mission, Airmid’s fresh perspective on these forgotten works reminds us that there is a long, rich theatrical history that has been lost. By establishing the history of playwriting by women and professionally producing their work with actors of both genders as the playwrights intended, we open the door to broader discussion on women’s roles today, and in the future
Our Art and Our Philosophy
Airmid Theatre Company addresses the systematic problems that affect the daily lives of women and girls through our various programs. With theatre as our method of delivery, we present the concerns of women writers and artists to audiences who are challenged to see and comprehend the world in new ways.
We watch, we hear, and we are affected by the artistic vision of someone who felt the need to express herself, often at great personal risk. Without women’s voices, past and present, we lack an historical and cultural vocabulary beyond the ones that have been provided by men like Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen, Miller, and Williams or even by the media today. Each of those men provided images of women that are, for better or worse, part of our western cultural experience. Those images are often in opposition to the needs and realities of women’s lives.
However, the women who wrote with the same ambition--to illuminate and educate an audience about the world around them--their visions have not been allowed to become part of our cultural lexicon. We remember Nora but not Berta; we are touched by Blanche, but somehow Frank (a female using the male spelling of her name in order to make a living as a writer in 1909) has been lost to us.
Our objective is to produce various plays written by women from previous centuries that present a range of images of women that can be used as a starting point for discussions on the roles of women and men in soci
Results: 2014 is a National Endowment for the Arts award.
Over the years, Airmid has presented over 40 plays in full productions, readings, commissions and engagement programs that are entertaining and thought-provoking for both theatre lovers and scholars alike.
Other awards include grants from: Target; the Open Meadows Foundation; technical support from ART/NY; Bethpage Federal Credit Union; JP Morgan Chase; NYSCA Decentralization Fund; various State Senators and Assemblymen; Suffolk County Office of Film and Culture; Town of Smithtown among others.
Target demographics: recover, collect and produce classic plays by women and to give voice to women's issues today and throughout history.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 3500+
Geographic areas served: New York City
Programs: Full Productions, along with out reach programs that include:
All She Wrote Reading and Discussion Series
Used as part of a vetting process to determine future productions, this series of concert-style performances is designed to investigate works by women of various periods, which are currently available in English. Although popular in their time, they are rarely performed in the U.S. and abroad. All She Wrote is designed to unearth these long forgotten classical plays and explore them in relation to contemporary society.
Airmid’s commitment to recovering and exploring world literature by women is embodied in its translation program. Through this project, Airmid recovers the best texts written by female playwrights from all nations and ages for translation by contemporary women playwrights to be produced in English, and when possible, bilingually. This cycle of translations and workshops will ultimately enable Airmid to present a world premiere production on a regular basis.
In the spring of 2008, Airmid became the recipient of a major collection of rarely seen plays by women, translations of plays by women, plays by men about women, correspondence and diaries of women theatre artists and managers, anthologies, biographies, lecture notes on feminist subjects, feminist theatre criticism, and general reference materials. Through productions, symposiums, lectures and educational outreach, Airmid will foster a greater understanding and appreciation of these works. Ultimately, in Airmid’s own permanent home, this valuable collection will be accessible to scholars for enhanced research.
This gift, from retired Pennsylvania State theatre professor, Dr. John Franceschina, encompasses 20 years of his extensive scholarship and is serving as the foundation for the Airmid Research Library, modeled after the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. The Ruth Murray Franceschina Collection, named for this mother, is the first component in this collection. Franceschina’s gift is integral to the development of Airmid’s growing research and production base, and will help strengthen the company’s mandate to gather, preserve, and enhance the works of women playwrights worldwide.
She Said / He Said
Over the years, critics, producers, publishers, and often even audiences have said, “men just write better than women.” Airmid’s lecture/performance series examines the similarities and differences in translations of the theatrical canon, by translators of different genders, such as Hedda Gabler under the hand of Eva LeGalliene versus the better known, more often taught as well as produced translation by Harvey Granville-Barker. This program seeks to dispel the belief that women are not as capable as men artistically, while illuminating the differences between the female and male “voice” and point of view in theatrical works.
PROGRAMS IN DEVELOPMENT
Humanities Lecture Series
This series expands the advocacy for plays by women and the issues related to them. Lectures, designed for practitioners and non-practitioners, explore various topics and are given in connection with full productions, All She Wrote, and as part of the overall commitment to research and restore these plays to the canon, and the stage.