The Mothertongue Feminist Theater Collective collection is composed of scripts, "Extra
Pieces" (writing not included in scripts), newsletters, flyers, administrative files,
photographs, and various audio-visual materials that reflect the activities of this women's
theater group that began in 1976, and were still active when they donated the collection in 1999.
Mothertongue Feminist Theater Collective performed to promote feminist education and addressed such
topics as women's roles in society, lesbianism, motherhood, and religion.
The Mothertongue Feminist Theater Collective began out of the Women's Speaker's Bureau (now the Women's Speaker's Network).
Lani Silver of the WSB spoke at a WSB-sponsored Women and Violence Conference in the fall of 1976; four other women performed
a reader's theatre script at the event. Here, the women met and shared material; after the conference they began to develop
other scripts to perform independently at women's coffee houses. The goals of the group (originally called Mothertongue Reader's
Theatre) were feminist education and consciousness-raising. The group addressed such topics as sex roles, body image, lesbianism,
motherhood, and spirituality. Over the next decade, the theater group grew, taking on public speaking engagements and performing
at benefits. Despite the growing size of the collective (75 members by the mid-eighties), the group still remained non-hierarchical,
developing scripts collectively and administrating through consensus. Disagreements were worked out through conflict resolution;
the group was consistently committed to equality between members as opposed to hierarchical rank. A complete history of Mothertongue
is included in the collection: "Me, You, Them," by Judy Sanders, is a 200 page text documenting the collective from its inception
in 1976 through the late eighties, when the text was written (file 5/4). It includes detailed history and political goals
of the group, as well as extensive interviews with group members. Mothertongue Feminist Theater Collective was still meeting
and performing when the founding members donated this collection in 1999.
6 linear feet
11 boxes, 1 oversize folder
Mothertongue retains copyright on all scripts, GLBTHS holds copyright on the balance of the collection.
Collection open for research.