Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Submissions for '14 Performance Open

The word is out to all local artists: if you write, sing, dance, and/or want to talk about your body, your relationship to it, and your relation to others, we want to hear about it.

For information on how to submit work, check out the submit a story page.

People often say they don't know if their writing is "good enough" for Below the Belt. Here is what I have to say to that: most of the writers who contribute to this performance had not written seriously before. Many submissions are rants that have been revised, journal entries expanded upon, explorations of self, conversations on social media that turned out deep. We want to hear your voice in the work. And if that voice doesn't have the biggest vocabulary or isn't sure where a comma goes, what's important is that your story is being told.

We encourage first time authors to contribute and encourage those who have submitted work before to explore new themes.

Some themes that Below the Belt would like to explore:
(please do not feel limited by these themes, they are just a few ideas)

  • Polyamorous lifestyle choices
  • Recovery after abortion
  • Menopause 
  • Hormonal issues
  • Virginity stories
  • Consent/Rape culture
  • OBGYN experiences
  • Men's health
  • Personal Grooming (i.e. beards, bathing, makeup)
  • Marriage equality
  • Strange places or conditions during sex 
  • Transphobic experiences
  • Transfriendly experiences 
  • Breakups and reconciliation
  • Stories from Baby Boomers and older

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

So we're putting together a fresh show

We've gotten a few new submissions. Not nearly enough for an entirely fresh show, but we'll get there (with your help).

Getting everything arranged for our Summer '14 show in Winona, Minnesota.

We are between two venues right now, Dibs Cafe and the Winona Art's Center. Both, we feel like will support the message of Below the Belt: Gender, Society, and Sex. 

As far as directors go, there are a few heads popping up around Winona. But it really depends on what we can pay them.

Check out our new logo:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Submitting Work

Below the Belt: Gender, Society, and Sex is an ongoing collaborative performance of dynamic voices. We are always adding to our script and we want to give your story a voice!

          We do not draw lines like gender or sexual orientation. We have a cast of actors perform the monologues, poems, and short stories we receive. Sharing stories of body issues, sex, gender, society, attraction, and the grey areas of taboos "down there."

         As always, monologues, songs, short stories, and/or poems related to sex, sexuality, gender, attraction, and anything else "below the belt" will be accepted. No theme too perverse or too tame. Please keep submissions under 1500 words. 

      If you would like to submit work, would like to present a theme that is not included here, or have any other questions about submissions, please email and we'll clear things up.

The History of Below the Belt Theatre

This project started in 2008, at a college of 700 students, in a Northern Wisconsin lumber town of 8,000 people. At that time, it was a documentary about queer youths’ experience in K - 12 schools called Path Out of Darkness. The screening of that documentary sat twenty people.

The following year, question boxes were scattered around my campus, collecting from the public about LGBT people, which were taken to a panel of LGBT writers and answered. This, along with contributed “coming out” stories, were collected into an informal live reading called Twenty Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask a Gay Person, which was followed by an open panel question and answer session. We expected to seat twenty people in the unadorned basement student lounge. Over forty attended that one-night reading.

It was after the success of this informal reading that we realized we needed to broaden the scope of the stories Below the Belt  was exploring. Not wanting to simply encapsulate the experience of queer youth, but women, men, and those between, of all ages, at all stages of their lives and sexual experiences. It would need a real stage, with passionate actors.

Throughout the next year, the call was put  out to writers looking for stories about their sex lives. Stories trickled in. Stories of hope, despair, love, sex, and, most of all, self. On February 20th, 2010 Below the Belt: Gender, Society, and Sex premiered on stage, performed by The Fourth Wall Theatre Troupe. The show was free and, at a college where most performances seat twenty people, we sat close to fifty people the first evening. We filled the hundred seat house our two other performances that weekend. In 2011, I had enough stories to collect into a fresh script. We filled the house every night and had standing room only; people were out into the hallway, peering over the crowds at our 2011 show.

Now, Below the Belt is branching out, seeking new stages and new voices to present its ever growing script. If you have any questions about the performing the show,  if you would like to submit writing to the script, or if you have suggestions on how to make the show more successful, I am available via e-mail at