Thursday, April 4, 2019

Full Lineup Announced for The Bridge Initiative's Bechdel Test Fest 2.0

The Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre offers its second Bechdel Test Fest, Friday through Sunday, April 26th-28th, at Tempe Center for the Arts. The festival offerings include a panel discussion, play readings, film screenings, and more. All plays and films pass the Bechdel Test: two female-identifying characters who have a conversation with each other about something other than a man. Originally applied to film, The Bridge Initiative is using the test in assessing festival plays too.

Employing the Bechdel Test in the selection process ensures complex female characters, beyond the stereotypical girlfriend/wife/secretary roles. Judges this year also scored each submission on diversity.  As a result, characters onstage and screen for the festival range from teens at a group home to Icelandic snowboarders to an African American female ex-sheriff in northern Minnesota. Audiences will have opportunities to engage with the artists in talkbacks, Q&As, and an audition workshop led by Valley casting professionals who emphasize inclusivity and representation, including Betsy Mugavero of Southwest Shakespeare Company, Laura Durant of Durant Communications who regularly casts for Discovery ID, and Ralph Remington of Tempe Center for the Arts.

Festival plays were chosen through national contest with over 100 submission, films were picked in collaboration with the Worldwide Women's Film Festival. Two Arizona playwrights, full-length winner Susan Hansell and short winner Alison Campbell's writing will be featured as well as playwrights from Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City. Hansell and national winner Kira Rockwell are receiving development time in the Valley, giving them access to local professionals to develop their work. "I'm thrilled by the breadth and depth of the work. Our 2017 festival was so well received, I can't wait to share 2.0 with our audience," says artistic director Brenda Jean Foley. New this year, audience members will be invited to vote on the Best Play and Best Film awards to be presented Sunday afternoon.

Tickets on sale April 1st. Individual tickets $15 / $10 students/seniors (plus service fees). Full festival passes $35 / $25 students/seniors (no service fees - not available online; for sale at the box office in person or by phone 480-350-2822). Full schedule, creative teams, and synopses at The Bechdel Test Fest is made possible through grant funding provided by Arizona Commission on the Arts and Tempe City Government and support from Tempe Center for the Arts.. 

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