Ten Years of Moxie: A Celebration of Courageous Storytelling
Article by Sherehe Hollins
Tenacity, boldness, bravery, these are just a few words that describe the essence of what it means to have Moxie. For anyone who has ever attended a Moxie Theatre company production, their provocative stories, as well as the dynamic team of women who lead the work, need no introduction. For those who have yet to experience a Moxie production, perhaps the best way to describe Moxie, aside from the word itself, is a theatre company that dares to be different.
Moxie Theatre embodies the meaning of its name by expanding the scope of stories being told by and about women. Moxie’s productions consistently portray women characters’ as they are: multifaceted, complex, and human. The common thread interwoven within every story is the presence of female characters that reflect “full dimensional women with all their glories and flaws”.
Ten years ago a group of critically acclaimed directors and performers, Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, Jo Anne Glover, Jennifer Eve Thorn and Liv Kellgren, gathered together in the living room of Turner Sonnenberg, united by a common mission, to create a theatre company that would challenge the stereotypes of women in theatre. Their purpose was driven by their collective vision and professional passion to see more diverse and honest representations of women characters that would broaden the notion of what it means to be feminine.
The proof of Moxie theatre’s success is evidenced by award winning seasons, sold out productions, as well as the accolades the company has received since Moxie’s inception. In 2006 Moxie was awarded The Des McAnuff “New Visions” Award for Risk-Taking Leadership, by San Diego Theatre Critics Circle. In 2007 the Union Tribune named Moxie as one of three theatres changing San Diego. In 2012 Moxie won the Don Braunagel Award of Outstanding Work by a Small Theatre.
One of Moxie’s most outstanding accomplishments to date is that Moxie has placed San Diego over the national average for the production of female playwrights through its commitment to producing primarily female playwrights. Turner Sonnenberg noted that in the last few years she has witnessed an increase in the number of female protagonists, as well as the production of female playwrights, and the inclusion of more varied roles for women, within other San Diego theatre companies.
Turner Sonnenberg attributes Moxie’s growing influence and success to the team of directors, performers, designers, supporters, volunteers, and mentors who have collectively contributed to, and upheld, Moxie’s mission. An integral part of Moxie has been building intergenerational, cross-cultural and mutually beneficial relationships where people from ages 0-90 can come, share, learn, hang out and feel at home. The Moxies have also recognized the importance of having a community presence by attending street fairs and making themselves more visible in the Rolando and La Mesa community, where the theatre is located.
The informal and formal relationships built over the past ten years is paving the way for the next generation of “leaders, not just artists”, who through guidance and support will be “empowered to make their own Moxie, while remaining true to its mission”. Turner Sonnenberg stated, “It was important for us when we all started (Moxie) to not just make a place for us to work (but) to make a place that would live past us.” The last ten years have been devoted to building a solid foundation that will sustain Moxie’s legacy.
Through all of the triumphs and challenges that come with being courageous enough to break through barriers, Turner Sonnenberg describes the last ten years as an amazing journey. To celebrate the new season, which opens on September 18th, are five adventurous productions that promise to be a continuation of a ten-year-long journey of powerful and profound storytelling.
For more information about Moxie Theatre and Season 10 productions visit: http://www.moxietheatre.com