Nan Barnett  |  Breakout Session

"This is How We Do It: DC's Women's Voices Theater Festival"

About this session: Let’s talk about gender parity in one American theater town. Seven artistic leaders came together in 2013 to strategize about they could create a major regional event that featured full productions of previously unproduced plays by women to highlight the depth and diversity of the theater made in the Washington, DC metro area. This is the story of how these collaborators and their colleagues created the Women’s Voices Theater Festival (WVTF) and turned it into the largest event ever featuring exclusively new work by female playwrights.

Now, more than 75 productions later, WVTF’s Coordinating Producer Nan Barnett will share the governance, fundraising, marketing, and programming lessons learned from the 2015 and 2018 Festivals and share how you can replicate the model DC created. She’ll also highlight how, as the Executive Director of National New Play Network, she activated its revolutionary digital library, the New Play Exchange®, to generate more the 275 readings of unproduced plays by women around the world , and answer your questions about how you can develop your own Festival and be a part of International Women’s Voices Day 2019.


About Nan

Nan Barnett is a new play developer and producer and an advocate for theater-makers and the theater they make. She is the Executive Director of National New Play Network, the country's alliance of 110 not for profit, professional theaters with a dedication to the development, production, and continued life of new plays and the pioneering of programs and innovations for the new play sector.

During her previous tenures on NNPN’s Executive Committee and as its President she worked to create and implement several of the organization’s revolutionary initiatives, including the acclaimed NNPN Rolling World Premieres and NNPN Playwright and Producer Residency programs. Nan took over the Network’s administration full time in 2013. Since then she has led NNPN through the development and launch of its field-altering database, the New Play Exchange, earned The Washington Post’s Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theater Community, tripled its membership, and dramatically increased funding for the Network. She is currently spearheading collaborative partnerships between NNPN and, among others, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, The Kennedy Center, and Theatre Development Fund, in addition to strengthening its other successful programs and projects.

She was a founding company member and the long-time Managing Director of the nation’s largest regional theater producing exclusively new and developing plays, Florida Stage. During her twenty-four seasons there she oversaw the development and production of hundreds of new plays and musicals for both emerging and veteran playwrights including Israel Horovitz, Lee Blessing, William Mastrosimone, Tammy Ryan, Steven Dietz, Jeffrey Hatcher, Catherine Trieschmann, Christopher McGovern, Deborah Zoe Laufer, and Nilo Cruz. Nan is the winner of the Theatre League of South Florida’s Remy Award for service to the theatrical community and the Fallon Award for Excellence from the Florida Professional Theatre Association. 

A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts Professional Actors Training Program, Nan was a three-time nominee and twice won South Florida’s Carbonell Award as an actress.She was a member of the inaugural Helen Hayes Awards’ New Play Panel and is on the Artistic Council of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and PlayPenn. Nan regularly leads board and artist training sessions across the country about the impact and business of new works, field innovation, gender parity, and a life in the theater, and is a frequent featured speaker at events ranging from playwright workshops to national convenings including the CityWrights Playwrights Conference, Florida Repertory Theatre's New Voices, the Denver Center New Play Summit, Theatre Communications Group’s Conference, American College Theater Festival, NY’s Good to Go Summit, The Women in Theater Conference, and the Austin Film Festival. 

Nan was a Coordinating Producer for 2015's nationally acclaimed Women’s Voices Theater Festival in the nation's capital region, where she currently resides, and produced the recent 2018 Festival and the Inaugural 2018 International Women's Voices Day.