This article was written by Amy Strumpfl and was originally printed in the Tennessean.
Nashville’s leading ladies lend talents to ‘GRRRLS Night Out’
Over the past decade, Actors Bridge Artistic Director Vali Forrister has been empowering young women through Act Like a GRRRL (ALAG). An autobiographical writing and performance program for teenage girls, ALAG offers an inspiring celebration of personal truth and authenticity.
And on April 17 and 18, some of Nashville’s most talented leading ladies will gather for another kind of celebration — “GRRRLS Night Out.”
“We usually stage ‘The Vagina Monologues’ as a fundraiser for Act Like a GRRRL scholarships,” explains Forrister. “But when these dates became available at Darkhorse Theater, I started thinking about another kind of event.”
Actually, Forrister had been thinking about it since Superbowl Sunday.
“During this year’s Super Bowl, there was a compelling ad campaign that asked what it means to do something ‘like a girl.’ Run like a girl, throw like a girl — it’s never meant as a good thing. Of course, that’s what we’re all about — helping these girls to step beyond society’s expectations and limitations to become strong, confident GRRRLs.”
In the spirit of that movement, Forrister decided to invite some of Nashville’s best and brightest writers, actors, musicians and dancers to share what it means to them to do life “like a GRRRL.” Directed by Forrister — along with Actors Bridge company liaison Rachel Agee — the cast for “GRRRLS Night Out” includes Kim Bretton, Amanda Card, Wendi Dalby, Caroline Davis, Michele Flynn, Cassie Hamilton, Cynthia Harris, Gabrielle Saliba, Annie Sellick, Tasneem Grace Tewogbola, Abby White and Alicia Williams.
“It’s an amazing lineup, with everyone presenting original works created just for this event,” Forrister says. “And all proceeds go to scholarships for the Act Like a GRRRL program in June.”
For Saliba, a dancer, choreographer, educator and longtime ALAG leader, “GRRRLS Night Out” provides a natural extension of her work with ALAG Nashville and its satellite program in Washington, D.C.
“A big component of the program is bringing in guest artists — strong adult women from all walks of life who share their own stories and demonstrate what it looks like to pursue your dreams,” Saliba says. “It’s powerful because the girls carry these stories with them and draw from their wisdom long after the program ends.
“I feel lucky to be involved in ‘GRRRLS Night Out,’ and I’m excited to share my story,” she adds. “But I’m even more excited to hear from all of the other performers. There’s so much talent and so much passion for this program. I think these stories will resonate with everyone, both on stage and in the audience.”
If you go
What: Actors Bridge Ensemble presents “GRRRLS Night Out”
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Darkhorse Theater, 4610 Charlotte Ave.
Tickets: $20 in advance via http://grrrls-night-out.eventbrite.com; $25 at the door