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Guide to the Mothertongue Feminist Theater Collective Collection
1999-44  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
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.
Background
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.
Extent
6 linear feet 11 boxes, 1 oversize folder
Restrictions
Mothertongue retains copyright on all scripts, GLBTHS holds copyright on the balance of the collection.
Availability
Collection open for research.