Skip to main content

EstroFest Productions, Inc. records

Identifier: W081

Scope and Content of the Records

The EstroFest Productions, Inc. records, 1997-2004, are comprised of founding documents, administrative files, grant-writing files, publicity materials such as programs, flyers, and press releases, photographs, videos and reference files. The bulk of the collection highlights EstroFest's performances between 2001 and 2003. The electronic records found in Series I include posters, photographs, and paperwork related to EstroFest events and volunteer programs between 2001 and 2003.


  • Creation: 1997-2004


Restrictions on Access

Access to one file is restricted, otherwise the physical records are open for research.

Born-digital files may contain restricted content and require review by Special Collections and Archives staff prior to access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

History of EstroFest Productions, Inc.

Established in 1999, EstroFest Productions, Inc. produced and sponsored programs that promoted and affirmed the creative talents and technical skills of women in the visual, performing and fine arts. EstroFest was active until the end of 2003, at which time its co-founder and director, Ruth Anna Millman, resigned.

Throughout the fall of 1999, several Atlanta women directors and actresses came together to discuss the possibility of creating a playreading festival to promote the work of women playwrights and women-centered plays, and to see more of those produced in Atlanta. This group included Rachel May, Sarah Raskin, Josie Burgin Lawson, and Stephanie Harvey. Others who became involved included Shayna Nickel who, for three years, had been producing the successful Big Mama Cinefest at IMAGE Film and Video Center; dancer Martha Donovan, who had worked on The Spare Rib Festival while at Northwestern University; and Ruth Anna Millman. Also a Northwestern alum, Millman had already produced two events that combined arts with women's activism. By February 2001, with a core group of artists - 21 curators and production staff - EstroFest Productions, Inc. created Atlanta's first women's arts festival.

Estrofest Projects, 2001-2003

Seen + Heard: The Atlanta Women's Arts Festival (February 2001) honored and celebrated the varied experiences of women of all shapes, sizes, colors, creed, sexual orientations, and ages through multiple avenues of art and creativity. The festival's purpose was to explore what it means to be a woman through the art of process and the process of art. It was hoped that the festival would connect its audience with information on various women-centered organizations and resources, and that, through the festival, there would be recognition within the Atlanta community of the work of women artists. Cool Girls, Inc. and Charis Circle were chosen to be beneficiaries of the festival.

The Twilight Moonbeam Ball (December 2001) was a winter fundraiser performance party for EstroFest Productions. It was a lunar-themed event that featured the spoken word and poetry of local lesbian artists and San Francisco spoken word artist Thea Hillman. The show promoted the works of over 20 local women artists (mostly lesbian), and was technically managed and produced by lesbians.

The performance The Weather Equals the World (February-March 2002) incorporated theater, dance, spoken word, music, and video to examine the parallels between weather and human perception. It included a photography exhibit exploring similar themes, curated by Sistagraphy, a local African-American photography collective. The Weather Equals the World offered both a meditative and light-hearted examination of weather phenomena and mood fluctuations, and the performers blended original and found text, movement, and music generated largely through the rehearsal process. The result was a personal and reflective glimpse into the overlapping worlds of six women. The purpose in creating the show was to examine the relationship between weather and the human spirit through art, and to transfer that knowledge to help women in Atlanta with mental illness. The New Learning Center, an Atlanta non-profit which helped low-income and medically underserved women with mental illness was the benefitting organization.

Vamp/Revamp (June 2002, PushPush Theater) was EstroFest's first Gay Pride production honoring the lesbian experience in art and culture. Featured shows included Underground TRANSit (starring Kt Kilborn and Angela Motter) and KINGdom Come.

Damaged but Not Dead...And Other Hilarious Survival Stories (October 19-20, 2002) was produced by invitation for First glance Atlanta - a festival of new works. All the performers wrote/choreographed/created their own works about their personal survival stories. Performers included artists from Atlanta and New York; African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic-American artists; and lesbian artists. Topics addressed in the performances included food addiction, mourning the death of an abusive father, families and alcoholism, corporate conformity, and ageism. Damaged, But Not Dead was written and performed by Colleen O'Hare, and the "other hilarious survival stories" were told by Jennie Row (Wanna Be K-Girl), Ruth Anna Millman (Cryophobia), Christine Suarez (Drunken Butterfly), Martha Donovan (Father's Day), Kt Kilborn (Falling as Sport), and Robin G. White (For the Love of Twinkies).

The Lysistrata Project (March 3, 2003) was produced to oppose the war in Iraq, provide a humorous entree into a health community dialogue about "diplomacy by violence," and raise money for organizations that work for peace and human rights. The idea for the project was born in January 2003, when New York actresses Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower were inspired by Theaters Against War to do something about their feelings regarding the war in Iraq. The resulting project turned into a world-wide theater event for peace. Lysistrata is a comedy by Greek dramatist Aristophanes, and tells the story of a group of women from opposing states who unite to end the Peloponnesian War. In Atlanta in March 2003, five other theater groups were doing their own readings of Lysistrata , therefore EstroFest's reading was purposefully gender-bent and re-sexually oriented. Men played women and women played men; the majority of the characters were changed to gays, trans, and lesbians.

The Rage Project (March 21-30, 2003) was a provocative, investigative, and sometimes humorous exploration of anger, aggression, and violence in women through theater, dance, performance art, film, and photography. It included the telling of stories of women in history often not heard because they have been incarcerated. The project included: Rage Within/Without, written and performed by Kathy Rendels; Seeing Red: Film Shorts, curated by Genevieve McGillicuddy; Fume, written and directed by Melissa Foulger and writen and performed by Thersa Cunningham, Tamara Madison-Shaw, Alka Roy and Ruth Anna Millman; Manifestations of Rage: Photography Exhibit by Sistagraphy; Blind Spot: Murder by Women, a video directed by Irving Sarah, Allie Light, and Julie Hilder

Dykes with Baggage (June 12-22, 2003 at PushPush Theater; June 28-30 touring in Atlanta for Gay Pride weekend) was Atlanta's second lesbian-targeted annual Gay Pride performance project honoring the lesbian experience. Based on the book of the same title edited by Riggin Waugh and featuring material by writers Laura A. Vess and C.C. Carter, Dykes with Baggage was a humorous and touching look at lesbians in therapy, with writings by prominent lesbian writers and cartoonists from across America. Three actresses, Heather Starkel, Deisha Oliver, and Melissa Travis, played all of the characters.

Biography of Ruth Anna Millman

After graduating from Northwestern University in 1994 with a BS in Speech, Ruth Anna Millman worked at Turner Classic Movies where she was an award-winning writer/producer of entertainment documentaries. A native of Atlanta, Millman has been performing since she was 10, first with the Ruth Mitchell Dance Company, Horizon Theater Teen Ensemble, Georgia Shakespeare Festival and Onstage Atlanta. Since graduating from Northwestern, Millman performed with Dad's Garage Theater Company, Theater Gael, Sol-stice Repertory, and Horizon Theater New Horizon's Project. In 1997, Millman helmed a theater/benefit project at Horizon Theater, which raised money for Georgia State University's Women's Studies Institute. Millman also volunteered for local feminist and arts organizations: she was a member of MAFIA (Metro Atlanta Feminists in Action) - a group of young women working for economic, racial and social justice; Charis Circle; and IMAGE Film and Video. Millman was Co-Founder and Artistic Director for EstroFest Productions, Inc. Millman resigned from EstroFest in 2003, to become a Supervising Producer for the Travel Channel in Washington, D.C.


5.01 Linear Feet (in 14 boxes)

.92 Gigabytes (3,087 digital files and 352 folders, totaling .92 GB)

Language of Materials



Established in 1999, EstroFest Productions, Inc. produced and sponsored programs that promoted and affirmed the creative talents and technical skills of women in the visual, performing and fine arts. EstroFest was active until the end of 2003. The records contain administrative records, documentation of EstroFest performances, and reference files.


Arranged in 3 series: I. Administrative Records, II. EstroFest Productions, Inc. Performances, III. Reference Files.

Technical Requirements

Born-digital content is found in Series 1 and must be accessed in the Special Collections and Archives reading room. Access to this material requires an appointment and at least two working days' advance notice; consult Special Collections staff for assistance. Files are stored in the Special Collections preservation system and can be made available by request on a reading room computer, subject to any restrictions deemed necessary after a departmental review.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Ruth Anna Millman, 2009.

Digital Appraisal

During processing of the electronic records, files with unique content were extracted from the Zip disks for preservation. System files, utilities, and other items preloaded on the disks were not retained.

Existence and Location of Copies

Electronic files have been separated from physical source media for preservation and access purposes. Copies are stored on the Special Collections preservation server; access requires at least two working days’ advance notice. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Digital Materials

The digital portion of the collection comprises 9 Zip disks. 3,087 digital files and 352 folders (totalling .92 GB) were extracted from those disks and retained.

Processing Information

Processed by Morna Gerrard at the item level, 2012.

Digital materials processed by Haley Price under the supervision of Katherine Fisher, 2020. Files containing unique or donor-created content were extracted from Zip disks and preserved. Original file names and formats were retained. Folder-level modified dates were unavoidably altered during the transfer process, but file-system metadata for individual files was retained whenever possible. A file directory list is available on request.

EstroFest Productions, Inc.:
A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library
Morna Gerrard
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)