Now {that} takes ovaries…

GVL/ Eric Coulter
Take That Ovaries 
Brittany Dernberger

GVL/ Eric Coulter Take That Ovaries Brittany Dernberger

Lauren Ringger

After 10 years of successfully producing the “Vagina Monologues,” Grand Valley State University’s Women’s Center will ring in its second decade with a new play: “That Takes Ovaries: Bold Women, Brazen Acts.”

“‘The Vagina Monologues’ focused on sexuality and brought attention to violence against women at the local, national and international levels,” said Brittany Dernberger, assistant director of the Women’s Center. “‘That Takes Ovaries’ expands this dialogue by not only addressing sexuality, but also a wide array of real-life activist events, including everything from sex trafficking, leaving an abusive partner, to sky diving and a young girl creatively shaving her legs.”

Like “The Vagina Monologues” before it, “That Takes Ovaries” will be a student-led production utilizing theatre as activism to showcase true stories of women and girls. The play will continue the Women’s Center’s tradition of using the production to raise money for local and international women’s and girl’s rights efforts and will rely on student activists to provide the leadership for the production. It will also expand the dialogue at GVSU by including stories written by our own students, faculty and staff.

To make it happen, the Women’s Center has planned a campaign asking GVSU students, faculty and staff to submit their own personal stories this fall. The stories will then be integrated into the final performances, taking place on Feb. 9 and 10.

Auditions for the production will be held the weekend of Nov. 11-13 in the Women’s Center.

“‘That Takes Ovaries’ will provide a new, educational and engaging event open to GVSU and the community that highlights a wide array of issues effecting women,” Dernberger said. “We hope the production will be a catalyst for change and will empower audience members to take action in their own lives and in their communities surrounding gender justice issues.”

GVSU junior Audrey Rosenau has worked with the production of The Vagina Monologues for two years.

“I think that productions like ‘The Vagina Monologues’ tell stories – the good, the bad and the ugly,” Rosenau said. “They are true stories written by real people and are not some made-up fantasies by people who are trying to explain a problem.”

This year marks the 11th anniversary of the GVSU Women’s Center. The Center’s mission is to create meaningful learning about women and gender and to advocate for gender justice through the education, engagement, and empowerment of women students and the greater GVSU community.

“The Women’s Center serves as a safe and comfortable place for all students, faculty, staff and community members to come together to discuss and advocate for women’s rights, issues and equality,” said Sarah Johnson, theatre chair for this year’s production. “From providing education on safe sexual practices and guidance and support for women and men facing abuse and violence to the food pantry, theatre productions and outreach, the Women’s Center’s main goal is to enrich the GVSU community by promoting the welfare of all women within our reach.”

During the past ten years, the Women’s Center obtained a new space, established several annual programs and events and has continued to grow service-learning opportunities while creating space for students to participate in advocacy and activism.

“As we enter our second decade, we are excited to continue to raise money for community agencies, to bring the campus and larger community together to talk about gender justice through a variety of lenses, and to offer solutions for how to make the world a better, safer and more equitable place,” Dernberger said. “We hope ‘That Takes Ovaries’ will make a small deposit in making our community better 10 years from now.”

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