THE KILROYS TAKE ACTION IN THE FACE OF GENDER DISPARITY IN THE AMERICAN THEATRE AND LAUNCH 5TH ANNUAL “THE LIST 2019”
LA and NYC-based playwright advocacy collective releases vetted list of
un- and under-produced new plays by women, trans, and non-binary writers.
June 18, 2019 – The Kilroys, an independent, Los Angeles- and New York City-based playwright/director/producer collective, announced their 5th annual THE LIST 2019 of industry-recommended new plays. THE LIST serves as a resource for producers and theaters committed to gender parity. The Kilroys have partnered with the New Play Exchange to provide interested parties fast and easy access to THE LIST plays.
The Kilroys seek to focus attention on underrepresented voices as a powerful means of overcoming the systemic and implicit biases that create exclusion — historically, women and trans writers face more discrimination than other groups. Through these efforts, attention on underrepresented voices has increased visibility and opportunity. THE LIST 2019 represents this mission and continues the fight to achieve gender parity in the American Theater.
This year, in an effort to widen their scope and attention toward the underrepresented, and explore the intersectional facets that make up the dynamics of bias, The Kilroys asked nominators to recommend plays by women, trans, and non-binary writers who have never before been on The Kilroys List. THE LIST 2019 features 33 of the most recommended un- and under-produced new plays written by women, trans, and non-binary writers culled from an industry-wide survey of professional artistic directors, literary managers, professors, producers, directors, and dramaturgs from all 50 states, and abroad. To be a nominator, theater professionals must have read or seen at least 40 plays in the previous year, and are then invited to nominate themselves as respondents for the following year’s LIST. Play recommendations for THE LIST are submitted anonymously. Members of The Kilroys act as facilitators throughout the process but do not recommend plays for THE LIST.
In 2014, The Kilroys created THE LIST survey in response to systemic gender bias in theater programming. The vetted collection of industry-recommended works was designed to bring worthy plays by women, trans, and non-binary playwrights to the forefront of the American theater conversation. And, it has. In the first four years of its existence, THE LIST has featured 165 plays: In 2014, 46 plays, in 2015, 53 plays, in 2016, 32 plays and in 2017, 34 plays. Over 1,000 plays have been nominated by more than 300 industry professionals. Since its inception, more than 100 productions of plays on THE LIST have been announced and/or produced.
Momentum for women theater makers is on the rise, despite continued under-representation of women, trans, and non-binary playwrights on American stages. According to The Count, (an ongoing theater study about who American theater is producing, initially released in 2015, and funded by The Lilly Awards in partnership with The Dramatists Guild of America), just 22% of productions in regional theaters from 2012-2015 were written by women. The Count 2.0, just released in 2018, showed that productions by women-identified playwrights had increased by 8.5%, and plays by women of color had increased by 6.1%. The Kilroys are encouraged by the evidence that amplifying underrepresented writers and waving the banner of inclusion works — and are now determined to make sure this uptick in productions by women writers is not just a reactionary fad, but sustained progress.
The List survey used the following criteria this year:
● Each industry respondent may recommend up to 5 plays, representing the most outstanding work they have encountered in the past 12 months.
● A nominated play must have had no more than one professional production.
● Only playwrights whose plays have never before appeared on The Kilroys List are eligible; playwrights whose work has previously made the Honorable Mention section of The List are eligible.
THE KILROYS are a gang of playwrights, directors and producers in LA and NYC who are done talking about gender parity and are taking action. They mobilize others in their field and leverage their own power to support one another. They are Jaclyn Backhaus, Hilary Bettis, Jennifer Chambers, Claudia de Vasco, Emma Goidel, Christina Ham, Jessica Hanna, Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Obehi Janice, Hansol Jung, Chelsea Marcantel, Caroline V. McGraw, Bianca Sams, and Gina Young.
BIOS FOR THE KILROYS
JACLYN BACKHAUS is a playwright, mother, and co-founder of Fresh Ground Pepper. Her plays include Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons), India Pale Ale (Manhattan Theatre Club, winner of the Horton Foote Prize), You On The Moors Now (TRE, Hypocrites) and Folk Wandering (Pipeline Theatre Company).
HILARY BETTIS is a playwright and TV writer. She won the 2019 Writers Guild of America Award for her work on the critically-acclaimed series “The Americans.” Her play, 72 miles to go… was a 2019 Finalist for the prestigious Blackburn Prize, and will be produced Off-Broadway by Roundabout in 2020. Her work has been developed and produced all over the country including, New Georges, The Sol Project, Miami New Drama, Studio Theatre, Alley Theatre, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse, amongst others. Bettis is currently developing projects at FX and AMC. She is an alum of the Sundance Institute Episodic TV Lab. Graduate of The Juilliard School. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat and husband, and is an avid equestrian. www.HilaryBettisWriter.com
JENNIFER CHAMBERS is a Los Angeles-based director who has worked at The Geffen, South Coast Rep, The Old Globe, The McCarter Theater, IAMA Theater, Barrington Stage Company, CalArts, Antaeus, Boston Court and The Echo. She developed and directed the world premieres of The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter, Bed by Sheila Callaghan and Better by Jessica Goldberg. She directed the short film, See You Soon and is one of the founders of Girlcrush Films. jennifergchambers.com
CLAUDIA DE VASCO has been a performer, producer, and leader in Los Angeles & Minneapolis. She is the Artistic Producing Director for Chalk Repertory Theatre, and the Managing Director of Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles. She has performed with companies like Mixed Blood, San Diego Repertory, and Independent Shakespeare Company. On screen you’ve seen her on shows like “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” and “SWAT”, among others. She is a former Jerome Foundation Many Voices Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center. instagram.com/claudiadevasco
EMMA GOIDEL is a playwright in New York City and a co-founder of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s award-winning producing playwrights collective. Her plays include The Gap (Barrymore Award), Two Minutes To Midnight (Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers Group), Local Girls (Finalist, Princess Grace Award), A Knee That Can Bend (Finalist, Barrymore Award; Nominee, ATCA/Steinberg Award & Lanford Wilson Award), and We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened (Òran Mór/Glasgow, EST, Tiny Dynamite/InterAct). She is currently a member of the Orchard Project 2019/2020 Greenhouse Lab. emmagoidel.com
CHRISTINA HAM was named one of “The Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2018-19 Season” by American Theatre magazine. A graduate of the University of Southern California and an MFA in Playwriting from The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, she writes on Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. christinaham.com
JESSICA HANNA is a Los-Angeles based director/producer and co-founder of Bootleg Theater. Recent directing credits: Lisa Dring’s Death Play, Brandon Baruch’s NO HOMO, John Ross Bowie’s Four Chords and a Gun, Georgette Kelly’s I Carry Your Heart and Kerry-Ann McCalla’sThe Willows. All premieres, developed with the playwrights. JessQueen.com
MONET HURST-MENDOZA is an NYC-based playwright from Los Angeles, CA. Her plays have been developed with Rising Circle Theater Collective, Astoria Performing Arts Center, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, #serials@The Flea, and Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, among others. She is an alum of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, R&D Group at The Civilians, WP Theater Playwrights Lab, Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists, and has held residencies with SPACE on Ryder Farm and The MITTEN Lab. Her play Torera was featured on the 2019 50 Playwrights Project List of Best Unproduced Latinx Plays. She is currently a staff writer for Law and Order: SVU.
OBEHI JANICE is an award-winning writer, actress and comedian whose multi-genre work spans from stage to screen. She is a member of the 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater and a writer for HULU’s Castle Rock. obehijanice.com
HANSOL JUNG is a playwright from South Korea. Productions include Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival at Actors Theater of Louisville),Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), No More Sad Things (co-world premiere at Sideshow Theatre, and Boise Contemporary Theatre),Wolf Play (Actors Rep) and Wild Goose Dreams (La Jolla Theater and The Public Theater). Jung holds a Playwriting MFA from Yale School of Drama, and is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab and NYTW’s Usual Suspects.
CHELSEA MARCANTEL is an LA-based writer, director, and collaborator. Reared by Cajuns in southwest Louisiana, she has previously lived and made theatre in the Midwest, Appalachia, and New York City. In 2016, Chelsea completed a Playwrights Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Her plays include Airness, Everything is Wonderful, Tiny Houses, and Ladyish. She is a member of the inaugural Writers’ Room playwrights’ unit at the Geffen Playhouse, and had three world premiere productions in 2019. ChelseaMarcantel.com
CAROLINE V. MCGRAW’S plays include I Get Restless, Ultimate Beauty Bible, The Bachelors, Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys, and The Vaults. Her work has been seen at theaters across the country including Page 73, Lesser America, Lark Playwrights’ Week, Second Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, IAMA, Washington Ensemble Theatre, and Ars Nova. McGraw was the 2013 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow and a 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence. She is working on commissions from Yale Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club/The Sloan Foundation, and South Coast Rep. She is a graduate of the playwriting program at the Yale School of Drama, where she studied under Paula Vogel.carolinevmcgraw.com
BIANCA SAMS is an actor/writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her plays include: Rust On Bone, Simply Bess, Battle Cry, and At the Rivers End. Awards and honors include Ingram New Works Fellow (Nashville Rep), Warner Brothers TV Writing Workshop, The Playwright Center Core Apprentice (2014), Kennedy Center/Eugene O’Neill New Play Conference fellow, TRI Research Fellowship (OSU), T. S. Eliot Acting Fellowship, Tracking Board 2016 Young & Hungry List, and WriteHerList 2017. BFA: NYU (Tisch’s first-ever Triple Major: Acting, Dramatic Writing, Africana Studies). MFA: Ohio University. She is currently a writer on “Titans” (WB/DC.com
). Bianca is represented by Echo Lake Management and Verve.biancasams.com
GINA YOUNG is a playwright/director/performer and creator of SORORITY, a hub for queer and feminist performance in Los Angeles, and Feminist Acting Class, an experiment in deconstructing actor training. Her work has been presented by The Hammer Museum, REDCAT, LAPP/LAX Festival, USC’s Visions & Voices Series, The Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference and the Women’s Center for Creative Work. She is a winner of the Humanitas/PLAY LA Prize and the Jane Chambers Award for Playwriting. ginayoung.com