The Gyneka Awardees of 2016
The Gyneka Award honors women in theatre. The word “Gyneka” is Greek for woman. Greek women were denied the right to perform in theatre and this award represents strong women who have broken barriers and never allowed their God ordained talent to be denied. Women are nominated for the Gyneka Award by the theatre community and voted upon by volunteers on the WTFM Gyneka committee. On occasion, a man is recognized for his support of women in theatre. Since its inception, eighteen women and two men have been honored for their work.
This year WTFM will be honoring three more incomparable women for their contribution and dedication to theatre not only as artists, but as teachers.
Two of three honorees for the Gyneka Awards, Joyce Cobb and Irene Crist, are longtime artists known to Memphis and the Midsouth. Both women are respected artists with very impressive stage credits and both have worked with countless young artists by teaching and advising them along their theatrical paths. The third artist, Dr. Tommie (Tonea) Stewart, has numerous theatre and film credits that include “A Time to Kill,” as Samuel Jackson’s wife, “Mississippi Burning,” and a recurring role as Ms. Etta on the TV series, “In the Heat of the Night,” to name a few. An Emmy Award honoree, in 2015 Dr. Stewart was the recipient of the prestigious “Champion of Change” Award from President Barack Obama. A native of Greenwood, MS, Dr. Stewart currently resides in Montgomery, Alabama and is a tenured Professor and Dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts at Alabama State University.
Click here for bios of the 2016 Honorees.
Season IV of the bi-annual Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis, Inc. (WTFM), will be held July 2018.
One of the key events of the festival is the Gyneka Awards which honors women who have made great contributions the field. Tickets for the event are $60 which includes a Red Carpet arrival, a reception and ceremony, followed by a play on the Mainstage.
Did you know that 63% of theater audiences are Women?
- Broadway shows written by women are 18% more profitable than shows written by men
- 20% of professional theater artists are women
- 17% of produced plays are written by women
- 16% of produced plays are directed by women
- 69% of theater ticket buyers are women
Women and projects of interest to women are greatly under-represented in theater. Despite the fact that great strides have been made in other fields, women continue to face enormous employment challenges in the arts.