Meet our new 2015 Partner Producers!

Holy COW – what a summer!  First I got married (yay!), then my husband and I taught a devised ensemble workshop, and then I had my thyroid removed

Suffice to say, it took me a little while to catch up.

But, now that things are simmering down (just in time for them to work their way back to a boil) and we’re in rehearsal for our Prescott, AZ production of the 2014 Planting the Seed Festival, I can start sharing some exciting news about our 2015 fest!

Are you ready?

We have three new Partner Producers signed on for the 2015 fest!  Which means we will have a total of at least eight semi-finalist/finalist readings this year!  (I say “at least” because I’m still in negotiations with a few more potential producers – yay!)

It’s super, super, super exciting and I want to share a little information about each of our new Partner Producers:

Theatre Unbound – Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

Theatre_UnboundTheatre Unbound delivers thought-provoking live theatre conceived and created by women, providing audiences with engaging, rarely-seen perspectives on issues that are relevant and universal.

I became familiar with Theatre Unbound through executive director and playwright Anne Bertram, who I had the distinct pleasure of meeting at the Great Plains Theatre Conference this past May.  Anne is awesome!  Her play, THE GOOD FIGHT, was the first play I saw at the conference and it made a huge impression on me!  The play tells the true story of Grace Roe, an early-twentieth-century English women’s suffrage activist, who organized a bodyguard of women trained in martial arts in order to protect the leaders of the militant suffrage movement.  Awesome!

Anne and I found ourselves gravitating towards several of the same readings, and after some delightful meals (which included the amazing Jennie Webb of LAFPI fame) I asked Anne if her company might be interested in working with us on our ONSTAGE Project.  I could barely contain my excitement when she said “Yes!”

Since it’s founding in 1999, Theatre Unbound has given production opportunities to 137 female directors, 435 female actors, 109 male actors, and 126 female playwrights from the 10th century to the 21st!  You can check out their website here–>Theatre Unbound <–

Amber Ryhne Hanel – Auburn, AL

Amber was one of the first people I met after we relocated to Waco last year. She was immediately welcoming, funny, and refreshingly cheery as she helped me navigate this strange new place called Texas.  So imagine my disappointment when I found out she was moving to Alabama this summer!  My loss was Little Black Dress INK’s gain, however, because Amber is totally excited to bring the festival to Auburn, AL!

Amber works throughout the Southeast region as a producer and director. She began working in the industry in Perth, Australia while completing her degree at the Western Australia Academy for Performing Arts. She co-founded Sculpted Entertainment. Since 2007, She and her business partner, Stephanie Icke have focused on bringing more theatre opportunities to local artists and communities. They have worked hard to ‘sculpt’ lives one production at a time. From 24 Hour Playwriting Festivals to educational tours dealing with bullying, Amber has enjoyed finding funding for projects that will positively affect audiences. She also enjoys producing murder mystery dinner theatre, packing houses every weekend as they run shows for public and private events! Sculpted Entertainment has recently moved their home office to Asheville, NC where they are excited to begin producing work in the region.

In 2008, Amber began working with youth theatre programs in North Louisiana, and then with the Waco Children’s Theatre in 2012. Teaching, directing, and marketing for the LSU Summer programs and Waco Children’s Theatre prepared her for the current work she is doing with the Rising Starz Performing Arts Academy in Auburn, Al.

Amber is thrilled to be involved with Little Black Dress INK’s Female Playwrights ONSTAGE  Project!

Charissa Menefee- Ames, Iowa

I first met Charissa four years ago when I attended a Tomorrow’ Theatre Tonight reading in Prescott, AZ.  Charissa is a playwright and professor who was then head of the theatre department at Prescott College.  She has since moved on to a fantastic faculty position at Iowa State, where she’s writing, teaching, directing, and just generally being her usual awesome and creative self.

Charissa has worked with Little Black Dress INK before as both a playwright and director, so it’s wonderful news to know that she’ll be helming a reading in Ames, Iowa.  We are SO excited to have Charissa on board as a Partner Producer this year 🙂

(*I’ll be updating this post with a more formal bio for Charissa soon!)

Theatre Unbound, Amber, and Charissa join our awesome and super talented returning partners, Kate Hawkes and Red Earth Theatre (Sedona, AZ), Kate Bergstrom (Santa Barbara, CA), Darcy Martin Rose (Ithaca, NY), and Mary Jo DuPrey (Los Angeles, CA).  I will be producing a semi-finalist reading in Waco, TX again this year as well.

And with that, it’s almost time to release this year’s submission guidelines!  Stay tuned, because we’ll be posting the guidelines sooooon!


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