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Arts, Sports & Culture

Women Artists Come Together for Pittsburgh SWAN Day 2012

Dozens of women artists from across the Pittsburgh region will gather on the North Side this week for a one-of-a-kind production.

SWAN Day Pittsburgh 2012 will bring together female poets, playwrights, visual artists, musicians, and other artists at the New Hazlett Theater on Thursday and Friday night.

SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now) was founded in 2008, and is celebrated in hundreds of cities worldwide.

The No Name Players theater company is producing the fourth annual edition of SWAN Day in Pittsburgh. This year's event was named one of seven "international partners" by SWAN Day's founding members.

"You have all these artists getting together that don't usually get to share a stage or perform together," said Tressa Glover, managing director of the No Name Players. "Dancers and poets and theater artists and visual artists, we don't all usually get to get together. It almost crackles, the energy of it."

All of this year's artworks will be world premieres from regional female artists; the only men in the show are those needed for male roles in theater or dance routines.

Interesting Inspiration

The works of art were inspired by the words of women across Pennsylvania. The No Name Players traveled as far as Philadelphia and Johnstown to talk with almost 40 women for the project.

"We interviewed women of all ages, all backgrounds, whatever they wanted to talk about. We filmed these interviews, and then we gave this footage to all of these local women artists, and said, 'Please, create something new. Create a world premiere work using this as inspiration,'" said Glover. "So, everything you're going to see at SWAN Day Pittsburgh 2012 is a world premiere inspired by the thoughts and voices of women from all across Pennsylvania."

Each artist was inspired by something different within the footage, according to No Name Players artistic director Don DiGiulio.

"One of the interesting ones this year, one of the creating artists told me that what inspired them was the breath the women took before they answered," said DiGiulio. "In that moment on their faces when they were trying to decide what their answer was going to be, that's what inspired her. So it can be anything."

The footage totaled dozens of hours. The artists received the film in November and had until this Wednesday to create their works — except playwrights, who needed to submit in early February to allow time for casting and rehearsing. Each performance is limited to ten minutes.

Tickets are available at the No Name Players website for $20; admission costs $25 in cash at the gate. SWAN Day Pittsburgh 2012 begins at 8:00 PM on both Thursday and Friday night at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side.