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Press Release

Eric C. Sloss

For immediate release:
February 20, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Drama Students to Take Part in International Anti-War "Lysistrata Project" March 2-3

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University students will participate in the worldwide Lysistrata Project with two readings of Aristophanes' ancient Greek anti-war comedy, "Lysistrata."

Carnegie Mellon Drama students and staff, led by junior directing student Renee Blinkwolt, will take part in this international movement by staging two readings of the ancient comedy. The first will be held at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, 2003, at Emma's Art and Coffee Emporium in Lawrenceville. A second reading takes place on Monday, March 3, 2003 at 10:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Purnell Center for the Arts on the Carnegie Mellon University campus.

"I was inspired to get involved in the Lysistrata Project by the spirit of optimism and activism that the project and its main organizers demonstrate," said Blinkwolt, "The people involved in this project truly believe in peace, theatre and the power of communication."

New York actors Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower conceived the Lysistrata Project in early January of this year. "Before we started Lysistrata Project, we could do nothing but sit and watch in horror as the Bush Administration drove us toward a unilateral attack on Iraq," said co-founder Blume. "So we emailed all our friends and put up a Web site. The response has been enormous."

Bower said, "The response from those in politically unstable countries has been very moving. Some of them will hold their readings in the privacy of their own living rooms to avoid danger. But they tell us it's worth the risk to be part of this movement of hope. Many people have emailed us to say how distraught they feel about the war. Now they feel empowered to do something and foster dialogue in their own communities."

Lysistrata tells the story of women from opposing states that unite to end a war by refusing to sleep with their husbands until the men agree to lay down their swords. Powerless in their society and distraught over too many of their children being slaughtered in battle, the women take the only tactic available to them: they withhold sex.

To date, more than 389 play readings are scheduled in 32 countries to voice opposition to the war in Iraq; those numbers increase hourly. Readings will raise money for charities working for peace and humanitarian aid in the Middle East. In addition to readings in cities such as London, Berlin, Paris, Beirut and Jerusalem, groups from nearly every state in America are hosting events as part of this worldwide theatrical act of dissent. In New York City, where the project originated, dozens of teams of actors and directors will read Lysistrata in public spaces throughout the day. The Lysistrata Project will then present an all-star reading of the play that evening.

For more information or directions to Emma's Art and Coffee Emporium in Lawrenceville, please call 412-683-8992. For information about either of these readings, please contact Lindsay Krieg at 412-268-1574 or via email at Donations will be accepted at the door with proceeds benefiting MADRA, an international women's human rights organization that works in conflict areas worldwide to address issues of health, education, economic development and other human rights. For more information about the Lysistrata Project, please visit

The School of Drama is one of five schools within Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. The College of Fine Arts is a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into five schools: Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music, and their associated centers and programs.

For more information on the School of Drama or the College of Fine Arts contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or email


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