LOS ANGELES: Five years ago, a group of female playwrights and producers got together and, fed up with the lack of representation of female playwrights on American theatre stages, founded the Kilroys. Today, they are taking applications for a new group of leaders to take over the organization.
“We believe the Kilroys can and should change,” said the 13 members of the Kilroys in an exclusive joint statement to American Theatre. “The Kilroys mission is about changing the landscape of the American theatre forever. As the 13 founders of the Kilroys, we’ve been in the theatre business long enough to know that change is slow. And real, deep systemic change? Is even slower and more elusive. We know that despite some press attention and hashtags, the numbers don’t lie. We’re nowhere close to parity on our national stages.”
Indeed, according to a count of 1,917 productions playing around the country in the 2017-18 season, conducted by American Theatre, only 26 percent of those plays were written by women. The number has held steady in the upper 20s for the last three seasons. “While there are theaters leading this charge and making noted efforts toward equitable representation, much of American theatre still remains frozen in time—a constant tribute to white, male, American voices—leaving everyone else as a minority focus,” said the Kilroys.
The current members of the Kilroys are Zakiyyah Alexander, Bekah Brunstetter, Sheila Callaghan, Carla Ching, Annah Feinberg, Sarah Gubbins, Laura Jacqmin, Joy Meads, Kelly Miller, Meg Miroshnik, Daria Polatin, Tanya Saracho, and Marisa Wegrzyn.
The Kilroys are the facilitators behind the List, a four-year-old listing of plays by women and trans playwrights, as nominated by hundreds of dramaturgs, literary managers, and artistic leaders around the country. For the Kilroys, the List shows that “there are many excellent un- and under-produced plays by women and trans writers that deserve to be seen on American stages—plays that have still been ignored.”
The Kilroys are currently soliciting applications for a new team of individuals to lead the group, and to think of new initiatives that will lead to gender parity in artistic programming. The application is available here. The deadline is April 30, and the only requirement is that any prospective Kilroy should spend part of their year in Los Angeles, and “care about the cause.” The Kilroys are looking for a maximum of 13 members. The founders will remain in an advisory capacity.
“We invite you to take the reins,” said the Kilroys. “We invite you to apply and throw your name into the hat to become Kilroys. We invite you to push the agenda of uncompromising representation onto American stages, and into the future.”
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