The Kilroys announced THE LIST 2020. This survey is meant to honor canceled 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.
The Kilroys Photo Credit: Jenn Spain Photography 

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

THE LIST will be available at

THE KILROYS are an LA & NYC-based collective of playwrights, directors and producers. They are (Los Angeles) Jennifer Chambers, Claudia de Vasco, Christina Ham, Jessica Hanna, Obehi Janice, Chelsea Marcantel, Bianca Sams, Gina Young; (New York City) Jaclyn Backhaus, Hilary Bettis, Emma Goidel, Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Hansol Jung, Caroline V. McGraw.


JACLYN BACKHAUS is a playwright who grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. Her mission as a writer is to create dynamic worlds that connect to lost past, illuminate untold present, and envision infinite future. Her plays include WIVES, INDIA PALE ALE, FOLK WANDERING, MEN ON BOATS, and YOU ON THE MOORS NOW. She is a co-founder of Fresh Ground Pepper, a small org dedicated to facilitating the creative process and nurturing the creative spirit. Backhaus was a winner of the 2018 Horton Foote Prize for Most Promising New American Play, a 2016 Tow Fellow at Clubbed Thumb, and she is currently in residence at Lincoln Center. Backhaus holds a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch. She lives in Ridgewood, Queens with her husband, director Andrew Scoville, and their son Ernie.

HILARY BETTIS is a critically-acclaimed playwright whose work has been developed and produced all over the country including, Roundabout Theatre, New Georges, The Sol Project, Miami New Drama, Studio Theatre, Alley Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse, amongst others. Accolades include, Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards, National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and a finalist for the Blackburn Prize, Kendeda Award, Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition, American Blues Theater’s Blue Ink Award, amongst others. In television Bettis won the 2019 Writers Guild of America Award for her work on the critically acclaimed, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning FX series “The Americans.” She wrote for the Hulu miniseries “The Dropout,” starring Kate McKinnon. She’s an alumni of the Sundance Institute Episodic TV Lab, and is developing projects for AMC, Hulu, PatMa, and Netflix. She’s a graduate of The Juilliard School. Proud member of WGAEast.

JENNIFER CHAMBERS is a Los Angeles based director. She developed and directed the world premiere of The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter at Echo Theatre Company with subsequent productions at Geffen Playhouse and Barrington Stage Company, If I Forget by Steven Levinson (Barrington Stage Company), A Kid Like Jake by Daniel Pearle (IAMA), The Feast by Deborah Stein (CalArts), Sheila Callaghan’s Bed (Echo), Jessica Goldberg’s Better (Echo), the world premiere of Stephen Belber’s The Muscles in Our Toes (El Portal), The Pain and The Itch by Bruce Norris (Zephyr), Playdates by Sam Wolfson (Theatre Asylum, Elephant Theatre), and the world premiere of Complete by Andrea Kuchlewska. She has worked with acclaimed playwrights Paula Vogel and Bess Wohl and had directed workshops and readings for South Coast Rep, The Old Globe, The Geffen, Center Theatre Group and The McCarter Theater. She was associate artistic director at the Echo Theater Company and ran the playwrights lab for 3 years. She is the co-founder of Girl Crush Films.

CLAUDIA DE VASCO is a performer, producer, director and leader on screen and on stage. She is the Managing Director of Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles and a member of Chalk Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles. Her work as an activist and leader in the arts has ranged from serving on the local neighborhood council to organizing to encourage artists to seek public office. She has worked with companies like Mixed Blood, San Diego Repertory, and Independent Shakespeare Company. On screen you’ve seen her on Netflix, Amazon, and HBO among other Networks. She is a former Jerome Foundation Many Voices Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center. For over 15 years she also worked as a speech, accent and communications coach and consultant for TV/film, entrepreneurs and leaders.

EMMA GOIDEL is a queer playwright in New York City. She often writes about families and the powerful socializing forces that shape them. She is the 2020 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. Plays include The Gap (Barrymore Award, Kilroys List), Two Minutes To Midnight (developed at Clubbed Thumb under Sheila Callaghan), A Knee That Can Bend (Nominee, ATCA/Steinberg Award & Lanford Wilson Award), Local Girls (Princess Grace Award Finalist), and We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened (produced at EST, Òran Mór, Tiny Dynamite/InterAct). Emma’s work has been developed and supported by Ars Nova, Azuka Theater, Clubbed Thumb, EST, InterAct, I73, LAByrinth, Orchard Project Greenhouse Lab, Playwrights Realm, Playwrights’ Center, NYSAF, PlayPenn’s The Foundry, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. She is a Resident Artist at Colt Coeur and an Affiliated Artist with New Georges. Proud co-founder of Philadelphia’s award-winning Orbiter 3.

CHRISTINA HAM was named one of The Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2018-19 Season by American Theatre magazine. Her plays have been produced nationally and internationally by Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Tokyo International Arts Festival, and The Market Theatre in South Africa among many others. Her TYA play Four Little Girls was directed by Tony Award winning actress Phylicia Rashad and performed at the Kennedy Center to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. A graduate of the University of Southern California with an MFA in Playwriting from The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, she was most recently a writer/producer on the Netflix series Sweet Tooth.

JESSICA HANNA is a Los Angeles based Director & Producer, an Artist in Residence at Thymele Arts and a Regional Coordinator for Statera Arts Mentorship Program. She Co-Founded Bootleg Theater and was its Producing & Managing Director for 12 years. Her focus has been on new work development. Directing credits include premieres of: DEATH PLAY by Lisa Sanaye Dring, NO HOMO by Brandon Baruch, FOUR CHORDS AND A GUN by John Ross BowIe, I CARRY YOUR HEART by Georgette Kelly, THE WILLOWS by Kerri-Ann McCalla and BLUE GOLD & BUTTERFLIES by Stephanie Batiste. Her PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, won the 2019 Ovation Award for Best Production of a Musical for Celebration Theatre where she also co-directed Justin Sayre’s RAVENSWOOD MANOR. Guest director at CalState University Long Beach, Occidental College, CalArts and CalPoly Pomona. She has taught & directed across the country and produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

MONET HURST-MENDOZA is an NYC-based playwright from Los Angeles, CA. Her plays have been developed with Rising Circle Theater Collective, Astoria Performing Arts Center, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Amios, |the claque|, Magic Time @ Judson, Atlantic Acting School/NYU Tisch, The Flea Theater, WP Theater, The Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and the ICA Boston, among others. Monet is an alum of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, R&D Group at The Civilians, WP Theater Playwrights Lab, Fresh Ground Pepper's Playground Playgroup, and the Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists. She has held residencies with The Other Mirror, The MITTEN Lab, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. She is currently a Story Editor on "Law and Order: SVU." Proud member of The Dramatist Guild and WGAE. BA: Marymount Manhattan College.

OBEHI JANICE is a writer, actress and comedian based in Los Angeles. She's written for Castle Rock on Hulu and plays Heather Culbreth in the animated comedy Dicktown on FXX’s CAKE. She's currently developing a pilot with Big Beach TV and writing on an upcoming series for HBO. Obehi is an alum of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater and a resident artist at Colt Coeur. Her plays have also been developed at SPACE on Ryder Farm, WP Theater and New York Theatre Workshop. You can see her face on a screen at The National Museum of Natural History talking about the lessons learned from dinosaur extinction.

HANSOL JUNG is a playwright from South Korea. Productions include Wolf Play (Soho Rep), Wild Goose Dreams (Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse), Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theatre), Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival), No More Sad Things (Sideshow Theater), with commissions from The Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, National Theatre in UK, Playwrights Horizons, Ma-Yi Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been developed at Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, Hedgebrook, Berkeley Repertory, Sundance Theatre Lab, and the O’Neill Theater Center. Recipient of the Whiting Award, Helen Merrill Award, Hodder Fellowship, Page 73 Fellowship, NYTW’s 2050 Fellowship, MacDowell, and International Playwright Fellowship at Royal Court. Hansol has written for Tales of the City (Netflix) and Pachinko (Apple+), and is developing work with Bad Robot. Proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, NYTW’s Usual Suspects. MFA: Yale.

CHELSEA MARCANTEL is an LA-based writer, director, and collaborator. Reared by Cajuns in southwest Louisiana, Chelsea has lived and made theatre among the peoples of the Midwest, Appalachia, the Mid-Atlantic, and now the West Coast. In 2016, she completed an American Playwrights Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Her plays include Airness, Everything is Wonderful, Tiny Houses, Ladyish, and Devour. As a writer, Chelsea is extremely interested in humans as small-group primates, and what happens when the rules and value systems of our chosen groups cease to serve us. She reads a lot of books, watches a lot of documentaries, and listens to a lot of podcasts. Chelsea is an enthusiastic member of The Writers Guild of America and The Dramatists Guild. Current commissions: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, Signature Theatre DC, as well as musical projects with Broadway producers Jeffrey Richards and Stephanie Kramer.

CAROLINE V. MCGRAW’S plays include 1983, Believeland, Ultimate Beauty Bible, The Bachelors, Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys, and The Vaults. Her work has been produced and developed by Page 73, Lesser America, South Coast Rep, New Georges, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Second Stage, Rattlestick, Washington National Opera, Portland Center Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Lark, City Theatre, IAMA Theater, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Ars Nova, among others. Caroline has been commissioned by Yale Repertory Theater, and is working on commissions from Manhattan Theatre Club/Sloan Foundation and South Coast Repertory. She has been the recipient of Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship, and a Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence. She is an alum of Interstate 73, the Civilians R&D Group, and the Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group. She is a graduate of the Playwriting MFA program at the Yale School of Drama, where she studied under Paula Vogel.

BIANCA SAMS is a writer/actor hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work spans different genres and mediums (plays, television and feature films). Her original pieces are often described as lyrical investigations of found stories out of today's headlines or the pages of history, that ask audiences to face their own complex love affair with misery. She’s drawn to stories that question the roles of women, ethnicity, and family in modern society. Her work often deals with the search for “self” in the collective identity and also explore the underlying connective threads of mankind. Awards and honors include Ingram New Works Fellow (Nashville Rep), Warner Brothers TV Workshop, Tracking Board 2016 Young & Hungry List, WriteHerList 2017 and Tracking Board HIT LIST 2018. She previously worked as a writer on Training Day starring Bill Paxton, The Originals with Julie Plec & Jeffrey Lieber and Titans for She’s currently a Co-Producer on CW's Charmed.

GINA YOUNG (she/they) is a writer, director and performer devoted to queering content and form. Her plays, musicals and salons have been presented by The Hammer Museum, REDCAT, Highways, Los Angeles Performance Practice, Grand Park’s Our LA Voices, USC’s Visions & Voices Series and the Women’s Center for Creative Work. She is the creator of SORORITY, a platform for women, trans and queer performing artists that has a cult following in Los Angeles, and Feminist Acting Class, a radical experiment in actor training. Currently working with Jill Soloway’s Topple Productions and 5050by2020, Young has toured nationally and internationally with original performance work and is a winner of the Jane Chambers Award for Playwriting and the Humanitas/PLAY LA Prize.

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