Corkscrew Theater Festival has opened at the Paradise Factory on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Corkscrew Theater Festival is currently running at the Paradise Factory on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
(© Corkscrew Theater Festival)

Corkscrew Theater Festival, a joint collaboration between nonprofit theater collective The Brewing Dept. and Broadway producer Alexander Donnelly's Fortress Productions, has opened at the Paradise Factory, on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The ongoing event includes eight performances of five new plays in addition to a reading series of five plays in development. Its inaugural line-up includes productions with creative teams made up almost entirely of women and non-binary artists, a few of whom remark on how this festival for emerging artists is helping them cultivate their work.

While female and gender-nonconforming writers, producers, directors, and other artists in the theater industry often find less support for their work, Corkscrew embraces underrepresented talent. A Day in the Life's writer and performer Uzunma Udeh noted, "As a lady writer and a lady performer, it's important to me that anything I'm a part of supports our projects and perspectives by including us, and Corkscrew Festival has done just that."

Udeh's reading, which opened the Corkscrew festival on August 7, focuses on a day in the life of a black woman in America. "I wanted to welcome people into my perspective and truly embrace living a day in the life. Corkscrew has helped me to breathe this show to life."

Kaela Garvin, Katie Hathaway, Lilla Goettler, and Uzunma Udeh are the creators behind three of Corkscrew festival's productions at the Paradise Factory.
Kaela Garvin, Katie Hathaway, Lilla Goettler, and Uzunma Udeh are the creators behind three of Corkscrew festival's productions at the Paradise Factory.
(© Nantale Nsibirwa)

With High School Coven, a play about teenage girls forming a coven to cope with the stress of high school, writer Kaela Garvin has prioritized her own mission to support female and non-binary artists: "From our director to our actors to our design team, my production is women-led and non-male. I've been working with women and gender-nonconforming artists my entire career. If there's a theatrical position to fill, I think reaching out to other women, especially women of color, is the only way to go." Coven makes its Corkscrew debut August 9-20.

Also echoing these feelings are Katie Hathaway and Lilla Goettler, the creative minds behind Ex Habitus, a play about mogul friends who start an etiquette brand targeted at unrefined millennials. "We're so excited to finally participate in a festival that puts the creative reins in the hands of people of color, women, and queer artists," says Hathaway. "The Corkscrew team has been incredibly supportive of our process from the beginning and is dedicated to shaping and sharing stories from a diverse array of voices and perspectives which is so exciting." Ex Habitus will run at the Paradise Factory from August 23 to the final night of the festival on September 3.

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