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Don’t Miss the Final Weekend!
Don’t miss the exclusive talkbacks with the Playwright, Joyce Van Dyke,
on Feb. 18 via zoom and In-Person Feb 15 & 16.
Check out the Q&A with Van Dyke below.

The Women Who Mapped the Stars by Joyce Van Dyke
Feb. 15-17 at 7:30 pm and Feb. 18 at 2:00 pm.
Directed by Todd Sherman  

All performances will be held at and for the Calusa Nature Center &
Planetarium located at 3450 Ortiz Ave, Fort Myers, FL 33905.  

In The Women Who Mapped the Stars, five women astronomers working
together at the Harvard Observatory help to shape the development of

In this time-bending, non-linear play, theatre goers will experience the rivalries
and friendships of five very different women as they build on each other’s work,
feed each other’s dreams, exult in the thrill of discovery, struggle for recognition,
and open the doors for those who come after them.   

Cast: Lauren Drexler, Shelley Sanders, Nova Rae, Isabella Cintron and Stacy Stauffe.  

This performance is generously sponsored by Janet & Bruce Bunch.    

Purchase Tickets →    

Q & A with the playwright, Joyce Van Dyke  

Q: Why do you think this is an inspiring story?  

Because the women are heroic. The love and passion these women had for learning about the stars,
their creativity, their lifelong dedication, their persistence in the face of every obstacle — how can
that not be inspiring? They were able to do great things, even make discoveries that changed the
course of science, because they persisted.    

Q: What was the most fun part of writing this play?  

The dinner party scene! It just poured out of me — it made me laugh as I wrote it, it was so much fun! 
And afterwards I hardly had to revise a line. I think it came out like that because I’ve had that kind of
conversation so many times in my life — in my head and also with other women — I know it by heart.     

Q: What was the hardest part of writing the play?  

I had to learn a lot very fast about the science in the play in order to write it. I didn’t know anything
about astronomy when I started. That was challenging, but the most painful part of writing the play
was coming to understand and to feel how the women were slighted, treated as inferior, and held
back. And even when they made discoveries, how often men were given the credit. (There’s a term
for that; it’s called “The Matilda Effect.”) How painful!      

Q: Who is your favorite character?  

A playwright has to be a good parent and love all the characters. And I do love them all, for their very
different qualities. Most of all I am inspired by Cecilia, by her genius and by her refusal to let anyone
stop her from having the life she wanted.    

Up Next!

Dexter, the Improv Musical  

Feb. 23-25, 7:30-9:30 pm •Jeff Lindsay, the creator of Dexter Morgan, has written more than his Dexter
and Riley Wolfe novels. He’s also written over two dozen plays for theatre, and he did improv comedy in
L.A. And now he’s written something new that combines all three; Dexter the (Improv) Musical is coming
to the Alliance for the Arts stage.  

“It’s not a play,” Lindsay says. “It’s an Un-Play. There’s a script, but we never really know what’s in it.
It’s always different – a world premiere every night.”    

Get Tickets →  

Fringe Fort Myers 2024

May 30-June 2, 2024 • Fringe Fort Myers is the premier performing arts festival
in Southwest Florida. Making it’s debut last year, Fringe Fort Myers is dedicated
to supporting independent performers and artists while creating opportunities for
diverse communities to experience boundary-pushing theatre and live performances
at affordable rates.   Stay tuned for more details.   For tickets, call 239-939-2787 or

Alliance for the Arts 
(239) 939-2787 • 10091 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers


MembershipDonateExhibits Events Classes Theatre Digital Arts Lab    

2023-24 Theatre Season Brought to You By:  

Janet & Bruce Bunch • The Claiborne & Ned Foulds Foundation • Gorovoy MD
Eye Specialists Shareen & William Groce • Dr. Susan Hogan • Noreen Raney • Arthur Zupko  

Leigh Frizzell Hayes •  Deb Meisenberg • Clif & Tina Parker 

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