For more than a decade, Ruby O'Gray, executive producer and co-founder of the Women's Theatre Festival of Memphis (WTFM) and an established Memphis playwright, dreamed of honoring women in theater.
"Sixty-three percent of theater audiences are made up of women," says O'Gray. "So, to me, it was a no-brainer to create a theater festival centered around women."
She approached longtime friend and director/event planner Karen Moore about starting a festival, and by 2012, WTFM was born. The inaugural festival took place at The Circuit Playhouse, Playhouse on the Square, and TheatreWorks and honored Memphis women involved in theater.
- The Women’s Theatre Festival focuses on the theater-loving ladies of Memphis.
Now, seven years later, the festival has grown to cover more ground, with additional sites at Hattiloo Theatre, Theatre South, and Christian Brothers University Theater.
"I have worked to show the evolution and revolution of women," says O'Gray.
This year, several theatrical works will be showcased, including O'Gray's The Liberal: Mrs. Price and Making Folk Happy, as well as Natalie Parker-Lawrence's Planting Firewood.
The festival will culminate in a Gyneka Awards Gala on Sunday featuring the 2019 honorees: Janie Paris, Precious Morris, and Natalie Parker-Lawrence.
Anyone interested in purchasing tickets for individual festival events may link to the Eventbrite page from womenstfmemphis.org.
Women’s Theatre Festival, Various locations, July 11th-14th.