Witches Vanish

"Barnett’s work is striking and raw … flooded with imagery, both beautiful and haunting, grotesque and serene. … A stellar and inspiring new piece of theatre with cultural and gender relevance is being unveiled at Venus Theatre, and this is the moment to take the opportunity to come and see it."

—Amanda N. Gunther, TheatreBloom

"Underlying Witches Vanish, the new play by Venus Theatre Company, is a cold bedrock of fact: A tremendous amount of women are missing. Oftentimes just a blurb on the evening news, these women all have personal histories, family and friends, and a vibrant emotional life that is rarely portrayed. Playwright Claudia Barnett never lets us forget this basic truth … "

—Michael Poandl, DC Metro Theater Arts

"Inspired by history and legend, Barnett's stunning script conjures the stories of real women and girls gone missing from all over the world, witnessed by the three witches from Macbeth. … The voices of lost women and girls everywhere have migrated into the light through Barnett's beautiful words."

—Patti Restivo, Baltimore Sun

Henry Fuseli, Three Witches (1783).

Henry Fuseli, Three Witches (1783).

Synopsis. In a series of stylized, highly visual vignettes employing puppetry, poetry, and surrealism, the weïrd sisters from Macbeth explore the stories of women who disappear, whether by choice or force. Inspired by history, astronomy, and Shakespeare, Witches Vanish examines the nature of change and the value of human life. 3W or 5W.

Witches Vanish was developed through the Downstage Left development program at Stage Left Theatre, Chicago (Vance Smith, artistic director) and had a workshop production as part of LeapFest 9: A Downstage Left Festival of New Plays, May 15-June 3, 2012. Scott Bishop directed. 

The cast of the MultiStages New Works Finalist Festival reading.

The cast of the MultiStages New Works Finalist Festival reading.

Witches Vanish was a finalist in the MultiStages 2013 New Works Contest and was further developed through MultiStages (Lorca Peress, artistic director). It had a staged reading in the MultiStages New Works Finalist Festival on January 20, 2014 in New York. Melissa Maxwell directed. 

Mary Burke-Hueffmeier, Amy Rhodes, Ann Fraistat, and Deborah Randall in Venus Theatre's reading of Witches Vanish at the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage New Play Festival. Adam S. Lowe Photography,

Mary Burke-Hueffmeier, Amy Rhodes, Ann Fraistat, and Deborah Randall in Venus Theatre's reading of Witches Vanish at the Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage New Play Festival. Adam S. Lowe Photography,

Witches Vanish was workshopped at the 8th Annual Women’s Work Festival, co-sponsored by White Rooster Theatre (Ruth Lawrence, artistic director), RCA Theatre (Nicole Rousseau, artistic director), and She Said Yes! Theatre (Sara Tilley, artistic director). It had a staged reading on March 4, 2014, in St John’s, Newfoundland. Mary Vingoe directed. 

Leticia Monet and Jennifer Berry in the Venus Theatre production of Witches Vanish. Photo by Curtis Jordan.

Leticia Monet and Jennifer Berry in the Venus Theatre production of Witches Vanish. Photo by Curtis Jordan.

Witches Vanish had a PlayLab reading at the 9th Annual Great Plains Theatre Conference (Kevin Lawler, producing artistic director) in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 26, 2014. Julia Hinson directed. 

Venus Theatre (Deborah Randall, artistic director) presented a staged reading of Witches Vanish at the 13th annual Page to Stage New Play Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, on September 1, 2014. Deborah Randall directed.

Witches Vanish premiered at Venus Theatre (Deborah Randall, artistic director) in Laurel, Maryland as part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival: August 20-September 20, 2015. Deborah Randall directed.

Witches Vanish was included in Borderlands of History: Gender, Violence, Memory, A Staged Reading Series, at the University of Pittsburgh, on March 18, 2016. Shelby Brewster directed.