The Weird Sisters Women’s Theater Collective is a group of women in Austin, Texas dedicated to promoting women in the arts. The Collective embraces the feminist ideology of collaboration; each participant is encouraged to use her voice. The collaborative approach, in an all-female and so more risk-free setting, empowers women. The Weirds explore feminism and theater through theater productions, readings, lectures, salons, and parties throughout the year. Our process has been one of continual exploration. Come explore with us!
A Manifesto for the Weird Sisters Women’s Theater Collective
Est. 2004 — Austin, Texas
WEIRD: We mean WEIRD in its original sense: wayward. We challenge the status quo, for we know that most theater drifts and defaults to old, hegemonic ways of interpreting, casting, directing, and producing. Although we appreciate the rich language and spare trappings of Shakespeare’s theater, as well as our avant garde heritage with its experimental pioneering, we abhor the general exclusion and objectification of women in those traditions. Instead, we celebrate women—female artists, and even fictitious female characters who shape our understanding of real-live women—who have been silenced or vilified as a result of pervading, institutionalized sexism. Theater is where we expose, try, and condemn misogyny. It is also our healing place where loss can be restored, lives can be revived, and stories can be re-imagined.
SISTERS: As SISTERS, we maintain equal status; however, in this nurturing, feminist space our roles freely shift, allowing us to explore all sides of our womanhood: girl, wife, mother, lover, crone, girlfriend, daughter, fairy godmother, and goddess. This sisterhood inspires and frees us to create alongside other feminists. As ideal sisters, we learn to be trustworthy, caring, committed, and open-minded.
WOMEN’S: We welcome WOMEN of all ages, colors, sizes, and abilities. We are pro-female and certainly not anti-male. Our many male allies understand the need for women’s theater; they support us, revel with us, and work alongside us to produce female-centric events. We do not promote any particular or narrow feminist agenda, but one that is encompassing. All feminists are welcome here – many waves, various sexualities, diverse cultures, numerous backgrounds, and an array of beliefs.
THEATER: We love live theater because it is never static or fixed, allowing us freedom to live and play in the dynamic present. Together we revel in the protean opportunity this medium affords. Because we are here in Central Texas, U.S.A. , our THEATER is spelled with an “er” rather than a pretentious “re,” which positions it in “high culture.” Wherever women are, we encourage them to claim their right to theater and community. We are committed to our tolerant and generous local audience, whose support, attention, and participation are essential to what we do. Our audience are welcome members of the collective because we aim our art toward a broad community, not merely a tiny cognoscente of like-minded people.
COLLECTIVE: We enjoy making theater, but the most crucial thing that brings us together is the company of powerful, adventurous, wise women, with whom we foster strong, deep relationships. Here, we express ourselves, free of gender oppression. Within this intense support system, we enjoy mutual mentorship and are rejuvenated by new people, new jokes, new characters, new skills, new ideas, and new places. This mutuality transfers to our audience, who gain something new as well. Stardom has no place in our collective; this is rather a galaxy where each entity shines uniquely and equally. We pool our resources so that no playwright, director, dramaturg, technician, or actor carries more importance than anyone else in our plays; nor are our salons for the glorification of any individual speaker or scholar, but rather for sharing of questions, talents, and discoveries.