The Alcyone Festival

Alcyone was the daughter of the wind. When her beloved drowned at sea she threw herself into the waters in grief. The gods intervened, turning Alcyone and her husband into water birds. She built a nest and launched it out to sea. Her father calmed the water to give her fledgling family a time of peace. And the world knew Halcyon days. . . .

From 2008-14, our annual Alcyone Festival celebrated the depth and breadth of women writing for the stage. The Alcyone Festival presented almost 40 of fully-staged works by women, only four of which had previously been seen in Chicago.

For our first annual Alcyone Festival, in the summer of 2008, Halcyon Theatre produced the works of 10 early female playwrights spanning almost 1000 years in rotating repertory. These works have been seldom (and mostly never) seen on contemporary stages.

For the Alcyone Festival 2009 we decided to play with the notion that women only write small domestic dramas, picking a theme as far away from that as possible: terrorism, the cult of martyrdom and its effects upon the innocents.  The Alcyone Festival 2009 featured six phenomenal writers from across the globe.

The Alcyone Festival 2010 celebrated the work of María Irene Fornés.

The theme for the Alcyone Festival 2011 was Remixed, creating new works by women based off of classical texts by women. We presented five new works using/adapting/sampling/re-envisioning . . . remixing classical plays written by women from Hrosvita (c. 935 to c. 1002) through 1800. The Alcyone Festival 2011celebrated both new and (really) old writers and showed how the lineage of female playwrights over the past thousand years can inspire and inform contemporary audiences and artists. 

The Alcyone Festival 2012  featured new works in translation by Mexican women.

Our theme for The Alcyone Festival 2013 was "A New Dawn, A New Day." 

In 2014, the festival was based on "Inspirations," featuring works by women that have inspired some of the artists who have been inspirations for Halcyon.