Ohio University

Trans [Plays] of Remembrance Festival to be held virtually Nov. 16 to 18

Published: November 10, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University’s LGBT Center and Women’s Center are among the co-sponsors for the virtual Trans [Plays] of Remembrance Festival, to be held on Nov. 16, 17 and 18, 2020, with performances streaming at 7 p.m. EST. 

The Trans [Plays] of Remembrance Festival celebrates trans digital performers, theater-makers and poets from across the United States, featuring three nights of short plays written by up-and-coming trans playwrights and roundtable discussions with playwrights, actors and community members.

The festival is curated by Ohio University School of Theater student Luke Woodward, with support from Wendy-Marie Martin, Ph.D. student in interdisciplinary arts/theater.

The festival’s guest director is Jo Michael Rezes, a third-year Ph.D. theatre and performance studies candidate at Tufts University.

“The festival is very important; there’s nothing else like it in American theater right now. I just want to highlight some phenomenal trans* theater-makers and share trans* stories and experiences,” said Woodward, a fifth-year B.F.A. playwriting major.

Martin provided key support in organizing and securing funding for the festival. 

"Back in the fall of 2019, Luke and I talked about the lack of representation of trans theater artists and festivals in the United States. I suggested they create a festival at Ohio University. Luke took the idea and ran with it, securing our amazing guest director, Jo Michael Rezes, and assembling a team of trans and ally theater artists. Together, Luke and Jo and their collaborators are creating more than just a theater festival. They are making space for trans voices through the global HowlRound livestream and creating community amongst trans theater artists nationwide,” Martin said.

With a team built with collaborators from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and from Tufts University in Boston, Mass., the short play festival defies physical distance and will be streamed globally through HowlRound TV.

“We are proud to support this digital festival,” said Dr. Jan Huebenthal, assistant director of the OHIO LGBT Center. “The hard work that Luke has expended on this project, together with their collaborators, highlights the immense creative and intellectual talents of our trans students here at OHIO.”

The festival coincides with Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance. Observed annually on Nov. 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the memory of the many trans-identified people, most of color, whose lives are too often lost in acts of transphobic violence. The performances in this year’s festival will offer reflections on themes of Coming-of-Age (Nov. 16), Trust (Nov. 17), and World-Making (Nov. 18).

"While COVID-19 has presented many challenges, the Trans [Plays] of Remembrance Festival represents the incredible creativity and dedication of organizers to provide virtual engagement to uplift the LGBTQ+ community at a time in which it is far too easy to be isolated. We are absolutely delighted to be one of the many co-sponsors supporting this initiative to bring these powerful experiences to light and amplify voices of our trans community,” said MaryKathyrine Tran, assistant director of the Women's Center.

The event will also offer students a unique opportunity to explore a wide range of trans experiences, identities and emotions.

"This festival is so dear to me because this is one of the few spaces where I feel like I can genuinely dive into the nuances of living while trans,” said Andy Figuero, a fourth-year performance major who will be one of the festival’s actors. “No one has to explain themself and how they fit into the perceived notions of the trans experience. Here is genuine and unapologetic trans love, grief, fury, romance and joy."

In addition to Ohio University’s LGBT Center and Women’s Center, other co-sponsors include Tufts University Department of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies and the Tufts University LGBT Center, with additional support from the Ohio University School of Theater and the College of Fine Arts Visiting Scholar Fund.

Click here for more information and links to attend performances.

OHIO School of Theater students involved in the Trans [Plays] of Remembrance Festival are:

  • Luke Woodward (Creator/Curator/Dramaturg)
  • Amiens Fowler (Co-Dramaturg)
  • Annie Beller (Stage Manager)
  • Mason Sams (Sound Designer)
  • Gabe Hrin (Lighting Designer)
  • Andy Figueroa (Actor)

For more information on the playwrights and casts, visit https://transplaysofremembrance.weebly.com.