Philadelphia’s Women Tell Stories of The City of Sisterly Love at the 5th Annual Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival

Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival


This year’s Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival (PWTF) marks 5 years of celebrating the voices of women, female-identifying, trans, and nonbinary individuals. This year’s theme, “This is OUR Philadelphia” showcases Philadelphia women playwrights, telling the story of the women who have shaped this great city with four days of performances at Arden Theatre Company’s Hamilton Family Arts Center (62 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106). Tickets are available for individual performances, or you can purchase a Festival Pass for four days of unlimited access. Bring the kids to our family-friendly performances of Margot & Mr. Fog August 3rd and 4th at 2pm. Plus, on Saturday, August 3rd, at 5pm, take advantage of our childcare performance of The Big Idea Committee, which runs concurrently with Esther Choi and the Fish That Drowned, so the whole family can all enjoy a night of edifying theatre. Buy individual tickets. | Buy festival passes.


PWTF kicks off on Thursday, August 1st with an evening of one-acts beginning at 8pm. Ring Shout! by Teresa Miller tells the story of four African American Women who travel to Philadelphia to bury their deceased grandfather and honor him in his traditional African Christian dance called the “ring shout.” Relays by Marissa Kennedy explores self-doubt, growth, change, and self-talk while following high school track stars with dreams of winning tri-state wide Penn Relays. Set in 19th Century Philadelphia, Sarah’s Poem by Charissa Menefee shows three African American sisters as they advocate for abolition and the vote–and secretly run an Underground Railroad station.


The Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts (PAAL) in conjunction with PWTF celebrates International Mother Artist Day on Friday, August 2nd. International Mother Artist Day recognizes the contributions of all caregiver-artists who balance their art and the responsibilities of child-rearing, and advocates for better working conditions. Using #MomsCan and #IntlMotherArtistDay, join us in sharing stories of the joys and struggles of those artists striking that balance every day—post your own photos or use the hashtags to highlight a mother-artist you admire! At 7:15pm, PWTF will present the Story Changers Award, which recognizes women whose leadership has made a difference in the lives of the marginalized in their community. Following the award ceremony, join us for a toast to 5 years of Philly Women’s Theatre Fest! On Friday evening, Badlands by Norah Leahy takes the stage, where the audience will follow three library employees in the heart of “The Badlands” (one of the largest open-air drug markets and shooting galleries on the East Coast) who have become first responders to the opioid crisis and witnesses to a changing neighborhood. Badlands examines what we owe to each other, and to the places we come from.


Bring the kids along to the Hamilton Family Arts Center Saturday on August 3rd for a 2pm performance of Margot & Mr. Fog with book and lyrics by Ann Marley and Music by Kevin Mucchetti. Kids will help Margot figure out why her dad won’t get out of bed! Margot is on a mission to get her dad up and playing, drink her first cup of coffee, and beat the world record for putting the most pairs of underwear on in 30 seconds. This children’s musical talks about mental health from the perspective of Margot, a 9-year-old girl, as she and her dad battle their inner monsters. Next up, at 5pm, see Esther Choi and the Fish That Drowned by Stephanie Walters, the story of Esther Choi— your favorite all-American, overachieving-Asian teen…except she has a ghost. Anthony Gibson is Esther’s best friend and (spoiler alert) he’s dead. Mr. Choi is Esther’s grandfather and he owns a haunted dry cleaner on Cheltenham Ave. In an (un)likely turn of events, Esther must grapple with grief, loneliness, and winning first chair in high school orchestra, all while living up to her grandfather’s new expectations. Meanwhile, the kids can join The Big Idea Committee, which asks the question, “what’s Your Big IDEA? BIG thinkers small and tall get together to make plans for fun all year in this immersive and interactive theatre for young audiences experience, featuring children’s music by Christine Petrini & Melissa Brun. Together the Big Idea Committee goes on a musical journey of fun and games, adventure and innovation, acts of kindness, and, of course, song and dance! Committee Members– let’s call this meeting to order. All in favor, say “I”!


Zachary Hates Everything by Doriane Feinstein closes out the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival on Sunday August 4th at 5pm, following a 2pm repeat performance of Margot & Mr. Fog. Zachary is struggling to make it through his senior year of high school. After a Homecoming dance gone wrong, he is left with a hole in his memory and an eerily familiar song that won’t leave his head. He is visited by dead composers as his mind tries to piece together what happened that night.



PWTF fosters and encourages women in the performing arts by offering unique opportunities for exposure, professional, artistic and personal development and a platform for performance. We hope that by building a community of a diverse group of artists through the culmination of a citywide celebration, Philadelphia will become a national leader in recognizing the valuable influence women play in the arts, at the forefront of honoring the value of women’s contributions to storytelling, artistic advancement and creative innovation. By providing resources, support and a stage for exposure, PWTF fosters and encourages women in the arts of all disciplines: directors, playwrights, performers, designers, administrators and more. Through the development of this often-marginalized group of artisans, PWTF will usher in a new era of artistic voices, their distinct perspectives and otherwise untold stories. Visit for more information.



Arden Theatre Company- Hamilton Family Arts Center
62 N 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Thursday August 1st – Sunday August 4th

TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

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