Where do you look for inspiration?
I am inspired by our history. I love reading about women’s accomplishments in theatre and in the world at large because those stories fill me with a sense of possibility for my own life and for the lives of all the women I work with.
What play or production changed your life?
I saw Mary Martin in a touring production of Peter Pan in San Francisco. I was only in second grade, but from that day on I knew that I wanted to work in theatre when I grew up. My parents got me a record of the show and I listened to it over and over – learning all the songs by heart and trying to fly in our living room.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Plays by dead white men – Since I have spent the past 17 years constantly advocating for women artists, it feels terribly wicked, but I still love to see great productions of works by the male playwrights I grew up on – Ibsen, Shaw, Chekhov, Wilde, Coward, Kaufman & Hart, and of course, Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Is there anything you still dream of doing?
I dream of taking a series of leisurely trips by bicycle and train where I could meet with women theatre artists in different parts of the world and observe their work.
What is your best escape?
I love being with my friends – especially if we can go for a long walk or have a nice meal. I always find that being in nature calms me down and helps me focus, and I often get my best ideas during casual conversations with my friends.
I feel most like myself when I ….
am sitting at my computer solving some complicated budget or software problem. I love those math problems.
What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
My introduction to arts management involved folding paper towels from the school bathroom into Origami paper swans to sell to my classmates. Instead of applauding my incipient managerial skills, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office for taking too many paper towels.
Martha Richards, Founder/Executive Director of WomenArts (a non-profit serving women artists) has held top management positions at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College and StageWest. Holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law.