Women Artists
Writing Group

 
 

We are a diverse group of mid-career female actresses and theatre artists who are expanding their artistry through writing. 

Our purpose is to meet the whole female theatre artist where she is as a writer, providing resources and support as she works to either discover her own voice or works towards completing a writing project. Writing gives agency to female theatre artists, who attest to its powerful liberating effect on all aspects of their individual artistic selves.

 
 

Click the video above to learn more about the WAW from co-founders Mary Bacon and Heidi Armbruster.

 
 
The best way to empower women is to celebrate their accomplishments and listen to what they have to say. By doing so, we are able to experience our shared humanity. That is the power of all great theatre for me, and gets at the heart of what we mean we say we produce ‘theatre that matters.’
— Dina Janis, Artistic Director
 

HISTORY

Dorset Theatre Festival’s Women Artists Writing Group began with a writing retreat in August 2016. A group of six women spent three days writing, sharing pages at the end of each day, and holding a small final presentation of their selected pages  in Dorset Theatre Festival’s Gallery Cafe for artistic staff and subscribers.

Heidi Armbruster and Mary Bacon wanted to start a writers group for actresses. Mary saw one of Heidi’s plays at Chautauqua Theater Company while she was performing in a Molly Smith Metzler play at CTC. The two were cast in a reading together the following spring, and they began discussing their mutual want to create support and space for their writing. The pair’s initial aim was to host a personal retreat, but as Mary has close ties to Dorset Theatre Festival and had seen the company blossom under Dina Janis’s artistic leadership, Mary approached Dina about lending the pair institutional support. After Mary’s initial email about establishing a women artists writing group retreat at Dorset, Dina and then-Managing Director Molly Hennighausen wrote back, “YES. This is what we should be supporting!” 


WAW in NYC

After the first retreat at Dorset Theatre Festival, Heidi and Mary wanted to continue the group and involve more women. Currently, the group meets twice a month at Primary Stages in New York City and has expanded to include two annual retreats in Dorset. In 2018 the group had their first public presentation in NYC, Pages in Process, presented in conjunction with Primary Stages and the Einhorn School of Performing Arts.

UPCOMING: Dorset Theatre Festival will present the next WAW public reading titled, SANCTUARY, in NYC on May 20.

MEET THE GROUP

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Heidi Armbruster (WAW CO-FOUNDER) is a New York based theater artist dedicated to creating new work and discovering new approaches to classical literature and theater. Heidi is a founding member and co-curator of Dorset Theater Festival’s Women Artists Writing, a group dedicated to supporting actresses who are writing and cultivating the emergence of diverse theatrical voices. Heidi developed her play Mrs. Christie at a workshop at Primary Stages in Spring of 2019, with DTFWAW, and at residencies at The Orchard Project in 2016 and 2018.  Heidi’s play Murder Girl has been workshopped recently by Red Caravan and The Playwriting Collective.  In 2015, Heidi was a member of Space on Ryder Farm’s resident writers group, The Working Farm.  Every Good Girl Deserves Fun (and other misremembered things), a commission from Clutch Productions, was produced in New York in the fall of 2015 at Walker Space.  Where the I Divides was recently read by San Francisco’s ReACT.  Heidi’s play Dairyland has been read and workshopped at Playhouse on Park, Primary Stages ESPADrills, The Lark, Red Fern Theater, Luna Stage, and was selected as the New Play Workshop at The Chautauqua Theater Festival in 2014.  Her short play Purgatory was read as part of Red Bull Theater’s First 2011 Short Play Festival and published by Smith and Kraus in their Best Ten Minute Plays of 2013 anthology and the recently released Red Bull Shorts Anthology. Miss Angela’s Legitimate Home for Women Living in Sin was performed as part of the ESPA short play series “Detention” at Jimmy’s 43 and is available on Indie Theater Now.

As an actress, Heidi has extensive New York and regional theater credits, including Time Stands Still on Broadway, Lincoln Center’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced, the New York premieres of Sam Hunter’s Lewiston/Clarkston at Rattlestick, Anna Ziegler’s Boy at Keen Company, Tracy Letts’ Man from Nebraska at Second Stage, and Theresa Rebeck’s Poor Behavior at Primary Stages.  Heidi was awarded a Drama League Nomination for her work in the Keen Company’s revival of Tea and Sympathy.  Heidi’s Film and TV credits include Poor Behavior, My Man Is A Loser, Michael Clayton, Revolutionary Road, The Northern Kingdom, Daredevil, Divorce, Louie, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, 30 Rock, House of Cards, and Michelle on Darren Star’s TVLand hit Younger.

Heidi received her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.   

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Mary Bacon (WAW CO-FOUNDER) Mary Bacon:

Productions with DTF: “Outside Mullingar” and Theresa Rebeck’s “The Scene” with Tim Daly, “Mauritius”, and “The Novelist” with Michael Cristofer. Broadway: Rock N’ Roll, Arcadia. Off-Broadway: Charles Busch’s “The Tribute Artist”, Horton Foote’s “Harrison, TX” ,  and Lucinda Coxon’s “Happy Now” with Primary Stages; “Giant” at the Public; “Days to Come” and Lortel and Drama Desk nominated  “Women Without Men” and “The Madras House” at The Mint; “Becky Shaw”, Second Stage; “Eccentricities of A Nightingale”, “The Late Christopher Bean” and “Happy Birthday” with TACT. Regional includes: “The Widow Lincoln”, Ford’s Theatre; “Just like Us”, Denver Center;  “Children” Westport Playhouse/ Williamstown Theatre Festival; “Crimes of the Heart”, McCarter; “Don Juan”, Seattle Rep/The McCarter/ The Old Globe; Molly Smith Metzler’s premiere of “The May Queen”, Chautauqua Theatre Festival and others.

TV/FILM: Blacklist, Madam Secretary, Elementary, Donny!, Law and Order SVU, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, Mildred Pierce,  Jonny Zero, Third Watch, PBS’s American Experience, Nickelodeon’s The Gaveltons. BFA from Carnegie Mellon. Member of The Actors Center. Founding member and co-chair with Heidi Armbruster of DTF’S Women Artists Writing.

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Michelle Bossy (WAW Associate Director) is a Mexican-American theater and film director.  Films Michelle has directed include 18 (premiere, Austin Film Festival), She Grinds Her Own Coffee (St. Louis International Film Festival), and The New 35 (St. Louis International Film Festival, LA Comedy Festival, Atlanta Shorts Fest, Burbank International Festival, among others).  She directed music videos for the band Yassou and singer/songwriter Brooke Josephson.  Michelle directed the web series There’s a Special Place in Hell for Fashion Bloggers, and the pilot of TeleMamas. Recent films include Friendly Neighborhood Coven, Stag Party, The Crossing, Ladies Lounge, and Miracle Baby.  Theater Michelle has directed in New York and internationally includes Lady MacBeth and Her Lover, There and Back, Sex with Strangers, Every Good Girl Deserves Fun, Sex of the Baby, Cloven Tongues, Un Plugged In, South Beach Rapture, and Sarajevo’s Child.  She directed the world premiere of Little Monsters and co-created the musical High School Confidential for Primary Stages. Michelle was the Associate Artistic Director of Primary Stages, where she worked for thirteen years.  She holds the first undergraduate directing degree from Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts. Michelle teaches for the Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA), NYU, and Syracuse University's Tepper Semester. Member: Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and SDC. www.MichelleBossy.com

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Jessica Bauman (WAW Associate Director) is a director, teacher and occasional producer. Recent projects include "Arden/Everywhere," her re-imagining of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" as a refugee story, which she produced in New York City with an international cast of both professional actors and non-professionals from the refugee and immigrant communities in NYC. She has directed and developed new work with New Georges, Soho Rep, Portland Stage Company, Amphibian Stage Productions, Berkshire Playwrights Lab and many others. She is thrilled and grateful to be part of the DTF WAW community of fierce women artists.


Current Group Members: Heidi Armbruster, Mary Bacon, Carolyn Baeumler, Michelle Beck, Maggie Bofill, Twinkle Burke, 
Mathilde Dratwa, Donna Eis, Laura Gomez, Mary Hodges, Elizabeth M Kelly, 
Sharahn LaRue, Mariana Newhard, Dale Soules, Michelle Bossy, Jessica Bauman.

Want to learn more?

Email the group at dtfwaw@dorsettheatrefestival.org.
Membership in the group is by invitation only. We are not currently accepting new members.