THE LIST: The Kilroys Release the 46 Best Plays by Female Identified Playwrights

by Emma Tilden

Last month, feminist group The Kilroys released THE LIST. 

There are three qualifications which a play must fulfil in order to be eligible for THE LIST. It “must have been 1.) unproduced or have had only a single professional production 2.) by an author who identifies as female and 3.) among the most excellent seen or read by the industry professional within the previous twelve months.” 

Released last month, THE LIST offers a positive solution to the issue of gendered exclusivity on the stage. Composed of “the results of the first annual industry survey of excellent new plays by female-identified playwrights,” the list “is a tool for producers committed to ending the systemic underrepresentation of female voices* in the American theater.” The Kilroys, who released THE LIST, hope it will be a resource for season planning, bringing attention to a series of very excellent plays by female playwrights. 

The Kilroys, a Los Angeles-based group of playwrights and producers, were founded in 2013 to take a stand in support of women in the theater world. Their unusual name is based on the morale-boosting graffiti which soldiers left in unexpected places around the world to remind those who found it that they weren’t fighting alone. The name represents playful subversion, the omnipresent strength of a movement working just beneath the surface. 

And, on the issue of the theater, we’re going to need all the subversion we can get: “regional surveys routinely show significant bias towards production of plays by male authors. In three widely-discussed studies of plays produced in the 2012-2013 season, only 10.5% on Broadway, 21% in Washington, D.C., and 22% in Los Angeles were written by women.  (In the 2013-2014 season, the percentage of professional productions by women in the LA area dropped to 16.)” 

THE LIST, based on Franklin Leonard’s annual publication of top unproduced screenplays, The Black List, is the culmination of The Kilroys’ survey of over 300 excellent, expert-identified and recommended, woman-penned plays from the past year.  

The Kilroys themselves are a remarkable group of 13 women hailing from across the country. In addition to being remarkably talented, accomplished, and knowledgeable, they are taking on this huge systemic problem. On their website, they identify themselves and give basic bio information with humor and charm. Even the bio questions are feminist, requesting the women’s height and weight in a clever jab at society’s obsession with the female body. You’ll be happy to know that they respond with confidence and humor; weight listings include “…doughnuts,” “huggable,” “Schumer-esque,” and “ideal.” 

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little happier just knowing these ladies are out there in the world, being fabulous! 

*The Kilroys recognize the complexities of gender identity, and the shortcomings of binary descriptors.  They use this language as shorthand for the broad spectrum of female and genderqueer identity.

Images courtesy of and  

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