on her shoulders
ON HER SHOULDERS was founded in 2013 to present rehearsed, staged readings of plays by women from across the spectrum of time, with contemporary dramaturgs contextualizing them for modern audiences. The program was incorporated into New Perspectives' Women's Work Project in 2014 and continues to strive to make it impossible for producers and theatre companies to deny or ignore the 1,000-year history and value of women's contribution to the theatrical canon. To date the program has presented 47 plays by 37 writers from circa 965 to 1970. OHS is produced by Melissa Attebery and Melody Brooks. Kristin Heckler is Associate Producer.
The Play in Context, the dramaturgical and scholarly presentation component to the program, is sponsored in part by the League of Professional Theatre Women, a non-profit organization promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in theatre since 1982.
ON HER SHOULDERS was created by Susan Jonas in association with the New School for Drama in May 2013. Jonas was joined by playwright Andrea Lepcio, and actor Lillian Rodriguez in the initial phase of the program. NPTC took over the program that November. The first season, curated by Jonas, offered 10 plays. To accommodate continuing research (especially seeking culturally diverse writers) and tighter schedules at the New School, we now offer four events per season. Through May of 2019 OHS has presented 45 plays by 37 writers from the years ca 965 to 1970, and special events on theatre women in the Suffrage and Radical Theatre Movements.
A book covering the first 3 years was published in 2017 and disseminated to theatre students, practitioners, and historians as an educational tool. We also donated copies to college theatre teachers and to companies that specialize in the "classics" to encourage plays by women. A revised version of the book is in process to bring it up to date, and will be available in fall 2019.
Play readings occur every month with works from classic female playwrights. With an artistic team of actors, directors, and dramaturgs, we secure the space and market the event. For each reading we also find a specialist on the woman playwright being presented, and they speak to the audience before the events.