The Kilroys Release 3rd Annual List of Recommended Plays for Gender Parity


EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday August 10, 2016

Continuing the fight to achieve gender parity in the American Theater, LA-based playwright/producer collective The Kilroys has released its third annual list of industry-recommended new plays. †

THE LIST 2016, released this summer, features the most nominated unproduced plays written by female and trans* writers, following a survey of 230 professional artistic directors, literary managers, professors, producers, directors, and dramaturgs. THE LIST is facilitated by The Kilroys, an independent group dedicated to taking action in the face of gender disparity in the American Theater. †

Dubbed "the Superheroines of the American Theater" by Backstage magazine, The Kilroys created THE LIST in 2014 as a response to systemic gender bias in theater programming. The vetted collection of industry-recommended works was designed to bring worthy plays by female and trans* playwrights to the forefront of the American Theater conversation: and it has.

In the first two years of its existence, THE LIST has featured 99 plays (46 plays on THE LIST 2014; 53 plays on THE LIST 2015), and over 1,000 plays have been nominated by upwards of 450 industry professionals. Since then, more than 100 productions of plays on THE LIST from both years have been mounted or announced.

Playwrights report that inclusion on THE LIST has given an undeniable boost to their careers.

"I owe my career to The Kilroys' LIST," said Jiehae Park, author of "Peerless" (THE LIST 2015, Yale Rep 2015) and "Hannah and the Dread Gazebo" (THE LIST 2014, Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2017).

Writer Gabrielle Reisman ("Catch the Wall," THE LIST 2014) says, "As a tool for introducing writers to people interested in writers, THE LIST is unparalleled." In a survey of LIST playwrights, 95 percent of respondents reported an increase of requests for their plays following inclusion in THE LIST, and 80 percent report subsequent productions at such notable theaters as Actors Theatre of Louisville, Center Theatre Group, South Coast Rep, Atlantic Theater Company and others.

Momentum for female theater makers is on the rise, despite continued under-representation of female and trans* playwrights on American stages. According to The Count, an ongoing study funded by The Lilly Awards and The Dramatists Guild, released in 2015, only 22 percent of productions in regional theaters over the three years prior were written by women. The Kilroys have worked to help propagate new momentum.

Playwright Georgette Kelly ("Ballast," THE LIST 2015) notes, "In just a few years, The Kilroys have done a huge amount of work to shift the paradigm about gender parity in the theater. They have increased my visibility as a playwright, called me to a greater engagement with the national dialogue about equity in theater, and generally reminded me that a small, committed group of bad-asses can change the world."

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 LIST 2016 features the 32 most-recommended plays out of 569 plays nominated (each of these 32 plays received between 5 and 14 nominations). Eighty-two plays received honorable mentions (each of these received 3 to 4 nominations). In an effort to further diversity the writers represented, THE LIST 2016 features only unproduced plays. The nominees represent an abundance of excellent new work by female and trans* playwrights, and reflect a wide ethnic, geographic, and aesthetic diversity.

THE LIST 2016 survey uses the following criteria:

  • Each industry respondent may recommend 3-5 plays, representing the best work they have encountered in the past 12 months.
  • A nominated play must be unproduced.
  • A nominated play must be by an author who identifies as female or trans*.
  • Plays on THE LIST 2014 and 2015 are not eligible.

    Theater professionals who have read or seen at least 40 plays in the previous year are invited to nominate themselves as respondents for next year's LIST. Recommendations are submitted anonymously. Members of The Kilroys act as facilitators and do not recommend plays for THE LIST.

  • THE LIST is available at