Women and Magic Symposium

Was held on Sunday, April 14, 2019
A discussion on women’s alchemical, magical, and spiritual creation process, and how this approach often remains hidden. Featuring Susan Aberth, Morgan Jenness, Stacy Klein, Baraka Sele, Sherina Sharpe, and featured artists Jennifer Johnson, Liza Bielby, Micaela Farias Gomez, and Sheyla Rivera.

“We have forced these powers into the inner hidden realm, and not just hidden because of the intimacy required, but because women are so busy defending themselves against violence that they can’t defend their practice of witchcraft or spirituality or magic... To me, it’s about courage, the courage to create in a reality that may not invite creation, the courage to create in different circumstances that you face. And I think Leonora Carrington is inspiring because she took the hardships and traumas of her life and made magic. I think it’s about freedom, the freedom of our souls, our spirit. And I think there’s something healing about people who find that power to go into themselves, particularly women who don’t succumb to circumstances or daily life,”
-Stacy Klein, Founder & Artistic Director, Double Edge Theatre

Symposium Content

1:00pm (60 minutes)- Moderated by Stacy Klein
Each participant will introduce themselves and either discuss work, read from her work, or share about their work in light of the topic of women’s creativity in magic, alchemy, and spirituality.

2:00pm (20 minutes)
Discussion among participants around the following question:
How language and silence dwell in and occupy the same space in a creative practice and how symbols and imagery are often misunderstood or invalidated as vehicles of narrative.

2:20 pm (40 mins)
Special guest presentations, Micaela Farias Gomez (song), Sheyla Rivera (video/audio clip), and short clip of Vessels (10 mins total)
Followed by an attendees discussion with participants (30 mins)

3:-00pm- 4:00pm Shared meal for participants and all guests & attendees

Rather than print out the readings below, we have offered them here, in case attendees would like to read

About the Participants


Stacy Klein

Host, Founder and Artistic Director, Double Edge Theatre

Stacy Klein founded Double Edge Theatre in 1982 and under her leadership, the company has grown into one of the foremost ensemble theatres and theatre centers in the US. Klein has conceived and directed five original performance cycles, which have earned her international recognition for daring and innovation. In 2013, she was honored with a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, given to artists of profound influence on the field in this country.


Baraka Sele

Poet, Independent Consultant and Producer, author of The Black Paper

Baraka Sele is an independent producer and consultant.  Ms. Sele served as Assistant Vice President of Programming at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and also as the Curator/Producer of NJPAC’s Alternate Routes (formerly NJPAC World Festival), an international performing arts series. Ms. Sele’s first collection of poetry was published when she was still an undergraduate student, and since that time, her poems have appeared in various publications, including Black American Literature Forum.


Susan Aberth

Bard College Associate Professor, author Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy, and Art

Susan Aberth is an associate professor of art history, specializing in Latin American surrealism, and has been on the faculty at Bard since 2000. Dr. Aberth teaches in the Latin American and Iberian Studies Program, as well as in Africana Studies, Art History, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy, and Art (2004).


Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe

Writer, educator, performer from Detroit, executive director of Obsidian Blues and co-founder of Crossroad collective

Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe is a writer, editor, performer & educator from Detroit, MI. She is a 2018 MAP grant awardee, a 2017 Knight Arts Challenge awardee, a 2014 Kresge Theater fellow, a 2014 Cave Canem fellow, 2013 Voices of Our Nations Authors alum, executive director of Obsidian Blues and co-founder of the C R O S S R O A D collective.


Morgan Jenness

Creative consultant, recipient of Doris Duke Impact award and Obie Award special citation for longtime support of playwrights

Morgan Jenness is the recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2003 Obie Award Special Citation for Longtime Support of Playwrights. She has spent almost three decades working as a dramaturg and creative consultant for theaters (including the Public Theater, LATC and NYTW) and developmental workshops, university theater programs, funding organizations, ensembles, and individual artists across the country.


Meena Natarajan

Playwright, Pangea World Theater Executive and Literary Director

Meena Natarajan is a playwright and director and the Executive and Literary Director of Pangea World Theater, a progressive, international ensemble space that creates at the intersection of art, equity and social justice. She has led the theater’s growth since its founding in 1995. Meena has co-curated and designed many of Pangea World Theater’s professional and community based programs. She has written at least ten full-length works for Pangea.

Circle of women respondents:

  • Jennifer Johnson (co-creator of Leonora and Alejandro, co-artistic director)

  • Micaela Farias Gomez (leader of Argentina band MICAELA FARIAS GOMEZ)

  • Liza Bielby (co-director The Hinterlands)

  • Sheyla Rivera (multi genre artist, writer, arts manager www.sheyrivera.com)

Symposium coordinator: Cariel Klein, DE Associate Producer