Years ago, when she still lived in Chicago, Tressa Glover overheard two women talking on a sidewalk. One said to the other, “I want a man that’s attractive, but not that attractive.” Her companion agreed. That moment stuck with Glover as universal she said, not so much because of the actual dialogue between the women, but the way in which these women were relating to each other. This sense of connection was the impetus behind Glover with her husband Don DiGiulio starting a SWAN Day showcase in Pittsburgh.
SWAN stands for Support Women Artists Now, and it is considered by its founders Martha Richards and Jan Lisa Huttner, who are both artistic producers and supporters, to be an international holiday recognizing women’s artistic contributions. SWAN Day is officially celebrated the last Saturday in March, but events commemorating the day are held in both March and April.
When not producing SWAN Day, Glover and DiGiulio are the Producing Artistic Director and Artistic Director respectively of the theater company, No Name Players. Both occasionally take to the stage as actors as well. It is as an actress that Glover is frequently reminded of her gender. Actresses, she said, do not typically have the same access to substantial, strong roles as men do. SWAN Day is a special night spotlighting significant, compelling female performance, writing and visual art.
In recognition of Glover’s and DiGiulio’s efforts SWAN Day Pittsburgh was named an official SWAN Day partner joining Pittsburgh artists and producers with artists and producers in Kenya, Bulgaria, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida. Each year SWAN Day Pittsburgh is inspired by a theme or prompt preselected by Glover and DiGiulio. This year, applicants responded to a quotation attributed to German theologian and mystic Meister Eckhart “And suddenly you know… It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
Attendees of this year’s SWAN Day Pittsburgh will be treated to a mélange of short plays, dance pieces, music sets, short film and sketch comedy. Seventy-five Pittsburgh-based female artists are participating in this years show. On stage, each piece lasts no more than 10 minutes. Glover notes that this kind of showcase is unique in that most people are “theater people” or “film people” or “dance people”. Rarely does an audience get to truly take in so many kinds of performance in one night.
This years SWAN Day features two notable up and coming jazz/R&B vocalists; Bridgette Purdue and Jazz Garcelle, both graduates of Point Park University. Reed Dance, a company lead by Former Artistic Director of Dance Alloy Greer Reed, will be gracing the stage as well as Texture Contemporary Ballet who have several performances lined up at the New Hazlett Theater at the end of March. Lastly, watch out for a live comedy sketch from Glover’s ongoing live sitcom project about three Italian American sisters called The Sisters Sorella.
Doors open for SWAN Day Pittsburgh at 7pm, and in this first hour patrons can tour visual art accompanied by a pianist. At 7:30 pm, the house band, The Telephone Line, plays the ballroom. Performances begin on stage at 8pm.