This story begins with a woman named Ann Filmer who ran a small off, off-Loop Chicago theatre company called The Aardvark. This artistic collective burrowed deep underground for unusual plays. Fueled by Filmer's aggressive nature, these plays tended to be manly affairs. So when female company members met her with a challenge, she took them on... and then some! Determined to find a play (devoid of crying or male bashing) to feature collective members Heather Graff and Laurie Larson, she finally found three…short ones. Originally entitling the program ALLWOMEN: MAD, BAD AND TOTALLY RAD, that title was soon nixed by marketing goddess Ms. Larson, who blurted out, "There has to be some better title for this, this…estrogen fest!" And so the name and the concept were born, the show ran at Angel Island in 2000, the girls got (almost) naked and all had a great time. <More>
Estrogen Fest 2000
3 short plays that reveal a little something about women…The first Estrogen Fest was produced by The Aardvark (Ann Filmer, Artistic Director) at Angel Island Theatre. It consisted of The Mamet Women by Frederick Stroppel, No Problem by Catherine Butterfield, The Most Massive Woman Wins by Madeleine George and featured Amy Dunlap, Heather Graff (Jeff Nomination for Actress in a Leading Role), Candis Hacker, Laurie Larson and Linh Thanh Pham. Highly Recommended in the Chicago Reader, Jenn Goddu wrote, "Estrogen Fest will entertain everyone…Director Ann Filmer’s choices reveal a side of women not often portrayed this fairly…The Aardvark company’s talented cast and Filmer’s directorial wit make The Most Massive Woman Wins a darkly comic, disturbing finale."
Estrogen Fest 2001
No crying and no male bashing! Co-curators Ann Filmer and Joanie Schultz gathered together the coolest, funniest, dangerous and most complex Chicago female artists to create 100 minutes of fascinating females. Estrogen Fest 2001 featured two programs: Light Days and Heavy Flow in rotating repertory. 31 women (plus 6 men) aged 22 – 65 contributed to this four night only festival presented by The Aardvark at The Performance Loft. “An eclectic festival of theater, dance, music and performance art honoring the many sides of womanhood.” Lucia Mauro Chicago Tribune
Estrogen Fest 2003
Female Identity: It’s not just about the hair…Our triple-threat, third bi-annual Festival of Females featured three completely different, diverse and unprecedented programs of live music, theatre, dance, visual art, poetry and performance art all about female identity: who we are, who we’re told to be and who we dream of becoming. Once again led by Ann Filmer and Joanie Schultz, we changed our style every two weeks: Program 1 Extra Body, Program 2 Flexible Hold and Program 3 Sheer Strength – but stayed shiny and sassy all the way. Presented at The Storefront Theater in conjunction with Prop Thtr, Estrogen Fest was touted as “a delight! If the first part of this year’s Estrogen Fest is any indication, the women (and men) behind this joyous celebration of the feminine psyche and body is a no-holds-barred winner. Its dozen or so pieces artfully sparked thought, pathos, universality, and a big measure of giggles and guffaws. All in all, Estrogen Fest, could change the mind of even the most hard-hearted misogynist. You gotta love these women!” Rick Reed, Windy City Times
Estrogen Fest 2005
Changing the Rules! Back downtown at The Storefront Theater! An irreverent festival featuring 100 Chicago artists in two dynamically different repertory programs of live music, theater, dance, poetry, visual and performance art, looking at how women have broken out of the molds of the historic and mythical past and how they are still smashing them up today. Program A: History, Fantasy & Myth, deconstructs fairy tales, Norse mythology and Baby Boomers, as well as delivering break-through messages from the past, from women ranging from the Bronte sisters to Amelia Earhart. And Program B: We’re Still Here! takes on the battle to break free today—from social conformity to racial identity to who decides what is right. Curated and directed by Ann Filmer and Kimberly Senior.
Contact Ann Filmer: ann@annfilmer.com or (708) 795-6704 ext 105 ©2005 Ann Filmer