Broadway producer Jenna Segal joins forces with Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, in their continued effort to highlight the work of female playwrights. Through a generous grant from The Jenna and Paul Segal Foundation, Segal will sponsor a world premiere by a female playwright with a female director for the next five years through SigWorks: The Heidi Thomas Writer’s Initiative.
Slated to begin in the 2017–2018 Season, the grant also gives Signature the resources to help playwrights secure second and third productions by bringing artistic directors from across the country to Signature during the run of their plays to meet with the playwright and plan for future productions of the work.
“I’m thrilled Jenna shares our commitment to supporting the finest female artists working in theater today,” Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer said in a press release. “Washington brought a national focus to the work of women playwrights with the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival [in the fall of 2015], and it’s our job to not only continue it but expand it. This grant allows Signature to do both, and also helps us tackle the particular challenge for playwrights to get their second and third productions. We are so grateful for this leadership and support.”
This program is named after acclaimed British playwright and screenwriter Heidi Thomas. Thomas is the creator and executive producer behind the BBC’s Call the Midwife series and adapted the recent Broadway revival of Gigi directed by Eric Schaeffer and produced by Segal. Thomas’s award-winning theatrical work has been performed at the Liverpool Playhouse, the National Theatre Studio, The Almeida, Chichester Festival and Royal Court Theatres, the National Theatre of Norway, the Women’s Playhouse Trust, and by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her screenwriting has been acknowledged and awarded by BAFTA, the Emmys, the Writers Guild Of Great Britain, Women in Film and Television UK, and the Royal Television Society.
“We are so proud to partner with Signature Theatre and sponsor a world premiere by a woman each year along with a female director,” Segal said in the press release. “These full productions are essential for women to hone their craft. We hope the writers will draw inspiration from Heidi Thomas, whose writing across all media reminds us of the fundamental impact women's works bring to the world.”
“Female writers have so much to say, and all too often their voices are not heard,” Thomas said in the release. “However, at Signature, Eric and Jenna have created a new and exciting platform for work entirely by women, where talent will not just be showcased, but also nurtured. I am proud beyond measure to be linked to this initiative, and support it with my whole heart.”
Jenna Segal heads Segal NYC/Gatherer Entertainment which develops and produces theater, digital content, television, and film with a focus on female audiences. Currently she is coproducing Les Liasions Dangerueses on Broadway and Small Mouth Sounds Off Broadway as well as the Web series Lady Parts and short film Out On the Wing. Segal was the lead producer of the Tony-nominated musical Gigi, which enjoyed a celebrated run at the Kennedy Center then moved to the Neil Simon Theater in Broadway’s 2015 spring season.
Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Signature Theatre is a nonprofit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia, dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of cofounder and Artistic Director Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 47 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces.
December 19, 2016