Missoula’s the kind of town where you run into old friends, catch up over coffee and plan a 25th anniversary of your old theater festival.
That’s what Moira Keefe did anyhow, returning recently to Missoula from 20 years in San Diego to find her old acting friends still lived in, or had strong ties to, the town where many of them went to college.
And this weekend, the Women’s International Theatre Festival features Keefe, author Irene O’Garden, filmmakers and performers Lisa Haas and Lisa Berger, comedian/cartoonist Teresa Logan and actor/producer Miranda Harcourt.
Haas and Berger were 1992 UM grads, while others have ties to Missoula as well as the original Women’s International Theatre Festivals, held in Denver in 1993 and 1994.
Those were to be an annual event, Keefe said, “but life got in the way.”
She reconnected with O’Garden recently and found herself wishing they could put on another festival.
“Let me call some of the other gals,” Keefe said. “They were all gung-ho to get out here.”
She secured space at the Elks Lodge and Roxy Theater, and got a full schedule of performances, film screenings, comedy sets and book readings, all featuring female artists and their views on motherhood, LGBTQ life, politics and sex. It is a surprisingly rare all-female arts festival in Missoula.
“I’m breaking ground in 2019,” Keefe laughed. “I’m just thrilled to be bringing all of these people to Missoula.”
Here is a schedule of events for the 2019 Women’s International Theatre Festival:
Tickets to all events are $10 apiece and can be bought in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or texting 760-402-7757.
Friday, May 24 at the Elks Lodge:
7 p.m. — Screening of “The Foxy Merkins,” a buddy comedy featuring Lisa Haas as a hooker-in-training who learns the ins-and-outs of the trade from a more experienced woman.
9 p.m — Screening of the film “The Changeover,” written, directed and produced by Miranda Harcourt and husband Stuart McKenzie. The thriller follows a teenage girl living in New Zealand whose brother is attacked by an evil spirit. The girl discovers powers of her own that help her save her brother. Harcourt will discuss the film via Skype after the screening.
Saturday, May 25 at the Elks Lodge:
7 p.m. — Irene O’Garden will read from her latest book “Risking the Rapids,” a family memoir set in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
8:15–8:45 p.m. — Teresa Logan will perform a political comedy set.
9 p.m. — Lisa Haas and Lisa Berger are reprising their stage duo of Rita and Inez, a wild, over-the-top take on feminism that was originally performed in Missoula in the early '90s.
Sunday, May 26 at the Roxy Theater:
7:30 p.m. — Moira Keefe reading from her piece “Life After the Burbs,” which follows a “burbanoid” moving out of the suburbs back to Missoula, Montana.
8:30 p.m. — A performance of the 12 monologues from Irene O’Garden’s 2004 play “Women on Fire.”