Northwestern University’s theatre scene is overwhelmingly student-supported and student-run. With countless theatre boards putting up numerous shows every year, one might think that these student groups have all the bases covered. This year, however, sophomore Ali Shields raised an important question: What about women?
With each theatre board having its own niche, there seemed to be a gap that was calling to be filled. Shields took the initiative in the creation of a women’s theatre board, Lipstick Theatre. Shields, president of the group, explains how Lipstick addresses the needs of the Northwestern theatre community in that it is the “only theatre group dedicated to tackling women’s issues through performance and providing female theatre artists with opportunities for artistic growth and expression.” Shields further elaborates, “As a group, we respect and acknowledge all forms of feminism. Lipstick is a representation of multiple perspectives, as a symbol of empowerment or forced conformity to ridiculous standards of beauty.”
In its beginning stages, Lipstick has already caught the attention of many. This quarter, the group held auditions at spring generals for their first show, Persephone Project, written by fellow NU student Anna Miles. Lipstick also held auditions this quarter for a Burlesque show to go up in the Spring. The group has found further success in their first big fundraiser, a bake sale at the Theatre and Interpretation Center. On this success, Shields notes, “We raised twice as much money as we planned. We could not be more grateful for all of the support from the wonderful men and women on this campus. Everyone has been so incredibly enthusiastic about this group, and I couldn’t be happier about that!” Along with the successes of their short-term projects, Lipstick has their sights set on several larger goals including ASG recognition, a full season of plays next year, and recognition by the Student Theatre Coalition.
“Ultimately, we want to be a positive presence on campus that gives people of multiple perspectives a chance to contribute,” explains Shields. Increasing the amount of opportunity in the theatre community at NU is what Lipstick seems to be about, as Shields elaborates, “Lipstick Theatre is about creating opportunities for women and embracing a woman’s creative perspective. We have a bunch of fantastic people involved in our cause, and make it a point not to exclude men from the process. We want to celebrate women, not tear down other people.”
Lipstick Theatre has gotten the ball rolling, and it doesn’t seem as though things will be slowing down any time soon. This weekend, Lipstick’s Women’s Stand Up Comedy Night will be hosted on February 16th at 6 PM in Fisk 217. Shields adds, “A few women in the comedy show have said that there has never been anything like this before. That is why this group exists.”