Big Ten Initiative Changing the Course of Women Playwrights


Bravo to The Kilroys for their visionary initiative to create a supply chain of work by female playwrights! The recent New York Times story about their advocacy group has created quite a buzz online and in the Twittersphere.

Aligned with this initiative is the Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s inaugural year of a new play initiative; a series of plays commissioned from outstanding American female playwrights featuring large casts and outstanding, age-appropriate roles for young women.

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) at the University of Maryland led by its Director, Leigh Wilson Smiley, will be producing the first play from this initiative, Good Kids, in Spring 2015. Professor Smiley, acutely aware of the deficit of women playwrights in the American theatre scene, engaged the School in this initiative in 2012.

Author of Good Kids, playwright Naomi Iizuka, is professor and head of Playwriting at the University of California at San Diego. She is the author of more than 25 plays, including Polaroid Stories and 36 Views. She has received the PEN/Laura Pels Award and the Whiting Writers Award. The TDPS production of Good Kids will be directed by Seret Scott, award-winning actress and one of the most prolific and accomplished directors working in American theatre today.

It takes a fearless group of committed professionals to redirect the course of women’s roles in theatre arts. But the Kilroys and the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland are making an excellent start with a big splash – and keeping the idea moving forward!