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The Kilroys Announce THE LIST 2020, Honoring Cancelled or Postponed Plays by Women, Trans & Non-Binary Theater Writers

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The Kilroys Announce THE LIST 2020, Honoring Cancelled or Postponed Plays by Women, Trans & Non-Binary Theater Writers

The Kilroys announced today THE LIST 2020. This survey is meant to honor cancelled or postponed plays due to the COVID-19 pandemic written by women, trans and non-binary writers in the American theatre. As a feminist activist group, The Kilroys focus their attention on underrepresented voices as a powerful means of overcoming the systemic and implicit biases that create exclusion in the theater industry.

Since 2014, The Kilroys have used its annual new play leaders survey to compile un-and underproduced plays by women, trans and non-binary writers who, historically, face more discrimination than other groups. Through these efforts, attention on underrepresented voices has increased visibility and opportunity for them in the American theatre. However, this year, due to the pandemic, it was important to create a list that captured the moment "so that we don't go backwards when the dust settles," says the LA and NYC-based collective. Unlike previous years, this year's list deviates from utilizing surveys from industry leaders. Instead, this year's list was partially informed by information provided by The Dramatist Guild, Theatre Communications Group and National New Play Network regarding the suspension of these productions. It was a communal effort in a time when the theatre industry was experiencing unprecedented change.

This reimagined list is a response to the call that watched as dozens of underrepresented writers were being silenced through no fault of their own. The Kilroys have created a list that manages to align with their mission but is still flexible enough to address the times that we're in. "This is a living List. [It's] being honest about the moment we're in," says Jessica Hanna, Kilroys member. "This List is a step toward changing the system the List itself has become. We are practicing on the micro what we want to see in the macro."

Presented as a snapshot of a moment in time, this year's list is an opportunity to hold space for underrepresented writers and to keep theaters accountable. "We're in living history. We're in an uprising and a pandemic. We are isolated but even more knit together. And theatre will never be the same," said Kilroys member Obehi Janice.

This year, The List survey used the following criteria:

• the play had to be a 1st or 2nd professional production

• the play was written by a woman, trans, or non-binary writer

• the play was cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19

The uniqueness of this year's list also underscores the importance of the strides that were made in previous years and trying to ensure they are not jeopardized due to these postponed or cancelled productions. Chelsea Marcantel adds, "We're at an inflection point as an industry and as a nation. A whole slew of plays got cancelled starting in the Spring, which is traditionally the time when theaters 'take risks' on new plays by Black, POC, women along with LGBTQIA playwrights," she states. "When the dust settles and theaters are eager to 'get back to normal', we hope they don't program a bunch of revivals and plays that feel "safe." Look at this beautiful list of new plays that were slated to open! Audiences were primed and eager for excitement and risk and new voices. We have made such strides over the last few years. Don't backslide, American theatre."

Due to the extraordinary job insecurity that was already pervasive in the arts, this moment only magnifies the industry's shortcomings. "Whole industries have been put on pause, and theater is no exception. How will theater return from this moment - and who will it serve? These plays may never happen again. As we contend with uncertainty, focus our attention on collective safety and health, and activate around imagining a better industry, we can also hold space for the artistic work that is lost," says Jaclyn Backhaus.

On Tuesday, July 14 (8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific) The Kilroys will host a virtual celebration on Zoom to honor the plays and playwrights featured on The List. RSVP details can be found at www.thekilroys.org.

THE LIST will be available at www.thekilroys.org.


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