4th Annual Short Women\'s Play Festival Kicks Off

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COLUMBIA - Last year Claudia Barnett, a playwright from a small town in Tenessee, was terrified on her visit to Columbia, MO. Now she's excited.

It's Barnett's second year to be featured as playwright in the Independent Actors Theatre's Short Women's Play Festival. The festival kicked off this Friday and will continue throughout the wekeend. Barnett says her ten minute play, "Lillie Meant Murder," is all about "gender roles" and about how "dancing is fun."

Barnett is among six women playwrights who are featured in the play festival. Along with the writers, everyone else involved in the production of event, excluding actors, are also women. The festival is planned in coordination with women's history month and celebrates women in theater.

"Women are writing great plays and lots of new wonderful plays," Barnett said at the openning of the festival Friday night. "And this is a great way to have them put on. So this is exciting."

The artistic director of the Independent Actors Theatre, Emily Rollie, says a lof of plays written by women do not get produced as often as those written by men.

"To right that imbalance and to keep things right in check I think is really important to think about," Rollie said.

Two other playwrights are in Columbia this weekend to see the production of their shows. The plays continue on Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 at the Bridge on East Walnut Street downtown.

(Amanda Sohaney/KOMU)