Los Angeles Collective Honors Plays by Women of Color
Since 2014, the independent Los Angeles-based collective the Kilroys has sought to increase representation for female playwrights by publishing a list of new plays by women deemed worthy of production. This year, the group’s list has a more specific focus: female and transgender writers of color.
All 37 plays on this year’s list are written by women of color, including Lauren Yee, Leah Nanako Winkler, and Amina Henry. The shift in focus was inspired by 2015 statistics from The Count, a continuing study of gender disparity in theater financed by the Lilly Awards and the Dramatists Guild. The findings showed that, while 22 percent of plays produced in regional theaters over the previous three years had been written by women, only 3.4 percent had been written by women of color.
The organization polled more than 250 professionals from the theater world to nominate new plays that have been produced once at most. “Somebody’s Daughter,” by Chisa Hutchinson, one of the nominated plays, just finished up a run Off Broadway. Ms. Yee’s “The Great Leap,” which follows a basketball player traveling from the United States to China, will receive its premiere at the Atlantic Theater Company next May. Another nominated play, Aleshea Harris’s “Is God Is,” won the Relentless Award last year and has yet to be produced.
Since the list’s inception, more than 100 productions of plays chosen by the group have been mounted or announced. A full list can be found at thekilroys.org.