By Jack Shea The Daily News of Newburyport, Mass.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The Actors Studio of Newburyport is ready to kick off Women's HerStory Month, with more than a dozen theater, history, drama, art, poetry, dance, storytelling and film events taking place throughout the community.
In March, The Actors Studio of Newburyport is bringing some of the city's most expressive female voices to the stage to show another, often untold, side of history.
Inspired by March being national Women's History Month, Actors Studio board members Camille Garro and Adaire Rowland hoped to create a monthlong, citywide celebration of women through the arts.
And now, after a year of preparation, they're ready to kick off Women's HerStory Month, with more than a dozen theater, history, drama, art, poetry, dance, storytelling and film events sponsored by the Actors Studio in cooperation with several Newburyport businesses and venues.
"I realized that with "history, it's always about 'his story' -- his perspective on things," Garro said. "Newburyport is such a cultural city. We thought, 'Let's celebrate all aspects of this through the arts. And what better venue than the Actors Studio.'"
The series will open Friday with an Actors Studio members-only performance of "The Seafaring Journey of Elizabeth Bray," a play telling the story of a Newburyport captain's wife adapted by Rowland from an 1850s journal now on display at the Custom House Maritime Museum.
There will also be performances open to all Saturday and Sunday during a "Glass Ceilings" encore presentation at the Firehouse Center for the Arts along with two other one-act plays.
Other events include "Knowing Women," a play based on a series of interviews with women in their 90s; "One End Open," a special exhibit at the Paula Estey Gallery that "depicts the feminine in spirit, strength and resiliency through oil paintings, collage and mixed media"; and "Never Stop Growing: Dancing Through Every Age," a series of live performances by Joppa Dance Company.
Garro and Rowland also highlighted their excitement for the "Full Moon Story Slam," a "HerStory"-themed storytelling competition giving participants the opportunity to tell stories about their lives while focusing on both content and performance.
The Actors Studio's previous story slams have been some of its most popular events and for good reason, Rowland said.
"Stories don't have a hierarchy. Stories are shared and they're what bring us together," Rowland said. "Stories are more the realm of women, where the point isn't to prevail, isn't to win, it's to unite across the spectrum. Our strength comes from the webs and connections we make. Humanity is what unites us."
And while Women's HerStory Month presents an eclectic mix of events that fall into different genres, Garro and Rowland agreed they are all part of the same narrative, detailing a sense of personal connection and the female experience, with each event suitable for a date night or family venture.
"It's a range of scenes but I don't think of this so much in categories of dance, music, theater. I think of it in terms of the stories underneath each of those," Rowland said. "We consciously wanted to go away from the angry, breakthrough political voices. This isn't where we want to prevent stridency. This is where we want to explore, poke around and get interested."