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Airmid Theatre Company, Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Theater

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. Translation Workshop 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. Research Library 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.

Community Stories

8 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a theatre professor with a specialization in plays by women, so I have been interested in Airmid for awhile. The summer before last, I was in New York for a research trip. I took a train to Long Island to see both Airmid's children's play and a fabulous production of Aphra Behn's The Emperor of the Moon. Both productions were staged outdoors in a beautiful park, and both were very good. The company operates on donations, bringing free theatre to its community. I think they also serve an important function by bringing attention to neglected classic works by female authors. I am impressed with what they were able to do on a shoestring budget.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My wife and I attended our first outdoor Summer Festival Production and were extremely impressed with the quality of the acting and production value. Professional actors are used in the theatre production and brought genuine heart and soul to the performance. The humor they brought to the performance was a wonderful touch.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Airmid brings the work of forgotten or unknown female playwrights to life
for todays audience - their productions are professional and profound - addressing issues that are both universal and timeless - thank you Airmid for keeping these works alive.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I love the readings of plays written by women from years ago and the dialog it inspires. Even those written hundreds of years ago are still so relevant today. Women, their place in society and their experiences are universal.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have attended readings and full productions. The crisp, professional acting and directing as well as the plays chosen provide exciting and enjoyable entertainment. The outdoor setting during the summer is delightful. I particularly enjoy becoming more familiar with works from women of various eras.Airmid Theatre Company is great!

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Airmid is a non-profit organization who brings the arts into a deeper dimension for the community. The productions are all first class!

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I think Aramid offers a great service to the community, both adult and youth. The productions I have experienced have offered top quality entertainment. I would recommend others to become fans/members/ or patrons of this company.

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

Airmid was founded with three things in mind: empower women artists so our voices are heard and our visions are seen; to recover our theatrical past so we can claim our future; and to provide society a new way to see and understand the concerns of women as we breakdown the negative stereotypes that effect both genders today. Of course we want to present high quality, professionally produced theatre relevant to everyone in the process just as all professional theatres across the country do. Early in our work, we produced a show that drew a small but enthusiastic audience. One of those people was a man in his 60's who wrote me a letter after the show. He told me that he had always seen himself as a man who treated women as his equal but after seeing our work and hearing the text of the play, he began to wonder if he was truly as open to women as his equal as he had long believed. He said he would try harder to be just that. During a post show talk back regarding a suffrage play, we had a group of young women whose mothers brought them to the show. One of them raised her hand and being only about 7, she expressed surprise that women had not been allowed to vote and saying