March ushers in a month long celebration of women in the arts during the 5th Annual Athena Project Arts Festival March 3 – April 9.  Experience a World Premiere Play, Evening of World Dance, Girls Create Celebration, a Mini Music Festival with Swallow Hill Music and our Plays In Progress Series. The festival kicks-off March 3 during the popular First Friday at the Santa Fe Arts district at the Carol Mier Fashion Boutique.

Athena Project Arts Festival will premiere The Wave That Set the Fire, a play by Ellen K. Graham at The Byron Theatre in the Newman Center for Performing Arts.  In a threadbare and not-so-distant future, 17-year-old Linden is accused of a terrible crime. When Petra, a government agent, arrives to investigate, Linden’s family—mother, father, uncle, aunt—struggle to reconcile their hopes for their boy with what constitutes justice in a damaged world.  Tickets are just $22.

New for 2017 a Mini-Music festival in partnership with Swallow Hill Music. The two day event features an open mic night for female singers and songwriters on March 23 and a songwriters circle boasting an intimate evening of art, learning, and connections on March 24. Both evenings include panel discussions.  The first consists of a panel of women who are working musicians in Denver, talking about their art, craft, and business followed by an Open Mic in the Quinlan Cafe that is especially for women/people who identify as women. The next night, in Tuft Theater, there will be a panel of music industry executives discussing bigger picture lessons and experiences about being a female in a male dominated executive world. Open mic night is free. Tickets to Songwriter Circle are: $13 for Swallow Hill Members, general public are $15 in advance and $17 at the door.  

The festival also features the three winning Plays In Progress.  The Plays In Progress Series is a play development workshop for female playwrights.  Playwrights submitted their work during last year’s festival, scripts were judged blindly and three of the strongest submissions were selected this past fall  to receive workshop-level productions produced by Athena Project.  Each play featured during the festival will get 2 workshop readings.  Workshop-level productions are designed with minimum sets, lights, sound, and props.  Actors stay on book in case there are last minute changes to the script but are not behind music stands as in a traditional staged reading.  Immediately following each reading the playwright receives critical feedback from audience and theatre professionals.  One of these playwrights will be chosen  to have their work fully produced by the Athena Project and will be featured during the 2018 festival. This year’s winners are Handcrafted Healing, by Nancy Beverly; Famous Last Words by Katherine Millet; and Beating a Dead Horse by Jennifer Stafford.  Tickets are $12.

We  will also present an Evening of Dance at Armstrong Center for Dance. Featuring local resident choreographers ranging in style from Modern and Post-Contemporary to Hula & Bollywood. We will look at how each choreographer’s background and different life experiences shape and infuse their work. What common human elements bring us together? What differentiates and make us unique? It will be an evening highlighting the rich diversity within our Denver community! This event will showcase some of Denver’s unique creative female talent as well as emerging choreographers.  Curated by Caitlin Brozna-Smith of Bella Diva Dance and Erin Anderson of Communitas. Tickets are $18.

Rounding out the month long celebration, a very special showcase of plays created by middle school girls during our Girls Create summer camp and a special table reading of the play Honor Killing.  Both of these events are free with a suggested donation of $10 to support the Girls Create Summer Camps going forward.

“I am amazed and incredibly proud that we are five years strong.  In five short years we’ve embraced, encouraged, and empowered so many female artists and given them a platform to let their artistic expressions shine.  I am grateful to the talent that Denver possesses and our ability (along with our partners and volunteers and team of passionate workers) to bring that talent to the forefront,” states Athena Project Founder and Executive Producer, Angela Astle.

Full schedule of events:

World Premiere of The Wave That Set the Fire a play by Ellen K. Graham, Directed by Hart DeRose
Dates:   March 10,11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31, and April 1, 7, 8, at 8pm
March 12, 19, 26 and April 2 and 9 at 2pm (Industry night, March 27 at 8pm)
Location:   The Byron Theatre in Newman Center for Performing Arts, 2344 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80210
All tickets will be on sale at http://festival.athenaprojectfestival.org/tickets/
Tickets: $22 for adults, $20 for students/seniors/military, $18 group discounts available for 8+ people

Evening of Dance at Armstrong Center for Dance
Date: Saturday, March 18 at 8pm
Location:  Armstrong Center for Dance, 1075 Santa Fe Dr, Denver, CO 80204
Tickets: $18 online at http://festival.athenaprojectfestival.org/tickets/ or by calling 303-219-0882.  $15 student/senior/military.

Mini Music Festival and Panel Discussions
Date: Thursday, March 23 (panel at 6:00pm) and Friday, March 24 at 8pm (panel at 6:30pm)
Location: Swallow Hill Music, 71 E Yale Ave, Denver, CO 80210
Tickets: March 23 is a free event.  March 24 tickets are $13 for Swallow Hill Members and $15 in advance or $17 at the door for all others. Panels are free. Available online at http://festival.athenaprojectfestival.org/tickets/

Girls Create Celebration
Date: Saturday, March 25 at 5pm
Location: The Byron Theatre in Newman Center for Performing Arts, 2344 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80210
There is no charge for this event but reservations are REQUIRED by visiting http://festival.athenaprojectfestival.org/tickets/. We suggest a donation of $10 to support the Girls Create Summer Camps going forward.

2017 Plays In Progress Series
Dates: April 1 at 1pm and April 8 at 4pm is Beating a Dead Horse by Jennifer Stafford
April 1 at 4pm and April 2 at 7pm is Famous Last Words by Katherine Millett
April 8 at 1pm and April 9 at 7pm is Handcrafted Healing by Nancy Beverly
Location:  The Byron Theatre in Newman Center for Performing Arts, 2344 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80210
All tickets will be on sale at http://festival.athenaprojectfestival.org/tickets/
Tickets: $12

Special Table Reading
A table read of playwright Sarah Bierstock’s play Honor Killing.
Date: Sunday, April 2 at 9:30am and Monday, April 3 at 7pm
Location: The Byron Theatre in Newman Center for Performing Arts, 2344 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80210
Tickets: Free and open to the public. Donations welcome.