A History of Feminist Theatre in Atlanta

The historical account of Feminist theater in Atlanta traces the development and impact of women’s voices and perspectives in the theatrical landscape of the city. Over the years, Atlanta has witnessed the emergence of various feminist theater troops and productions that have challenged societal norms, explored gender issues, and advocated for women’s rights through the powerful medium of theater. These performances have not only provided a platform for female artists in Atlanta to express themselves but have also contributed to the broader feminist movement by raising awareness and fostering dialogue on gender equality and social justice. The history of Feminist theater in Atlanta reflects the resilience and determination of these women artists in their pursuit of gender equity and empowerment.

Photograph of members of the Red Dyke Theater, The Android Sisters, left to right: Murry Stevens, Frances Pici, and Mickey Alberts.1978, Q179_01_13_a

Pici papers, 1949-2004 (bulk 1979-1981) consists of the papers of Francis Pici and documents her and others role in Atlanta’s lesbian community of the 1970s with her cofounding of the Red Dyke Theatre group, and her involvement in the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance (ALFA), and other community events. This collection consists of artifacts, event flyers, meeting minutes, performance programs, business communications, brainstorming ideas, and handwritten and typed scripts from the Red Dyke Theatre group. There are also photos, negative slides, CDs, and VHS tapes of the group and its’ members during performances and community events. The collection contains the Red Dyke Theatre T-shirt and costume pieces.

Gayle Austin was another influence in the Feminist theater. She was the coordinator and literacy manager for the Women’s Project in New York City from 1978 to 1984. As associate professor of communication at Georgia State University her research interests included gender and performance, dramaturgy, and interdisciplinary forms of performance. Her book, Feminist Theories for Dramatic Criticism, was published in 1990. She has written four feminist theory plays, Resisting the Birth Mark (1990), The Doll House Show(1992), Mildred & Stella (1993), and The Hedda Project (1996), all of which have been produced at Georgia State University.

Excerpt from Gayle Austin’s Mildred and Stella: A Musical Feminist Theory at Play, 1993, W093_21_09_a
Publicity shot for the play The Weather Equals the World, circa 2001, W081_05_21_a
Play flyer, The Independent Female, Performed by the Sisters of No Mercy, 1981, W083_01_12_a
Actress performing in Green Parrot at the Rich Auditorium, 1982, W141_01_04_a

What Does Feminist Theater Look Like in Our Collections?

Our collections document the way that feminist theater created space and built community for women. They also address women’s issues from the late 1970’s to the early 2000’s.  

Our collections exhibit themes of community building within the feminist theater space in Atlanta. Theater groups often performed plays and comedic skits to raise funds for community organizations that focused on social justice and equality. Community organizations and business owners would also collaborate with feminist theater groups to ensure they had the funds to continue performing. 

An excerpt from Gayle Austin’s essay discussing the connection between feminist theory and theater, 1993, W093_21_09_d
Green Parrot and Still Life performance, 1982 by Other Voices, Inc. W141_01_03_a
Excerpt from Gayle Austin essay,1993, W093_21_09_b

Explore Our Research Guides About: The Activist Women Oral History Project

Group photograph of the organizers of Seen and Heard Atlanta Women’s Arts Festival, August 2000, W081_03_06_a
Group photo of Sisters of No Mercy, circa 1983, W083_01_19_a
Excerpt from Gayle Austin essay, 1993, W093_21_09_c