“So wait… What’s going on with BoxFest this year?

By admin, August 27, 2014 9:30 am

This is Molly McMahon, Artistic Director, here writing you today and believe me, I’ve been getting that question a lot lately. “What’s going on with BoxFest this year?”

Since we put out our SOS call back in June we were inundated with emails/texts/communiqués from people. Some were from people wanting to participate in September’s Workshop. Some were from folks offering (mostly) good intentioned suggestions about moving forward. Our press release and blog posts were shared far and wide on social media… In short, we unintentionally created quite a stir by putting forward the thought that this festival may have a fast approaching expiration date.

That was June. This is August. The dust has settled and we are happy to announce that we are deep in preparations for our upcoming BoxFest Workshop fundraiser. The outpouring of support we received from directors new and returning, actors, playwrights, and other concerned members of the theatre community was incredible and from it, we have assembled a crack team of creative and talented theatre-makers to participate in our weekend of fully staged readings. This year’s workshop will be held at Matrix Theatre Company in Detroit over one weekend September 19 – 20.

While we still haven’t finalized the schedule, we CAN tell you that we have 12 fantastic directors who have volunteered to participate. Some of them you’ll remember as award winners from past festivals like Frannie Shepherd-Bates (2008), K Edmonds (2011), Sherrine Azab (2013), Carrie Morris (2012), Lauren Bickers (2007), Kennikki Jones-Jones (2013) and Megan Wright (2011). Some like Sarah Wilder and Michelle LeRoy are new to the festival as directors but have been involved in past festivals in different capacities. (I’m pretty sure I remember Michelle swinging from a ladder hanging lights for BFD at Planet Ant back in 2005? 2006? Time flies!) Our dynamic dozen is rounded out by returning directors Amanda Ewing (check her new theatre company RUMPUSROOM!), Ileah Maré, and Lori Reece.

More news to come as things develop but rest assured, this Workshop is going to be great for a number of reasons. 1) We’re going to do our damnedest to raise money to keep this festival on its feet and provide necessary opportunities for women directors. 2) Attendees will have the chance to see some of the most creative and innovative theatre practitioners working in Detroit today at play. (Seriously, google some of these ladies. They’re major.) 3) You as audience members will have the opportunity to give feedback about the readings in post-show discussions. What’s that saying again about opinions again… Everyone’s got one! So why not share it?

Keep checking back for more updates and a complete schedule. Until then, thanks for your continued support of BoxFest Detroit. We really appreciate it!

Changes Ahead for BoxFest Detroit 2014

By admin, June 23, 2014 3:37 pm

Hello BoxFest Detroit Friends and Family,

This is Molly writing to you today. There really is no easy way to say this… BoxFest Detroit is in trouble. After growing and evolving over the last 12 years of BFD’s existence and being a part of southeastern Michigan’s vibrant theatre community, BoxFest Detroit is fighting for survival. Kelly Rossi and I have issued a statement to explain our situation and I’ve included it below for you to read.

“It is with a heavy heart that we inform artists and patrons that BoxFest Detroit will not produce a full festival this summer. We have experienced a number of set backs in the last two years, that despite our best efforts, have proven difficult to overcome. These set backs include but are not limited to the lack of availability and access to a suitable venue to house the festival, the loss of a substantial annual major gift, and a decrease in revenue. At this point, the state of the organization is not financially sound enough to put on another festival and to do so would be irresponsible and could further endanger the already tenuous health of BoxFest Detroit. We understand that people may be disappointed and we want them to know that this decision was given a great deal of thought.

We encourage those who value the mission, presence, and work of BoxFest Detroit to get involved over the next year by participating in or attending our Workshop, for which we’re currently seeking submissions, and other fundraisers and events.  We also want to thank all of the artists who have participated in previous festivals, the patrons who have attended our events, Planet Ant Theater and Purple Rose Theater Company for the generous opportunities they’ve provided to our directors, and the theatre community at large for their support.”

– Molly McMahon, Artistic Director and Kelly Rossi, Executive Director

BoxFest Detroit has gone through many changes over its lifetime but its mission and vision have always been focused on one thing: women directors.  We, the producing staff, and the artists who participate in our festivals volunteer our and their time and energies so we can help showcase and create opportunities for women directors. We do this because we see a need for women directors to have a place in our theatrical ecosystem on a local and national level. We do this because historically, women directors have not been given the same opportunities as male ones and that disparity still exists today. (Here is some evidence of that disparity. Here is some more. And some more for good measure.) We do this because no one else focuses on just women directors. There is no other organization or festival like BoxFest Detroit. (Google it… it’s true.)

We have helped create opportunities for many women and we’re not done yet. If you have ever wanted to participate as a director, or playwright, or actor, or have always wanted to patronize one of our festivals but never quite made it there, I implore you: make our BFD Workshop in September your first time. If you have participated in or patronized one of our festivals before, we thank you and we urge you do it again this September. We need your support now more than ever to keep this important festival going.

Thanks for reading.

For more information on the BoxFest Detroit Workshop happening this September and how to get involved, click on the tab above labeled “Participate.”

Great opening weekend! The review is up to prove it!

By admin, August 4, 2013 10:22 am

Hi BoxFest Fans!

Molly here.  I just wanted to update you all on what a fantastic first weekend of the festival we had.  Audiences were solid and we had good houses for each day but Friday.  We were competing with the Tigers game so we knew attendance would be light but we want to give a special thank you shout out for the folks who braved Friday’s traffic to go to BFD.

The first weekend of the festival has passed, but the good news is you still have one more week left to check out the 11 shows we’re exhibiting this year.  AND the Tigers are out of town all next week so you won’t have to worry about traffic being as congested.  Let’s see… what else… OH YEAH, THE REVIEWS ARE UP!

Encore Michigan sent 3(!) different reviewers this year to cover all of the shows and in record time, wrote and published their review of BFD 2013.  (Thanks Don, Carolyn, and John for visiting us on our busy weekend.  We know parking was NOT easy!)  Check it out here!

We hope to see all of you next weekend!  We’ve got some amazing shows that deserve some great audiences.  See you then!

BFD’s 2013 Directors!

By admin, July 8, 2013 6:00 pm

Well BoxFest fans, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for… so far any ways.

The calls have gone out and here are the fabulous directors who are participating in this year’s festival:

Sherrine Azab, Emily Caffery, Anna Castelaz, Amanda Ewing, Ileah Mare, Lori M. Reece, Terie Spencer and Megan Wright.
All the directors have begun rehearsals and excited to show their work at the festival!
Remember to keep checking back for details about scheduling and information about the plays and directors.  And be sure to follow us on Facebook to keep up with the latest news.
Until next time, BFD fans!

BFD has a new home!

By admin, June 5, 2013 6:15 pm

Greetings BoxFest fans!

BoxFest Detroit has taken place at the Furniture Factory in Detroit for the past five years.  Unfortunately, that space is no longer being used as a theatre space and we were forced to find a new home.  Well, we found one!

Drumroll please…

BoxFest Detroit 2013 will be performed at The Elizabeth Theater above Park Bar in downtown Detroit!!! The festival will take place throughout the first two weeks of August with programming on three days of each week instead of the traditional two we’ve done in years past.  We are very excited to be partnering with The Elizabeth Theater and for our fans to see this relatively newer theatre.

Also, just a reminder to all prospective directors, playwrights, and actors out there… the deadlines for submissions are coming up!  Check out the Contact page for deadline and information about participating in the festival.

I mean, really, why wouldn’t you want to?  You’ll meet and network with other artists, gain experience in a festival setting, have opportunities to win awesome awards and be reviewed by critics?  If that’s not enough, I don’t know what else to say.  Put yourself out there and join us!

Until next time!

BoxFest seeks directors, actors, playwrights and designers for 2013 festival!

By admin, May 14, 2013 8:31 pm

Let the submitting begin!

It’s that time of year again and BFD 2013 is off and running.  We are looking for directors, actors, playwrights, designers and technicians to participate in this year’s festival.  Please visit the contact page for information about submitting and deadlines.


Once we send it out, we’ll post a copy of the press release here… but this is a good enough start.  Right?  Right!

BoxFest Detroit’s 2012 Winners!

By admin, October 2, 2012 3:03 pm

Well, the old adage “better late than never” could certainly apply to this web update.  BoxFest Detroit certainly deserves some finger wagging for this oversight and to all the patrons and fans out there waiting with bated breathed for the announcement of the winners, we truly apologize.  But, winners we have and… drum roll please… here they are:

Winner of the Planet Ant Late Night Series directing slot: Jackie Strez
Winner of the Purple Rose Theatre Company Actor/Director Lab scholarship: Carrie Morris
Winner of the BoxFest Detroit financial scholarship: Nati Salgado

The festival received wonderful reviews and wrapped up as another successful festival.

Keep checking our website throughout the year for updates and calls for artists!  Until then, thanks for your support and we’ll see you next year!

BoxFest Detroit 2012′s first weekend is a success!

By admin, August 10, 2012 11:57 am

BoxFest Detroit 2012 started off with a bang this year.  Our opening night celebration was a ton of fun and was a great way to kick off the festival.  On Thursday, Kelly A. Rossi, BFD’s Executive Director, directed a staged reading of Ann Forsythe’s play When the Moon Disappeared.  Afterwards, she attempted to answer a question patrons consistently ask us EVERY year: “So what exactly does a director DO?”  Many of the 2012 festival directors were in the audience, with Kelly leading the discussion, they were able to help try to answer this complicated question.

After the staged reading and Kelly’s presentation, Don Calamia, Editorial Director for Encore Michigan, stopped by to interview some of the ladies involved in this year’s festival.  Molly McMahon, Carrie Morris, Kelly A. Rossi and Jackie Strez, along with the audience, had a wonderful conversation about the history of BoxFest Detroit, BFD’s relevance in the community today, as well as details about this year’s festival.  Lots of laughs were had by all.  If you want to listen to the podcast online, click here!

On Friday and Saturday of that week, John Quinn, reviewer from Encore Michigan, stopped by to check out all five blocks of performances.  Click here to read his review: ‘BoxFest Detroit 2012′: Hot plays for the dog days of summer!

All in all, opening weekend was filled with fun, food and most of all THEATRE!  Remember, our second weekend of performances starts tonight at 8pm.  See our schedule of events page for more detailed information.  We’ll see you at the festival!

The BoxFest Detroit 2012 Schedule is Here!

By admin, July 30, 2012 9:27 pm

So this update is a little past due, we know.  But we’re excited that you’ve checked back to find out what’s happening with BoxFest Detroit 2012.  The festival is only a few days away!

The producers of BoxFest Detroit are pleased to announce BoxFest Detroit 2012, an annual theatre festival that showcases and creates opportunities for women directors.  The festival will run Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons and evenings, Aug. 3 – 18, with a celebratory opening event on Thursday, Aug. 2.  BoxFest Detroit 2012 will be held at The Furniture Factory, 4126 3rd St, Detroit, MI 48201. Admission is payable by cash only at the door with day passes for $10 and festival passes for $30.  For more information, please visit the website www.boxfestdetroit.com.

This year’s festival showcases ten women directors as they direct original plays.  Half of the directors participating this year are new to the festival and, along with some returning directors, they all exhibit a creative diversity not previously seen at BoxFest Detroit.  “While many of this year’s directors have focused on more familiar theatrical genres, we also have some participating drawing from strong performance art and puppetry backgrounds,” Artistic Director, Molly McMahon reports.  “With the overwhelming majority of this year’s directors having BoxFest Detroit or other professional credits on their resumes, this may be our most experienced group of directors gathered together in one festival yet!” Directors reshaping the box this year include Stephanie Buck, Kennikki Jones-Jones, Madison Lynn McEvilly, Carrie Morris, Ileah-MaRè Nichols, Natividad M. Salgado, Terie Spencer, Jackie Strez, Kristen Nader and Megan Wright.  The production staff for this year’s festival includes Molly McMahon and Kelly Rossi, serving as executive director.

While the festival officially begins on Friday, Aug. 3, BoxFest Detroit 2012 will commence with an opening celebration on Thursday, Aug. 2. Festivities will begin with cocktail hour at 7pm where patrons can meet and mingle with the BoxFest Detroit directors and staff.  Live entertainment follows at 8pm. Following the performance, there will be a live podcast hosted by Encore Michigan featuring a panel of women associated with BoxFest Detroit.  Complimentary food and drink will be provided.  Admission for this event will be $7 per person.

BoxFest Detroit 2012 opens Friday, Aug. 3 and runs through Saturday, Aug. 18 with a performance schedule as follows:

Fridays: 7pm: Cocktail hour
8pm – 10pm: Two hour-long blocks of programming

Saturdays: 4pm – 6pm: Two hour-long blocks of programming
7pm: Cocktail hour
8pm – 10pm: Two hour-long blocks of programming

Detailed Schedule of BoxFest Detroit 2012

Block 1: Apples and Oranges, by Audra Lord, directed by Stephanie Buck
Saudades, by Savannah Ganster, directed by Natividad M. Salgado

Block 2: Here Comes the Bride, by Ron Morelli, directed by Kennikki Jones-Jones
This is the Play, by Aaron Timlin, directed by Jackie Strez

Block 3: The Blankie, by Suzanne Baillie, directed by Carrie Morris
When I Was, by Rhea MacCallum, directed by Terie Spencer

Block 4: Bronte’s Mom, by Jacquelyn Priskorn, directed by Megan Wright
Sam’s Secret, by Ileah Marè Nichols, directed by Ileah Marè Nichols

Block 5: It’s Not Like It’s a Cat, by Suzanne Baillie, directed by Kristen Nader
Objects, Rooms, by Madison Lynn McEvilly, directed by Madison Lynn McEvilly

Friday, Aug. 3:
7pm: Cocktail hour
8pm: Block 2
9pm: Block 3

Saturday, Aug. 4:
4pm: Block 3
5pm: Block 4
7pm: Cocktail hour
8pm: Block 1
9pm: Block 5

Friday, Aug. 10:
7pm: Cocktail hour
8pm: Block 2
9pm: Block 3

Saturday, Aug. 11:
4pm: Block 1
5pm: Block 5
7pm: Cocktail hour
8pm: Block 4
9pm: Block 1

Friday, Aug. 17:
7pm Cocktail hour
8pm: Block 3
9pm: Block 2

Saturday, Aug. 18:
4pm: Block 4
5pm: Block 2
7pm: Cocktail hour
8pm: Block 1
9pm: Block 5
10pm: Awards and Variety Show

The Do Over is a hit!!!

By admin, June 10, 2012 7:37 pm

Kelly Komlen-Amadei, the winner of the 2011 BoxFest Detroit Audience Vote, opens her show at Planet Ant Theatre to great reviews!  Here’s a link to the review up on EncoreMichigan.com:


There’s only one weekend left to check it out what this BoxFest Detroit director has been up to, so make your reservations today.  Go to planetant.com for information and reservations.

AND, don’t forget we’re still accepting appointments for our upcoming general auditions!  Email molly@boxfestdetroit.com for information and appointments.

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