Begun in 2002 as a response to the lack of opportunities for female playwrights in the larger theater industry, DIVAfest has produced over 60 new plays by women. DIVAfest supports new and developing work with commissions, productions, co-productions, and work-shops of new work. DIVAfest celebrates female power and creativity, encouraging female artists, allies, and audiences to broaden their horizons and exceed boundaries.
“We dream about what will happen as more and more women artists gain the resources they need to express their creativity fully. We are convinced that they will change the world.”
– Martha Richards, WomenArts Founder & Executive Director
“My idea of feminism is self-determination, and it’s very open-ended: every woman has the right to become herself, and do whatever she needs to do.”
– Ani DiFranco
“Feminist art is not some tiny creek running off the great river of real art. It is not some crack in an otherwise flawless stone. It is, quite spectacularly I think, art which is not based on the subjugation of one half of the species. It is art which will take the great human themes –love, death, heroism, suffering, history itself –and render them fully human.”
– Andrea Dworkin
Christina Augello is the founding artistic director and producer of DIVAfest and is an actress, arts activist, and arts administrator. She has been involved with American theater for over 50 years, growing up in the 1950s as the daughter of the proprietor of a famous theater saloon and piano bar in the theater district of downtown Buffalo. In the 1960s she performed in high school theater, CYO competition plays and avant-garde storefront theater in her hometown before hitchhiking cross-country to San Francisco. There she founded several cooperative and women-owned businesses in the Haight Ashbury while pursuing acting. In the 1970s she performed at the original Intersection for the Arts in North Beach, the first ever theatrical production at Theatre Artaud, at the Oakland Ensemble Theatre, the Poverty Theatre, and other venues. She has studied acting with Wendell Phillips, Eric Morris, Stephanie Priest and Phillip Pernaud. In 1983 she founded EXIT Theatre, in 1992 she founded the San Francisco Fringe Festival, in 2002 she founded DIVAfest and in 2007 she co-founded FRIGID New York. She was appointed by the Board of Supervisors as the small arts representative to the San Francisco Cultural Affairs Task Force, served on Theatre Bay Area’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee and was honored as Working Women of the Year. She has performed as part of various ensembles and toured her one-woman shows around the world, including performances in Prague, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Victoria, Edinburgh, New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. She has dedicated her life to creating and supporting small, independent theater.
Christina’s previous DIVAfest productions include:
- THE LAST OF THE RED HOT DADAS (2002)
- BOXCAR BERTHA (2004)
- THE MANDALA OLIVE PROJECT (2005)
- CRYSTAL DAZE (2007)
- A MOST NOTORIOUS WOMAN (2011)
- RAT GIRL (2014)
Richard Livingston is the managing director of EXIT Theatre and DIVAfest. For over 40 years he has directed innovative non-profit organizations in San Francisco including in the 1960s the pioneer youth organization Huckleberry House, in the 1970s the ex-offender organization Reality House West,where he co-curated the first statewide exhibit of California prisoner art, and the Cadillac Hotel, the original non-profit owned residential hotel in San Francisco. In the 1980s he was a fellow at the San Francisco Foundation and then helped create and for over twenty years was the executive director of the Myrtle Fitschen Charitable Trust, which provided millions of dollars in small grants to aid elderly residents of San Francisco. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the San Francisco Citizens Advisory Committee on Open Space, which he co-chaired and in the Tenderloin neighborhood he founded many community development, advocacy, and refugee organizations, for which he received the Daniel Koshland Civic Unity Award from the San Francisco Foundation. Since 1983 he has been managing director of EXIT Theatre, responsible for its administration.
Amanda Ortmayer is the production manager of EXIT Theatre, the San Francisco Fringe Festival and DIVAfest. She studied theater at Sonoma State and has designed for various theatrical productions and festivals in Sonoma County and San Francisco.
Amanda’s previous DIVAfest productions include:
- REBEL WITHOUT A BRA: A BURLESQUE CABARET (2013)
- AT THE WHITE RABIT BURLESQUE (2014)
- HOTEL BURLESQUE (2016)
- THE BIG HOT MESS (2016)
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Christina Augello, President
Christina Augello, board president
156 Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA 94102