Guerrilla Girls On Tour!

Guerrilla Girls On Tour is an anonymous theatre collective whose mission is to create new plays that dramatize women’s history and address the current state of women in the performing arts and beyond. Our performances use comedic, physical, and vaudevillian-like techniques to prove that feminists are funny. In order to put the focus of our work entirely on the issues we address each member performs under the name of a dead woman artist and wears a gorilla mask to conceal her true identity.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spring tours to North Seattle and Reed College – a lesson in survival

There are savvy students everywhere. Feminist students come to see me when I tour to colleges. I preach to the choir more often than not.

A commuter school, like North Seattle College, makes me smile. I know from experience that the students will be smart and ask good questions. From the moment I step onto campus I feel I am part of an open space where the exchange of ideas is encouraged.

At North Seattle College this week, I presented, “Act like a feminist artist – what no one told youabout starting a grassroots organization.” Organized by the Women’s Center it was their most well attended event to date.

It is great to feel the audience right there with me – laughing, nodding in agreement, listening intently, taking notes and posing poignant questions at the end of it all.

After Seattle I headed south to Portland and Reed College to present the same lecture. The week before I arrived a controversy erupted over one of Guerrilla Girls On Tour’s posters - displayed on campus to promote my talk.

The poster, created in 2008, is entitled “Female By Birth…” and was inspired by a t-shirt we saw while on tour that read: “American by Birth, Christian by Choice.” The spirit in which we wrote the words “female” and “feminist” was meant to be inclusive of any person who identifies as female and/or feminist.

This poster angered students at Reed College who felt it was transphobic. When I learned of this I wrote to Reed and said:

“…guilty as charged…but hopefully I can turn this into a discussion about how feminist groups are not perfect and what we do when we fail and how we can all help each other understand each other as well as how to look at older work in the context of when it was created.  That poster is 8 years old - a great deal of awareness has happened since that time and again, the spirit we wrote it in was honest. BUT I would like to challenge the students at REED: Change and rework the GGOT poster “Female by Birth” so that is not Trans-phobic.  I will accept any and all ideas to this email address and will happily display and discuss them in my talk.  AND I also challenge the students to make posters that are pro-transgender and anti-transphobic and plaster them all over campus before I arrive - especially in my green room. Please send out the call!

The faculty sent the call out. They even provided tape in the green room to display responses. I kept checking my inbox for replies.  None came.

I learned, sadly, that the students had created posters and responses but chose to share them privately, only among themselves. They did not let me or anyone on the faculty see their reactions.

I gave my talk. It was sold out. One student questioned me about the "Female by Birth..." poster and I repeated what I said above, reminding them of my challenge – extending it and hoping to have a further dialogue with the students about it.

Today, I visited a class of made up of a number of art history, art studio and theatre students who gathered for an hour to have an informal dialogue with me. I loved talking with the students. Their questions were well thought out and honest. Yet, I sensed some of the students were still very angry, suspicious and unwilling to engage with me. 

After the class visit I learned every copy of the “Female By Birth” poster, which had been placed all around campus, had been taken down by students. An act of protest. Fine. But nothing had been put up in response. What offended them had been simply removed from sight.

Dear Reed College Students – you have to create an alternative message in order to change the world. Differing ideas and new experiences are what make college campuses incubators for the next generation of activists and artists. Just removing images, ideas, text which offend you, does nothing to change the status quo. 

The world is full of discomfort and offense. It is up to us all to respond publically to it. If we act as passive bystanders and only share our outrage with our friends on facebook we limit ourselves. As feminists of different genders, classes, races, identities, we must engage with each other to survive.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saint Patrick, pray for the activists.

March 14, 2016


Dear Diary,

In 2004, Guerrilla Girls On Tour! appeared at John Carroll University - a private, coeducational, Jesuit Catholic university located in University Heights, Ohio. Weeks before our show the University received emails protesting our booking, namely because we were pro-choice co-sponsors of the March For Women’s Lives held in Washington, D.C. the same year. John Carroll’s PR department decided that in order to quell the protests they would issue a statement, explaining to concerned students and citizens that Guerrilla Girls On Tour! is “wholesome and fun, with a decidedly Christian message.”

Guerrilla Girls On Tour’s mission is to advocate for equality and justice, two basic principles of Christianity. Our message, however, is that reproductive rights are human rights.  Unlike the Roman Catholic Church we are pro-choice and support Planned Parenthood.

So, what’s a Guerrilla Girl On Tour! to do when booked, twelve years later, at another Catholic University (Seton Hall) and, four days before you are to appear, discover that the University has “lost” your paperwork and demands you sign a brand new contract with new stipulations which are impossible to follow? (They wanted, among other things, for us to provide our own insurance in the amount of three million dollars and to list Seton Hall as an additional insured).

Was the University playing politics? Did they wish to censor Aphra Behn’s scheduled talk at Seton Hall entitled, “Act Like A Feminist Activist?” Was someone afraid of the “F” word?

Statue on campus of Seton Hall University 

Guerrilla Girl On Tour!, Aphra Behn’s talk, is about her early work as a member of the Guerrilla Girls. In 1997 Aphra led the GG’s foray into  addressing gender parity in theatre. The contents of Aphra’s talk would be deemed by any layperson, priest or nun to be anything but controversial.

Universities are supposedly institutions of free speech. Censorship is in direct opposition to the search for knowledge. What was going on at Seton Hall?

After summarizing and submitting the content of Aphra’s talk to the Dean she was able to proceed with her talk as scheduled The students and faculty who attended were open to ideas. During the Q and A one student asked if Guerrilla Girls On Tour! believed in LGBTQ rights. Yes!  Absolutely, we do. Another asked about transgender rights. Yes! Yes, again. Transgender people are discriminated against in all aspects of their lives and deserve equality on a range of issues.

In the end the Seton Hall talk was an eye opener. The search for knowledge continues, even in places with policies that attempt to thwart free speech. Our experiences as activists and artists and feminists teaches us that we are enriched as human beings by sharing our ideas. We are reminded that there are women and men on the front line of the fight for equality, working for the free and open exchange of concepts, even within the sacred walls of colleges and universities where ideas are supposed to flourish.

Yes, Guerrilla Girls On Tour! certainly are fun; some of us are even wholesome. Our message remains: the end of sexism will mark a more peaceful, just and equal world.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Create a poster instead of typing a hashtag - What I learned this Women's History Month.

Dear Diary,

Happy Women’s History Month! March 9, 2016 kicked off the official tour of my new talk: Act Like a Feminist Artist: what no one told you about starting a grassroots organization.  The talk highlights passages from UN/MASKED my forthcoming memoir due out this October from Skyhorse. Monmouth University was the host of this inaugural event and the theatre was packed with students from various gender studies, art and humanities classes.

Introduced by Dean Mezey, I entered Pollack Theatre in the traditional Guerrilla Girls On Tour fashion – by throwing bananas.  Since it was 1PM and lunch time, everyone was hungry. Going through my herstory as a Guerrilla Girl and Guerrilla Girl On Tour, I displayed slides of the Guerrilla Girls’ foray into the theatre world and shared inside stories of our sticker campaigns, for example that time at the TKTS booth in Times Square where everyone thought we were members of The Lion King.

The students of MU did  not disappoint in the Q and A. we talked about the Oscar snub, objectification of women in art, theatre in New Jersey and the important role of gender studies programs. The most interesting part of my time at Monmouth U was a discussion about just how hands off activism is these days – everyone wants to create the next hash tag that will blow up the internet but no one puts pen to paper anymore to make a sticker or a poster.  Well, Guerrilla Girls On Tour has not given up on using markers and newsprint to think up our ideas. Try it and see how the physical act of creating something three dimensional will stimulate your activism. 

My favorite part of the day was signing posters after the talk where I met the awesome feminist, Lennon.  (Yes, if she had been born male her parents would have called her McCartney.) Thanks for being there, Lennon, and for introducing yourself. 

I’ll be back in New Jersey on Monday, at Seton Hall University in West Orange.  And from there onto Seattle and Portland. 

See you Monday, New Jersey Feminists!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Aphra Behn's "Act Like a Feminist Artist: 

what no one told you about starting a grassroots movement"

March 9 – Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ at 1:15PM
March 14 – Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ at 4PM
April 19 – North Seattle College, Seattle, WA at 1PM
April 20 – Reed College, Portland, OR at 8:15PM

For more information check each college's web site closer to the date.
See you on the road! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Act Like a Feminist Artist - coming to a town near you for Women's History Month!

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Act like a Feminist Artist 

what no one told you about 

starting a grassroots

Act Like a Feminist Artist – is budget friendly. Call or email now for more information about how to bring Act Like A Feminist Activist to your town.


Monkey Business: The First 10 years

Guerrilla Girls On Tour's Poster Workshop
Guerrilla Girls On Tour is an anonymous touring theatre company of 26 women trained in a variety of comedic theatre techniques who develop unique and outrageous activist plays, performance art and street theatre.  The troupe has presented over 200 performances and workshops around the world dramatizing issues such as women’s history, sex trafficking, hunger, body image and violence against women.  In order to throw focus on the issues we address each of us performs under the name of a dead woman artist. 

Members include:  Gracie Allen, Bea Arthur, Josephine Baker, Aphra Behn, Lili Boulanger, Fanny Brice, Coco Chanel, Julia Child, Alice Childress, Liz Claiborne, Cheryl Crawford, Maya Deren, Isadora Duncan, Edith Evans, Alexandra Exter, Hallie Flanagan, Emma Goldman, Lorraine Hansberry, Frances Harper, Edith Head, Audrey Hepburn, Laura Keene, Eva Le Gallienne, Carole Lombard, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, Fanny Mendelssohn, Edna St Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, Edith Piaf, Anne Sexton, Sophie Treadwell, Lupe Velez, Azucena Villaflor and Anna May Wong.

" air of celebration and some potent satire!" - The London Times
"No one characterizes the humor and humanity of the women's movement better than Guerrilla Girls On Tour!" -- Gloria Steinem
Act Like
A Feminist Artist

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a feminist masked avenger? Aphra Behn is hitting the road this Spring with her interactive lecture, Act Like a Feminist Artist– what no one told you about starting a grassroots movement.  

Aphra Behn shares her experiences as a feminist activist and artist for almost 20 years as a member of Guerrilla Girls (1997-2001) and Guerrilla Girl On Tour! (2001 – present). Revealing the inside workings of the grassroots groups, she discusses the successes (protests; fax blitzes; speak-outs and street theatre); the struggles (hate mail; death threats; backlash) and the downright defeats (sabotage; infighting). Act Like a Feminist Artist 
is a 60 to 90 minute interactive talk, audience members will be challenged to rethink the concepts of what it means to be an “activist,” “artist,” and “feminist.” The talk is framed with readings from Aphra’s upcoming memoir, “UN/MASKED, My Secret Identity Revealed” (Skyhorse Publications, October 2016.) A lively Q and A follows every talk. 
(Dana Berger in "We Are Theatre" )
Guerrilla Girls On Tour! is thrilled to publish WE ARE THEATREan evening of kick ass plays that stand up for gender equality.

WE ARE THEATRE, was produced at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City in 2012 and includes plays by Tiffany Antone, Aphra Behn, Brooke Berman, Lynne S. Brandon, Paula Cizmar, Sarah Duncan, Jyl Lynn Felman, Lauren Ferebee, Dominique Fishback, Mila Golubov, Elizabeth Hess, Yvette Heyliger, Velina Hasu Houston, Penny Jackson, Andrea Lepcio, Marianne McDonald, Irina Merkina, Honor Molloy, Brighde Mullins, Vince Peterson, Sophia Romma, Laura Shamas, Mary Steelsmith, Caridad Svich, Kathleen Warnock, Sheilah Rae, Theresa Rebeck, Thelma Virata de Castro, Shay Youngblood and
Guerrilla Girls On Tour!

Read an excerpt:

(Drae Campbell in "We Are Theatre" 

In 2001 Guerrilla Girls split into three new and independent groups – Guerrilla Girls On Tour, Guerrilla Girls BroadBand and Guerrilla Girls, Inc,.
Guerrilla Girls On Tour is a touring theatre company founded by three former members of Guerrilla Girls.  We are a separate organization from Guerrilla Girls, Inc. and our focus is to develop new and original plays, performances and workshops that dramatize women’s history and advocate on behalf of women and artists of color in the performing arts.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Reporting from the Front: WPIC Cape Town, South Africa—Part 3

In this special three-part series, Aphra Behn from Guerilla Girls On Tour reports on the recent Women Playwrights International Conference (WPIC) in Cape Town, South Africa. 

To read the report click below:

Delegate Nehprii Amenii (USA). Photo by Nehprii Amenii.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015


Occupy Broadway

I loved the metaphor Lisa Kron used in her Tony acceptance speech for best book of a musical. She said that the house we all occupy has many rooms but that we seem to just stay in the living room.  Cheerfully egging us on she declared, “Wouldn’t it be great if after this season we didn’t just all go back into the living room?”  

Guerrilla Girls On Tour used to use similar imagery whenever someone asked us why we were demanding more plays by women be produced.  We would smile and throw our hands on our gorilla-masked faces and exclaim, “You can eat strawberry ice cream all your life but we are here to tell you that there are many other interesting flavors available!”

Along with so many other theatre artists and fans I am thrilled at Kron’s win as well as Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s Tony for best score, making them the first all female musical writing team to win. But waking up the morning after the awards I had to drag myself out of bed because I know what is coming and it exhausts me.

I fear that instead of a steady increase of women writers on Broadway, everything will go back to the same-old, same-old next season.  And by same-old I mean that women and people of color will be tokenized – there will be one of us working at any one time so that when Broadway is accused of being sexist and racist they can point to that one woman or artist of color in any category to “prove” that women and artists of color are indeed thriving on Broadway.

This year it was reported that Broadway would see an “explosion” of women with shows by three female composers, five female lyricists, two female bookwriters, four women directors and two female playwrights. Yet, for the 2015 Tony Awards, women were shut out of nominations for direction of a musical, choreography, costume design of a play and orchestrations. Only three acting nominees were non-white and those comprised the total number of people of color nominated in any category.  Yes, you read that correctly, there were only three people of color nominated across all Tony categories including the special Tony awards.

Guerrilla Girls On Tour launched several sticker campaigns at the turn of the century aimed at theatres that did not produce any plays by women.  We would head into the bathrooms during intermission and place these stickers in the toilet stalls.

After stickering these theatres for few months they would announce that their next seasons would include one play by a woman at which we would rejoice (and take full credit for the change). But we noticed a pattern.  After producing a season that included women these theatres would go back to seasons of plays by white men, pointing to their previous season as proof of their dedication to diversity.  In fact, there are many theatres in New York and across the US that still do not include one single play by a woman or writer of color in their entire mainstage seasons. (The Roundabout is one with a consistent track record for seasons by all white male playwrights.)

Presenting one play by a woman or a person of color in a 5 or 6 play season is not enough. One or two Tony’s to women composers, playwrights, directors, bookwriters is not enough.  Without the vision of women and artists of color, the theatre is like a musical without a second act.  The solution to the static face of theatre and the slow pace of change on Broadway could be very simple.

So yes, Lisa Kron, you are absolutely right and I thank you for mentioning the many rooms in the mansion known as Broadway where creativity lives. Let us all now rise from our comfy sofas, love seats and easy chairs and explore the mansion, shall we?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hello followers of guerrillagirlsontour blog!  

We know we have not been very consistent with posting on our blog. 

That is about to change!

We realize there is a void of feminist voices
a need for feminist posts
and we want to know what you'd like to hear about. 

We have a few ideas of what our next few months of blogging should focus on:

1) We Are Theatre - how do female playwrights fit into the patriarchal theatre world? 

2) Woman is President, If Woman Want it.  Grab your raincoats - as soon as Hillary announces her campaign the mudslinging and backlash will begin.

3) If Margaret Sanger were alive today - The current state of the uterus report.

4) All of the above.

Please weigh in with your preferences in the comments section!

Thank you.

Guerrilla Girls On Tour