It’s been a difficult year for women everywhere, given discriminatory legislation, pay gaps, and antiquated norms. But amid the chaos, Dallas comedian Anna Barden, as well as other creative women, are imagining a world in which women can freely express themselves among other like-minded individuals.
This Friday, Barden will kick off Queen For A Day: A Royal Women’s Comedy Festival, which features a line-up of women comedians performing two days of stand-up sets, storytelling routines and more.
Barden was inspired to create Queen For A Day after several local comedians had taken to Facebook to share that they weren’t getting enough stage time at local venues, which she says is “nothing new.”
“There was a comment within all of this that said something like, ‘If you really want to make a difference between your group and whoever you feel like is being not recognized, you should book your own venue and sell it out and then make a difference,’” Barden tells Local Profile.
So Barden did exactly that. For her first time ever producing an event, she will bring women-led comedy as well as hair design, cake walks and fortune telling to the Art Centre Theatre in Plano.
On Friday, comedians Linda Stogner, Sheridi Lester, Bridget Tooley, Rose Katherine, Angela Owen, Brittany Goss, Holly Van Straten and Marena Riyad will perform stand-up routines. Tooley will also host an open-mic portion, in which aspiring comedians can show off their comedy chops.
On Saturday, Barden will perform a stand-up routine, as well as Malori Davis, Kim Wadsworth, Lilli Lopez, Amanda French, Latrice Wilkerson, Kirstie Hayden, and Sylvia McBateman. French will host the open mic portion on Saturday.
In addition to comedy, stylist Keira Dowd will be offering her iconic hair dying and feathering services, and Davis will also read fortunes.
There will also be vibrator races, which are exactly as they sound.
“I just bought a Hot Wheels race track, and now I have to go to Condom Sense to get some ‘contestants,’” Barden said, “if you know what I mean. For the vibrator races, Madeleine Teig will do a quick stand-up set, then get into a referee shirt, and put all the ‘contestants’ at the top of the track. Hopefully, people will stand around and get really into it, otherwise, that would be awkward.”
Attendees of Queen For A Day can also look forward to comedians delivering routines in a storytelling format. Comedian Tiffani Rodriguez is one of the artists who will be sharing humorous accounts from her life.
“The thing I like about storytelling is it’s kind of stand-up’s sibling,” Rodriguez says, “but you don’t have to keep on telling jokes. The great thing about storytelling is you can tell a story, and the funny part is that it’s relatable in some way. The story itself could be very serious or humorous or very heavy, but there are some aspects of that, that people can relate to.”
With an all-women line-up of comedians, vendors, and artists, Queen For A Day aims to empower performers in a traditionally male-dominated scene. Though this is Barden’s first time producing an event on this scale, she is already making a large impact by giving so many underrepresented artists a platform to freely express themselves.
“It’s very rare that women get the opportunity to just be themselves,” Rodriguez says, “and not have to worry about ‘Am I funny enough for a bigger crowd?’ This is women supporting women, and I’m just looking forward to the camaraderie to see some of the people that I know on that lineup who are hilarious, even when they’re not trying to be.”