Nothing But Women Directors for WAM’s 2018 Season

by Talya Kingston
WAM Associate Artistic Director

You probably already know that WAM Theatre produces plays by female writers, but did you know that we also prioritize hiring female directors?

Hiring female directors in an important part of WAM Theatre’s continued effort to champion women in leadership roles and a way of bucking a national trend where theatres hire female directors an average of 33% of the time (and often for their smaller or less significant productions).  

We asked our 2018 Fresh Takes directors what draws them to this role.
“I feel most myself in the rehearsal room- it’s the space in which I can fully channel my passion for creativity, leadership, and collaboration. For me, WAM has become an artistic home that provides not only the opportunity and space to exercise this passion, but to do so in an environment that celebrates the strength and diversity of women’s voices. It’s an inspiring place to take part in creating theater.” – Kelly Galvin (director of The Virgin Trial)
Talya Kingston directing Stephanie Carlson, Kelsey Flynn, and Rachel Siegel in the 2018 Fresh Takes Reading of “Swallow” by Steph Smith. Photo by David Dashiell.
“Directing allows me to be at the center of a collaborative effort to move a story into three dimensional form in time and space. I find it exhilerating and empowering!” – Talya Kingston (director of Swallow)
Molly Clancy Merrihew directing the cast of the 2018 Fresh Takes Reading of “Honor Killing” by Sarah Bierstock. Photo by David Dashiell.
“I believe storytelling has the power to change the world. As a director I’m able to use my passion for the theatre, strength of communication, and creative vision to become the catalyst for change. In the rehearsal room, on the stage and as audience members we are asked to question the things we know to be true and to participate in a story that is not our own. Through this process we challenge our own perspectives, engage our empathy for others and explore the complexities of the human spirit. As a director, I am most excited by new work, contemporary plays, or re-imagined classics that challenging us to think outside the box and question our societal norms. I crave stories with themes of political, global and social impact; and seek out works driven by female artists. As a theatre maker I feel a responsibility to create space for diversity in our collective storytelling, and hope to contribute to our industry closing gender gaps in the theatre.” – Molly Merrihew (director of Honor Killing)


“As a director in 2018 we have a responsibility to make sure the work we produce is not tone deaf when it comes to our current political and social climate. I think we as directors have a unique opportunity to lift all voices throughout the process and now is a crucial time where we must listen, take in information and synthesize it in a way that maintains not only the artistic integrity of a work, but our integrity as human beings who are charged with leaving the world a better place than we found it. ” – Dawn Simmons, director for Pipeline 
and Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven (who is directing our production of Ann and our reading of Escaped Alone) reminded us that:
“My art is my politics. Telling stories about people and issues I believe in is my way of being a change-maker.”