The 2008 performance of the play SEVEN at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in France resulted from a conversation with Alyse Nelson and then Vital Voices‘ President Melanne Verveer when both were attending the first Women’s Forum in China.

The challenge was simple. We not only wanted to bring to a business conference a one-hour theatrical performance with seven actresses, but we also wanted to leverage on the play and its seven actresses to launch a discussion on issues that are often overshadowed even in meetings focused on women empowerment.

Thanks to Melanne Verveer, Diane Von Furstenberg – who had already presented the play at her studio in New York City – agreed to sponsor the production of SEVEN in Deauville.

The actresses came from countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Guatemala, Ireland, Pakistan, and Russia, to be heard at a plenary dinner led by Melanne Verveer.

DVF also hosted a special stand dedicated to the play SEVEN throughout the conference.

SEVEN was eventually performed two years later at the first edition of Women in the World (2010) in New York City with Meryl Streep, among others, reading the play. It has been staged throughout the world since.

After SEVEN, 37East worked often with the Women’s Forum on cultural content, including: street artist Panmela Castro; artist Betsabée Romero; singers Angélique Kidjo and Daniela Mercury; actresses Mariana Ximenes, Altair Jarabo, Martha Higareda, and Olga Segura; musical conductor Alondra de la Parra; Despacito co-author and singer Erika Ender; pianist Marie-Agathe Charpagne; and with opera and children singers.

  • Develop partnership with DVF
  • Develop partnership with Vital Voices
  • Coordination with DVF, Vital Voices and the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society
  • Coordination of translation into French
  • Production assistance on site

From Seven’s official website:

A collaboration by seven award-winning female playwrights, the play is based on personal interviews with seven extraordinary women in the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network who triumphed over enormous obstacles to bring about major changes in their home countries of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and Cambodia.

SEVEN begins! Seven women playwrights begin interviews of international women leaders connected to the network of Vital Voices Global Partnership in 2006. Each playwright creates a monologue illuminating the life of her interviewee based on many interviews over many months from 2006-2007. The playwrights meet and try out the monologues and present them at a reading at New Dramatists,  February 2007.
 SEVEN is awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Consortium grant. 
Playwrights are awarded a Residency Fellowship for development of SEVEN at Voice & Vision ENVISION Retreat at Bard College and work for 2 weeks weaving the individual monologues together into a single script, culminating in a reading of the first draft, directed by Gerda Stevenson,  July 2007.

“The lives of these women provide a portal through which audiences will be able to experience a diversity of cultures while bearing witness to the varied way in which individual women have overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles to justice and freedom.” —Melanne Verveer, First American Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues


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