The National Women's Theatre Festival

Hannah’s WTF Journey

Hey everyone!

My name is Hannah, and I am the Managing Director of The National Women’s Theatre Festival. It’s crazy to think that just three years ago, I was just getting introduced to this organization – and even crazier considering everything that has happened since.

When I first started my theatrical career, my focus was performance. I found myself traveling the country working regional contracts – and feeling like something was missing.  I noticed that so many theatres I was working or auditioning for just didn’t seem to support their actors. I wasn’t seeing anyone doing the work to create inclusive, equitable, and safe working environments. I thought to myself, “I bet I could do it better than that.” And thus my journey into arts administration began.

I first encountered NWTF through SETC in 2020, just weeks before the industry as we knew it changed. I was so excited about their upcoming summer Festival and started following them on social media so I could get involved – and wouldn’t you know it, in just a few months they posted a notice that they were looking for festival management apprentices for the summer.

But this wasn’t your normal opportunity. This was a COVID opportunity – one of the first. The National Women’s Theatre Festival was one of the FIRST organizations to produce digital programming at the start of the pandemic. At a time when it seemed that art wasn’t possible, they found a way. It was thrilling to be a part of a theatre doing work no one else was doing – both in terms of gender parity and in the digital space. 

Fast forward a few years, and here I am still, now as Managing Director and core team member. In my time with NWTF, I’ve seen this organization reach hundreds of theatre-makers around the world all with the goal of creating a more equitable environment for artists. I’ve seen the mission expand from binary gender parity into elevation and advocacy for all underrepresented genders in theatre. I’ve seen a fire in the eyes of the team to create work that tells stories most theatres aren’t telling: stories that uplift the voices of people of color, disabled artists and parent artists. NWTF truly cares about diversity in all forms. 

To be a part of NWTF is to be a part of a unique community of artists. NWTF strives to create a place for everyone, to put the needs of artists before anything else, and to own up to our mistakes and truly work to find the best way forward. This is an organization that will always ask you what you need. This is an organization that cares – that listens, responds, and constantly learns. This industry is changing, and working with NWTF at this time really feels like being a part of that change.

I can’t imagine what my career would look like now without the support and work of NWTF. Not only did they allow me and so many others opportunities to create theatre during one of the scariest times in recent history for the industry, but they also connected me with so many other incredible artists and organizations all over the country. 

That’s why I’m asking you today to support our End of Year fundraising campaign. 

Your support of The National Women’s Theatre Festival helps early-career artists just like me find their voice. NWTF creates a space to learn. To connect. To grow. To love. To support and create and unapologetically scream our truth. 

Your support provides mid-career artists a place to create work outside of the norm. To reconnect with their passions. To experiment with ideas and pared down ways of creating.

Your support provides long-time theatre professionals a home to return to. To learn from eager young minds. To share their experiences coming up and how the world has changed and the ways in which they hope it will keep changing. 

I feel very lucky to have found this organization when I did, and I can’t wait to see how we continue moving in the future. With Your support , 2023 is going to be an exciting year for NWTF! Thank you for reading my story. We hope to see you at the theatre soon.

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