Rosanna Hughes, left, and Lotasha Correll work on directing rehearsals of ‘Float’ at Theater Puget Sound in Seattle Center. The couple started the fringe theater troupe Mistresspiece in 2016.
Rosanna Hughes, left, and Lotasha Correll work on directing rehearsals of ‘Float’ at Theater Puget Sound in Seattle Center. The couple started the fringe theater troupe Mistresspiece in 2016.

In a small room on the top floor of The Armory in Seattle Center, a group of women are collaborating and practicing their lines. The group is a part of the new Seattle theater troupe, Mistresspiece, and are preparing for the troupe’s first ever production, “Float,” by Patricia Kane.

Rosanna Hughes and her wife Latosha Correll started the nonprofit arts group to serve as a theater troupe for women and LGBTQ actors, writers and artists.

Hughes performed in theater growing up and earned her college degree in acting, while Correll performed in talent shows and plays at her church growing up.

“We’ve had trouble, both as actors and as audience members, finding pieces that represent our experience,” Hughes said. “This is not just in Seattle; it’s anywhere you go, it’s hard to see a play that has LGBT characters that are not stereotyped or just victims — same with women.”

The couple saw a need for women like themselves who want to play in more diverse, well-rounded roles.

Hughes and Correll formed their nonprofit in 2016, and spent the first two years fundraising, marketing and connecting with actors. Fractured Atlas, a technology nonprofit that provides funding and tools for artists, serves as Mistresspiece’s fiscal sponsor.

Hughes said this is her first time directing a two-act production since college. She said the best part about “Float” is how the women in the play interact to create a larger story about their community.

“Float” is the story of five women in a Midwest women’s club together trying to navigate relationships, rumors and the holidays while building a Christmas float. The entire play takes place in the barn where the float is being constructed.

“Out here you don’t see a lot of this,” Hughes said. “Parades are a really big deal in the Midwest. They do parades for every holiday.”

It took Hughes and Correll two years to find the perfect first show.

“It was mostly trying to find the right show, but also trying to get our ducks in a row since we were starting a new company,” Hughes said. “Also, I think we wanted the show to be an all-female cast with characters in all age ranges and personalities. But we also didn’t want it to be too melancholy. We wanted something funny and uplifting.”

Mistresspiece is a “rove, fringe” troupe, and are rehearsing at The Armory in the Seattle Center as a part of Theater Puget Sound. The show is being performed at the Pocket Performing Arts Center in Greenwood.

Hughes and Correll said practicing in Uptown has brought them a lot of first-time experience running their own show, and they have found satisfaction in working with women and actors who usually are looked over for more mainstream roles.

“We long to see more female playwrights, more women leads onstage, more people of color, a balance of gender diversity and more people with disabilities performing and working backstage,” Correll said. “Mistresspiece Theater empowers and supports all types of artists from different mediums to participate in and grow through theater.”