Fiona Jones Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

As a founding partner at Manhattan Theatre Source in 2000, I was really
dismayed by the amount of wildly talented women who lacked good
opportunities to share their work. I founded EstroGenius as an answer to that
frustration so I’ve been involved from the start. The first year, it was just two
weeks of short plays, live music & an art show. The festival has certainly
grown since those early days!

2. What position are you in this year?

For the past few years, I’ve been serving largely in an advisory capacity though
our company, Dream Out Loud Media, made the fundraising video this year. I
was EstroGenius Executive Producer for many years, but stepped away in part
to help build Dream Out Loud Media with my husband, Jon Ecklund. I was
also, frankly, a bit burned out and pretty exhausted. I am so grateful for Jen
Thatcher who has done an amazing job as Executive Producer and improved
the festival on so many levels without losing any of the spirit. Her leadership
has helped EstroGenius develop in ways I couldn’t have accomplished:
strengthening the organization, bettering the selection process and building
a very strong creative team. Her energy, artistry and dedication are awe-
inspiring.

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

There is so much to be excited about this year ~ a larger, nicer venue, the new
rep schedule, a fantastic, diverse team putting it all together. Strong work is always the most rewarding thing about the festival to me. I just love discovering new talent each year, as well as looking forward to what our trusted veterans contribute.

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

This year, I think my biggest challenge will be finding the time to see
everything! Obviously, the short plays are the festival centerpiece but so much
wonderful work goes on as well in Sola Voce, Women in Motion, Stand Up
for Estro, Project Girl, the live music, incredible visual art….it’d be a shame to miss any of it!

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

I’m tempted to make some kind of “binders full of women” joke here, but I
suspect we’ve heard enough of that! How about: ‘The Lucky 13 EstroGenius
Evolution: A Celebration of Female Voices Offering Something for Everyone!”

 

 

Jill Annitto Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

I started back in March helping interview interns.

2. What position are you in this year?

I’m working with Malini on Marketing and PR.

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

I’m looking forward to the short-play program.

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

Bringing in new audiences. I think Estro has quite a following and brings back audiences year after year.

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

This year is lucky 13!

Malini Singh McDonald Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

My first show with the EstroGenius Festival was as director of the short play Origin by Elizabeth Irwin in 2011.

2. What position are you in this year?

I am currently the Marketing Director for the Festival.

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

I am thrilled about the festival being in a new space at the TBG Theatre. Especially after losing our home on MacDougal Street. I respect this group of artists who were determined to go on with the festival instead of throwing the towel into the fire pit. These are warriors for sure.

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

I think the biggest challenge for me is thinking outside the box in terms of marketing the festival to a wide audience. Our festival includes a wide variety of genres (art, theater, dance, stand-up comedy, teen performances) so we really have to reach, simply, everyone.  It’s been a good challenge as there are so many ways to reach out (social networking, press, blogs, etc.). I have been having a blast!

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th Anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

“Come see what 13 years of commitment to women in the arts has produced!”

 

 

Amber Sloan Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

In 2009, I was paired with fellow choreographer, Esther Palmer, to create a new dance piece for the festival.  I had a wonderful experience working under Melissa Riker, and loved the organization’s mission. So, when she asked if I wanted to come on as a producer in 2010, I had zero hesitations.

2. What position are you in this year?

Since 2010, I have served as a co-curator and producer for the dance program of the EstroGenius Festival.

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

I’m excited that the dance portion of the festival will be in the same theater as the rest of the groups. In the past, the dance performances were held in alternative spaces because our location on MacDougal Street was too small for dance. Now that the festival has relocated to TBG, we’re able to present dance alongside all the other genres. I am also super excited about the two choreographers we have chosen to be a part of this year’s festival. We recently had a development showing to see the pieces in their current stages and I promise the audience will have an amazing experience.

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

In previous years, we’ve had four choreographers on the program. With only two on the bill this year, we will have to work harder in the marketing department to fill our houses.  Fundraising is also a constant challenge but after several years of seeing what works best, we are finally getting into a groove and working to raise the money year round.

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

Women choreographers have all the right moves!!

Kia Rogers Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

In 2006, I was working on a fringe show and met Amber Estes. I was new to New York City and wanted to connect with theatre companies, so I invited her out for lunch. We talked about theatre opportunities in the city and how hard it is to network when you’re new, and about her work on a women’s theatre festival in October that needed volunteers. Would I be interested in joining? She then told me all about Manhattan Theatre Source, how it got started, the plays that they produced and the people behind it all. I jumped at the chance to design one of the weeks in the festival. The minute I walked in the door I felt like I was home. The festival was amazing, and my week was full of talent. I met my best friend, Irene Carroll, who was my stage manager. I still design for one of my directors in bigger venues, and I see some of my actors from that week, onstage and around town! The following year, I asked if I could take on more responsibilities, and became the lighting director, as well as designing and I am proud to say this will be my 7th year!!!

2. What position are you in this year?

This year I am the lighting director and designing the rep plot for the new space. Since we have theatre, stand up and dance, I have to design something flexible and friendly. The new space offers more choices and more equipment so this year each area will have more options, which means better story telling!

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

The new space! It’s bigger in size and equipment. The location is great and there is a
good vibe about the theatre. But mostly, I am excited to see all the new work and talent that this year is bringing!!! It will be amazing!

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

As the lighting director, it is always a challenge to offer all the choices needed to tell
each story. We produce 20 plays, stand up, music and dance in one space, with one
lighting plot. It all happens in the blink of an eye, so having great designers and stage managers is paramount. We have all those things, so bring on the challenges…we got it covered!

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

Women Create Power: EstroGenius 2012

 

 

Esther M. Palmer Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

My introduction to the festival was as a choreographer. In 2009, I was commissioned
to co-create a dance work with Amber Sloan. The following year
producer Melissa Riker invited Amber and me to return as co-producers for the 2010 show and of course I said “Yes!”

2. What position are you in this year?

I’ve continued on as co-producer of the Women in Motion dance concert
since 2010. 2012 is my third year teaming up with Amber and Melissa,
and our second year with our fourth co-producer Anne Zuerner. It’s been a blast
every year!

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

I’m excited for our two-choreographer format and that these
artists are returning to old works and digging deeper. It’s exciting
to watch the process of upturning something familiar to ask new
questions –about the work, the creative process, and the “result”
that they put on stage. It’s also my first year putting Women in
Motion on the same stage as the rest of the festival shows and I’m
really looking forward to being in the thick of it with everyone!

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

Keeping up with the day-to-day push to get folks to know about
WiM/EstroGenius and come see the awesome show we’re putting on! With
so many projects going on at once, I get easily sidetracked in my
promotional efforts and forget that show announcements don’t just
float above my head all day for all to see!

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

Dig deep with the women of EstroGenius, their work will take you to
new thoughts!

Heidi Russell Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

I participated as an artist in 2008 and 2009 and curated 2010 and 2011.

2. What position are you in this year?

I’m the Visual Art Curator.

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

I am very excited about helping take EstroGenius Festival to the next level with our new venue. The fact that Estro 13 will happen despite the loss of it’s traditional and historical space shows that the festival has developed into a solid entity with a life of its own. It will continue into the future, no matter what adjustments need to be made due to space/timing issues and other factors of producing in NYC. Introducing the festival to new artists and audiences is also very exciting.

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me as a curator will be choosing the limited number of artists that can participate due to the space restrictions for the visual art exhibition layout at this year’s location.

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

Estro Visual Art

Michael Bordwell Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

I have been working on the Estro Festival for the last three years. I have worked as an actor, Stage Manager, Submissions Coordinator among others. I have had the amazing opportunity to wear many hats on the festival which is fun for me because I am a male, and obviously missing the x chromosome. However, having been an active Sourcie or Tribe Member for many years, I am happy that the producers have seen my potential and honored me to work with them.  It is kind of fun to get emails that are addressed to “The EstroBabes and Mike!” – or to be considered an honorary EstroBabe.  It’s an honor because this festival is amazing.

2. What position are you in this year?

This year, I have again taken on the fun position of being the Submissions Coordinator.  This entails organizing all of the festival submissions into a series that allows panels of readers to review the plays, anonymously, and organize the process so that we can move through all the submissions (which, over the last three years, have been in the range of 275-325.) Organizing this can be a challenge because we operate on a tight turnaround table, but the systems I established have made it easy and pleasant for our readers.  This year, we switched to doing all of this electronically which was a new challenge, but one I feel I met head on.

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

I was excited to see how many submissions we received.  I was nervous that the festival might not receive as many submissions as we had in the past because this was the first year we asked for a submission fee. However, I was delighted to see that we did have so many submissions as well as a lot of positive feedback about being able to submit electronically. Many writers even noted that they were happy they could donate the funds to the festival that the usually would’ve spent on ink, paper and postage.

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was organizing all of the electronic submissions which, thankfully, went off without a hitch! Although, it got a little crazy at the end which taught me not to wait until the last minute to sort through the plays.  Also, I am thankful that I learned how to use Dropbox and EmailMeForm. These were programs I had never used/heard of before and now I am able to utilize them in my day job which is kind of exciting.

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

Who Runs The Theatre World????? EstroBabes!!!!! Come see for yourself!!!!!!!

Margaret Stockton Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

In 2007.

2. What position are you in this year?

This year, I am the assistant producer for Program C of the short plays.

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

I am really excited about the plays that make up the whole festival and, of course, especially those in Program C. The other excitement is the new larger space and having all aspects of the festival in one place.

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge will be keeping track of the schedule! In the past, each program was one week long, but this year we’re running the shows in rep.

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

You never know what new exciting play or performer you will see next on our stage.

 

 

Jen Thatcher Takes On THE ESTRO 5.

1. When did you start volunteering for the EstroGenius Festival?

I first got involved in 2006. I was an assistant producer to Jennifer Gordon-Thomas, an amazingly talented actress and director who was one of the short play producers that year.

2. What position are you in this year?

Since 2009, I have been the executive producer of the festival. In 2009, I shared that role with festival founder Fiona Jones. Then, in 2010, Fiona handed over the reins as she stepped away to ramp up her and her husband’s new business “Dream Out Loud.” (http://www.dreamoutloudmedia.com/)

3. What excites you about this year’s festival?

Well, first of all, I’m excited that we’re doing it at all. For our first 12 years, the festival was held at Manhattan Theatre Source’s former home at 177 MacDougal Street. Unfortunately, at the end of 2011, we had to give up that space—rising fixed costs and the bad economy conspired against us.

To be doing the festival at all this year is, I think, impressive and would not be possible without the absolutely amazing women who stepped forward to be part of the production team.

And, while it was VERY hard to say goodbye to our lovely 50-seat brick box theatre, it also gave us the opportunity to grow this year’s festival into a larger, midtown venue, TBG Theatre. We have 99 seats, better lighting and sound equipment, and a really convenient location.

The move gave us the opportunity to re-think every component of the festival, and so we’ve done some tweaking: each program of short plays is getting nine performances instead of five, which means we can register for the NY Innovative Theatre Awards ; we’re doing the shows in rep format which hopefully will entice reviewers; each sola voce is getting two performances instead of one; Women in Motion is able to perform at the same venue (the performance space on MacDougal was really too small for dance)…those are at the top of my head, but the list goes on. The festival has always been great, we’re just doing some fine-tuning to make it even better.

4. What do you feel will be your biggest challenge?

As Executive Producer of the festival and Executive Director of Manhattan Theatre Source, my eye is always on the finances. In past years, the festival had really minimal upfront costs: we auditioned and rehearsed in our own audition/rehearsal room; we didn’t need to put down a deposit on our own space; we had a prop and costume collection; etc. I paid the festival expenses (and the Source’s expenses for that month) out of ticket revenues. Now, with no home base, we had to put a substantial deposit on the venue and have another large installment coming on November 5th. We also have to rent audition and rehearsal space.  This is why we had to charge a submission fee this year for the first time ever and why we are currently running an IndieGoGo campaign. Please check out the campaign (http://www.indiegogo.com/estrogenius): there’s a cool little video done by Dream Out Loud. (I’m in it, but you can fast forward through that part.)

5. What is your tagline to an unknown audience for the 13th anniversary of the EstroGenius Festival?

EstroGenius…13 years young and bigger and better than ever!