Our Story

Our Story


WOW started as an international women’s theatre festival in October of 1980. Over the course of eleven days, 36 shows from 8 countries were performed for hungry New York lesbians. Within 18 months the group had a permanent space at 330 e. 11th street, where they began the monster that is WOW today: a year-round festival of women’s and transgender peoples’ performance. In 1984 (or thereabouts), WOW moved to the 1400ft loft space that we inhabit today at 59-61 east 4th street. Those familiar with the downtown NYC theatre scene call the block of east 4th between 2nd ave and the Bowery “theater row”, and WOW is proud to have among its neighbors: New York Theatre Workshop, the Rod Rodgers Dance Company, La Mama ETC, and 14 other arts groups, as collectively represented by Fourth Arts Block, at www.fabnyc.org.

Shows at WOW

WOW has no Artistic Director nor any centralized control over the works that appear, and Producers have artistic liberty to produce what they desire. The tradition here is that women and/or transgender people provide the central creative impetus behind a show at WOW.

An interview with two of our founders, Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw

On their lives, art, past and current projects, Split Britches, and WOW
“Sound & Vision: Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw”
an interview with Allyson McCabe, October 26, 2017 at therumpus.net

The WOW Documentary Project


The WOW Documentary Project is a transmedia filmic anthology where past and present members of downtown New York’s wildest women’s theater collective share the stories behind their favorite productions. Like the Facebook page for exclusive content, live interviews, and recent news on the project directed by Shelby Zoe Coley, Executive Produced by founding member Holly Hughes.

Watch Videos of Past WOW Performances