VCU Theater group project focuses on women’s issues

Starting with a small group of people in 1997, the Women’s Project of Theatre VCU continues to expand today throughout the campus and community. Its main focus centers around “female-engined plays,” but Janet Rodgers, the group’s faculty adviser, said even though these plays focus on women, many have roles for men, too.

“It’s good to have new faces at our meetings,” Rodgers said. “I encourage everyone to attend our meetings and audition for our plays even if (they) are not a theater major.”

To involve the community in its projects, the group conducts panel discussions after their performances. One recent play concerned eating disorders. Since it was body awareness week on campus, it gave students an opportunity to become involved in the women’s project.

“It was a lively discussion that brought people together,” Rodgers said. “The idea is to bring together people who are interested in theater.”

Students sometimes meet the playwrights of the productions they performed. For instance, author Merle Feld will be at VCU in late April when they perform “Across The Jordan.”

“While on campus,” Rodgers said, “Feld may give a lecture or conduct a workshop for those interested.”

Anyone can attend a weekly meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesdays in the W.E. Singleton Center for Performing Arts During these meetings the Kernel, which is a student advisory board, decides the plays that should be performed and solicits suggestions from students who want to act or direct in any of the plays.

“I enjoy discussing what will be performed next,” Valerie Schwartz, a senior said. “New ideas are always welcomed.”

All VCU students can voice their opinions on upcoming events.

It’s the mix of ideas that helps the group and Rodgers learn which shows the community would like to see VCU offer.

“It’s fun to check out the new talent at each audition,” said Kate Hinton, a senior who has been involved with the recent productions.

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