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Where We Are Going: Maiden Phoenix Theatre Co. in Transition

Maiden Phoenix Theatre Co., a budding Boston Fringe Theatre company, began with the goal of “telling stories about women: where we are, where we were, and where we are going.” Their debut production Playhouse Creatures was performed at the Factory Theatre in Boston this summer, and was met with terrific feedback from audiences. But as the Boston Fringe Theatre world faces the closing of the Factory Theatre on October 31st, the community wonders: where is Maiden Phoenix going?
“We got a lot of great feedback from the Boston theatre community,” explained Erin Eva Butcher, Maiden Phoenix Theatre’s Artistic Director. “As soon as we put on Playhouse Creatures the big question was, ‘So what’s next? What are you doing next?’”
What’s next is finding a space to perform. Alyce Householter, Maiden Phoenix Theatre’s Managing Director, explained that a lot of Boston Fringe Theatre companies that had residency at the Factory Theatre were “taken under the wing” of other larger venues in Boston. Maiden Phoenix Theatre did not have a residency, and now faces the challenge of securing a space for their next production that is available and affordable.
For the time being, finding a space is the only real bump in the road. Maiden Phoenix Theatre is already prepping for their next project. It will be a new work, likely written by a local playwright. A call for submissions was put out on Stagesource.com and the New England Playwrights Facebook group. So far Maiden Phoenix has received twenty to twenty-five plays, and they’re still coming. But even with so many options, choosing a show that aligns with their mission isn’t easy.
“I think the biggest frustration has been a lot of plays about women focus on women’s issues,” said Butcher. “There’s a lot of abortion. There’s a lot of rape. Of course those are issues that we’re comfortable dealing with from time to time, but everything about the female experience isn’t about reproductive or sexual experiences.”
Danna Solomon, Maiden Phoenix Theatre’s Director of Finance added, “We don’t want to do a play where women are victims and that’s their story. Not all the stories are going to be empowering, because we’re about true stories. But some of them should be.”
All three women agree that feminism is best served through community and conversation, and the medium of theatre is an excellent spark. “I’ve always liked doing shows with purpose,” said Householter. “I like that you can take it home to your real life…We’re excited that people are just as excited as we are.”
In late March of 2015, keep an eye out for Maiden Phoenix Theatre’s fundraising party. Before Playhouse Creatures was cast, a variety show was held to raise funds for the production. Maiden Phoenix focused on collaborating with many different performance groups – musicians, comedians, and burlesque dancers – and featured them at their launch party. In anticipation of their projects in 2015, they hope to host a similar fundraising event in late winter.
Maiden Phoenix Theatre Co. accepts donations year-round via their website. For more information about future events and ways to contribute, visit maidenphoenix.org, or follow them on Twitter, @maidenphoenix.