Erin Hanratty as The Girl and Christine Jacobs as The Clerk in Her Vote - Photo Curtis Jordan

Erin Hanratty as The Girl and Christine Jacobs as The Clerk in Her Vote - Photo Curtis Jordan

by Susan Galbraith

Seeing something unlike anything you’ve seen before can be curious, mystifying, and even jarring. That was my experience this weekend with Venus Theatre’s presentation of what was, at least for me, a whole new genre of work. There were, I learned, 400 British Suffrage plays written between 1900 and 1920 – in little monologues and a few “snippets” of plays taken from The Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays, plays created by and for the Actresses’ Franchise League.


By Lorraine Treanor

It’s International Women’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than to remind you of the work of Venus Theatre, one of the longest running women’s theatre companies in the world, which operates out of its own space in Laurel, MD.  By the end of 2017, Venus Theatre, which is dedicated to presenting the works of women playwrights, will have produced 62 plays by women. We spoke with founder and Artistic Director Deb Randall as she announced her season of four plays.

Your season’s theme is Love Notes. 

Deb Randall: Yes. Each play is a love note to Tricia McCauley. My observation has been that sharing the grief and healing process publicly has helped others so I wanted to extend that.

Also, because I spoke to the press the day her body was found I have been struck very deeply with the task of seeing to it that she be remembered for how she lived. For her own choices in life. And not for how she died. My concern is that as the dark story gets darker she may be remembered in a way that has nothing to do with her. And, so I need to spend a year celebrating her spirit.


Deborah Randall, founder of the Venus Theatre Company in Laurel on Thursday, Feb. 9. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Deborah Randall, founder of the Venus Theatre Company in Laurel on Thursday, Feb. 9. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

By Dave Strum  

VENUS THEATRE STAYS ON EDGE WITH VISION

Playwrights from as far away as Australia and Greece submit plays to Laurel's Venus Theatre. Critics laud the theater's edgy and provocative vision. Audience members drive in from other states.

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by Deborah Randall

Fifty years ago I was born in Washington, DC. It's been incredible to grow up with the Smithsonian as a field trip destination during the end of bussing and amid great movements of social integration. Art was accessible and everywhere. No matter what was happening in the world I always had permission to play, and I just never stopped doing that. My company, Venus Theatre, now stands among the longest running women’s theatres in the world.


Deborah Randall, Founder of the Venus Theatre Play Shack in Laurel, Maryland. She keeps the outfit running on a tiny budget. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Deborah Randall, Founder of the Venus Theatre Play Shack in Laurel, Maryland. She keeps the outfit running on a tiny budget. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

By Nelson Pressley Theater Critic   

There’s no argument: Women are dramatically underrepresented on Washington’s stages. So sayeth the overwhelming majority of D.C. area troupes, which will coalesce en masse this fall as about 60 companies premiere works by female writers in the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.

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Deb Randall is the founder of Venus Theatre in Laurel. (Staff photo by Brian Krista, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Deb Randall is the founder of Venus Theatre in Laurel. (Staff photo by Brian Krista, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

By Gwendolyn Glenn, Laurel Leader

Four plays set to premiere at Venus Theatre each have elements of 'no strings attached'

Wild, dark and sad with moments of fun is how Venus Theatre founder Deb Randall describes the 2015 season for the C Street theatre. Four plays written by women will get their premieres in a season Randall has dubbed "Feral 15: Feminist Fables with No Strings Attached."

"I came up with that theme because each play deals with intense topics and they feel wild, like feral cats, who can be wild, playful and unapologetic," Randall said. 

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Bill Ryan/The Gazette Venus Theater founder Deborah Randall, on the stage in Laurel, where they are doing their 50th production. .

Bill Ryan/The Gazette

Venus Theater founder Deborah Randall, on the stage in Laurel, where they are doing their 50th production. .

Laurel theater stages 50th play

Resident uses venue to offer voice for female artists

By Alice Popovici, The Gazette, Staff Writer

Venus Theater founder Deborah Randall, on the stage in Laurel, where they are doing their 50th production. .

Laurel resident Deb Randall said she wanted to provide a forum for women’s voices and their stories in the theater while offering female playwrights and actors a space to refine their craft.

Now 50 plays later, 13 years of which have been at the Venus Theater in Laurel, Randall and Venus Theater were recognized by the City of Laurel with a proclamation declaring November 2014 “Venus Theater Appreciation Month.”

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