WOW started in 1980 as an international festival of women performers. There was a second festival in 1981. In 1982, the founders—Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, Pamela Camhe, and Jordy Mark—decided to shift their focus to a local performance space. In the beginning we were in a storefront, and we actually had a cafÈ. We moved into this space in the mid 80s via the founding members’ hard work—clearing out four tons of equipment and building the space by hand. In 2000, we bought the space from the city (along with the other tenants here). We are raising money to bring the building up to code. WOW was founded as a women’s space. It has historically been a majority (but not exclusively) lesbian space, and in 2005 we became transgender-inclusive.
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