Event Details
  • Town Hall Open Discussion: Gender Parity
    March 21, 2024
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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Town Hall (live) – The Steps Taken Towards Gender Parity

Thursday, March 21 - networking at 6:30 pm, open forum starts at 7:00pm ET
Polaris North Studio, 245 W. 29th Street, 4th floor, NYC

Our return to our live monthly panels/discussions, with a simultaneous streaming for our friends outside of New York City. (Everyone should receive the zoom link when you register. If you don't receive it, email TRUnltd@aol.com to request link.)

Co-hosted by Danielle DeMatteo, founder and artistic director of SheNYC Arts, a nationwide nonprofit showcasing new, original works by gender-marginalized writers, composers and directors; Meg Gibert, producing associate at Parity Productions; actor, singer, author Lynnie Godfrey, president of the League of Professional Theater Women;  Sarah Rose Leonard and Brittani Samuel, co-executive directors of The Lillys, creator of The Lilly Awards to honor the work of women in the American theater, as well as advocating for BIPOC women in theater; writer, director and producer Lauren Yarger of Gracewell Productions, co-founder of League of Professional Theater Women, Connecticut branch. Moderated by TRU co-founder Cheryl L. Davis, general counsel for The Authors Guild, and TRU executive director Bob Ost.

TRU monthly conversations continue about issues of current cultural significance. This month we focus on the ongoing uphill battle for gender equality, with a look at organizations dedicated to breaking through the barriers, overturning cultural assumptions and achieving progress towards greater parity. What programs do they offer, and what initiatives do they have in place that help increase opportunities for women and female-presenting artists? What else needs to be done? Admittedly, change happens slowly, and it all starts with awareness. Attendees are encouraged to talk about their own experiences with gender discrimination. TRU offers this as an opportunity for everyone to learn from actual experiences and find ways to support each other while exploring initiatives that might bring us closer to genuine respect and acceptance. All attendees are welcome to participate in this conversation.

Doors open at 6:30pm for networking and roundtable introductions of everyone in the room – come prepared with your best 20-second summary of who you are, and what you need. The Open Forum will start at 7:00pm. Free for members of TRU, Polaris North and members of SheArts, LPTW and The Lillys; $15 for non-members (with a $5 ticket option available to anyone who needs it). Please use the bright red reservation box here on our web page, or email or phone at least a day in advance (or much sooner): e-mail TRUStaff1@gmail.com


    is a writer/composer, photographer, and Artistic Director of SheNYC Arts. After working in the creative department at Jujamcyn Theaters (working on such shows as Kinky Boots, Jersey Boys, The Book of Mormon, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Something Rotten!, two seasons of Encores! at New York City Center, and more), she focused her  work on fixing the gender gap in the Broadway industry. She founded SheNYC Arts in 2015 and is eternally grateful to all of the other talented arts workers who have helped it grow and develop since then into a nationwide nonprofit organization that operates in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Dallas-Fort Worth. Outside of SheNYC, most recently she was on the worldwide Production team at Disney Theatrical Group, working on Frozen, The Lion King, and Aladdin around the globe. As a writer, her musicals have run off-Broadway, in Boston, and Chicago; her most recent piece, Queen Anne, was the 2021 recipient of the Brooklyn Arts Council grant for musical theatre. In addition to her work in theater, she was one of the original organizers of the Women's March on Washington, and has worked on a number of New York political campaigns, including as the Campaign Manager for Art Chang's 2021 Mayoral run. She was recently featured in Forbes Magazine and was named one of Five Women to Watch as Broadway Returns by Shonda Rhimes' publication, Shondaland.


    is an NYC born and raised theater director, producer, performer, educator, community organizer and many-hat-wearer. With over a decade of experience in the professional theater, Meg is currently Producing Associate for NYC based company Parity Productions; teaches public speaking for Cornell University; and is the Social Media Manager for the League of Professional Theatre Women. Prior to that, she served as Literary Associate at Florida Studio Theatre, where she led community outreach programs, supported New Play Development, and directed Blackbox, TYA and staged reading productions. Meg was the Assistant Director for The Suffragist Project, a two-year artistic endeavor to bring programming on women's rights to the Sarasota/Manatee community that reached thousands of participants. Meg holds a B.A. in Theater with a concentration in Directing from Bard College in New York. 


    is a multifaceted talent, with experience as a performer, director, and producer. She trained under Broadway luminary Lloyd Richards (renowned for directing A Raisin in the Sun) and Carnegie Hall's Dr. Chauncey Northern Sr. She was honored with the Scrimshaw Distinguished Visiting Artist Fund. Notable achievements include a drama desk nomination for her Broadway debut in Eubie! and receiving the Tyrone Guthrie Award for directing excellence. She’s also earned NAACP recognition for producing. Further accolades include Dramalogue and NAACP Awards for Supporting Actor, and an AUDELCO Award for her performance in Shuffle Along. Her recording of “Snow Queen” garnered both the Audio Earphone and Benjamin Franklin Awards, while her CD's received Grammy nods. Actively engaged in the arts community she serves on board such as the New York board of the League of Professional Theatre Women and Artsquest’s E.D.I.A. Council, among others. As president and CEO of GodLee Entertainment, Inc., and the Artistic Director of Essence of Acting Inc., she's a driving force in both business and nonprofit spheres. Her radio /podcast program “Lynnie Godfrey Straight No Chaser,” explores the arts’ societal impact. Notable performance productions like Charles White’s Unentitled and readings of new works such as Celeste Bedford Walker’s Greenwood: An American Dream Destroyed. In television and film, she appeared in Norman Lear’s 704 Hauser, 227, Amen, and LA Law, among others. She is an active member of various professional organizations and is currently President of The League of Professional Theatre Women and is the author of Lynnie Godfrey, Sharing Lessons Learned While Seeking the Spotlight. www.lynniegodfrey.com


    (she/her) is a dramaturg and creative producer. She is currently a Live Events Producer at KQED, Northern California’s NPR and PBS member station. Previously, she was the Literary Manager at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Literary Associate at Signature Theatre. She dramaturgs plays nationally, reads on a bunch of committees, and her curating/producing work includes three PRELUDE Festivals and a myriad of downtown NYC theatre projects. In 2024, she joined Brittani Samuel as co-Executive Director of The Lillys.


    (she/her) is a Caribbean-American arts journalist, theater critic, and the co-editor of 3Views on Theater. Her work has appeared in American Theatre Magazine, Broadway News, The New York Times, and several other publications. She is an alum of the BIPOC Critics Lab and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Critics Institute, as well as the inaugural recipient of ATCA’s Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism. In 2024, she joined Sarah Rose Leonard as co-Executive Director of The Lillys. To read more of her published work, visit BrittaniSamuel.com


    With her company Gracewell Productions, Lauren produces the Table Readings Series at the Palace Theater, CT; "Staged Intent" Series Ivoryton Playhouse; Women of a Certain Age in Westport County Playhouse. She is the executive producer of the Outer Critics Circle awards, co-founder of the CT chapter of the League of Professional Theater Women and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.