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Meet Emily Faith and Erika Larsen of Lily & Joan Theatre Company in Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Faith and Erika Larsen.

Lily & Joan is a theatre company started out of a desire to create more opportunities for female performers. Since its inception in December of 2018, Lily & Joan’s mission has grown to intentionally include spaces for all, including artists of color, trans* artists, artists with diverse bodies and abilities, and artists without the privilege of formal theatre education. Founders Erika Larsen and Emily Faith came together seeking to create a company that holistically and professionally expanded the experiences of artists in DFW.

Almost one year into operation, L&J has successfully produced two shows, one that highlighted female & gender queer artists, & one that was written by a local womxn playwright, Nicole Neely. We hosted a three part Summer Series at Sunset Art Studios that promoted healing through art, meditation and yoga. There was a Cabaret and mini workshop of our upcoming original musical, JOAN at The Wild Detectives. Lily & Joan was featured in their first festival, The Festival of Independent Theatre’s, & created community & collaboration with Bishop Arts womxn-run business, House of Dirt. Most importantly, L&J has raised $2500 for other organizations in need and has employed 40 different artists, with over 90% being womxn, non-binary and trans* creators.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting and sustaining an arts organization is not easy, but we find that there are always opportunities for education and improvement. We have discovered that with any challenges that we face, circling back to our mission statement keeps us grounded and focused on why we wanted to establish this company in the first place. Lily & Joan is rooted in femininity and dedicated to innovative, inclusive and intentional storytelling. We are committed to providing opportunities to all artists, on stage and off and half of each productions’ proceeds donated to local womxn’s organizations. That reminder is the lens from which we approach all obstacles, big or small.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
Lily & Joan is a female-centric and female operated non-profit theatre company. While our shows are not exclusive to female artists, Lily & Joan maintains the desire to highlight females in our community. Beginning the first season with Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in March of 2019, Lily & Joan cultivated opportunities for and compensated a cast of all female and gender queer artists. We are very proud of that. We also hosted a summer series of workshops that focused on healing in/with/from the arts at Sunset Art Studios. We know that Lily & Joan’s focus on community and mental health in theatre sets us apart.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment for Lily & Joan is the talkback hosted by actor, producer and director, Olivia Grace Murphy during “Midsummer”. It was during this talkback that we were able to sit back and hear how the audience reacted to and was impacted by a nontraditional cast of Midsummer. At that moment, we knew that the inclinations that we were not the only ones feeling disparaged by casting in the community and that L&J was beginning to be an active vehicle for change.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shaddai Berron, FIT, Erika Larsen, Emily Faith, Darling Photography TX.

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