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Third Annual Women Playwrights Initiative:

Our mission is to Inspire, Empower, Validate, and Celebrate women playwrights.

The Women Playwrights Initiative at the Ivoryton Playhouse develops new one-act plays by and about women, and the issues that shape their lives. Friendship, political and economic advocacy, sexual satisfaction, aging, gender equality, racial issues, marriage, singlehood, motherhood, careers, and power. The Initiative provides a safe, nurturing environment for play development, including a week of intensive rehearsal with the playwrights, directors, and actors. The workshopping week culminates in a staged reading festival, featuring interactive talkbacks with the playwrights, directors, actors, and audience.


Performance times are 7:00pm. 

Ticket prices are:
$20 adult; $15 senior; $10 student

Single tickets are available to purchase on line by clicking on this link.

Buy tickets for Friday and Saturday night performances and save:
$30 adult; $25 senior; $10 student.  Please call the box office to purchase these ticket packages – 860.767.7318



Friday March 1: 

by Tori Keenan-Zelt
Directed by:  Susan Einhorn

As the Civil War draws to a close, cholera and Gettysburg have claimed the lives of two husbands. In this wickedly funny play, two young women grapple with the freedom and power of their new widowhood. If they had the chance to have their husbands back, would they take it?


by Waltrudis Buck
Directed by:  Todd Underwood

Two brothers—a school teacher and Shakespearean actor—return to Harlem to persuade their infirm grandma to leave the tenement where they grew up. In this bittersweet drama, yearning, art, rivalry, and hope struggle against the relentless forces of reality.


Saturday March 2:

by Rachael Carnes
Directed by:  Leslie Snow

What can her grandmother and mother teach young Sally about agency, expectation, and the roles society permit women? Through the lens of three enslaved women, the property of Thomas Jefferson, we face what it means to be the “partner of –”


by Kathleen Cahill
Directed by:  Hannah Simms
Roberta’s trip to Ireland becomes a surreal odyssey when the airlines lose her suitcase containing her father’s ashes. The dialogue is sharp, and the tone is magical, in a comedy that explores the universe’s indifference, filial obligation, forgiveness, and the power of love.



Waltrudis Buck  (Water Without Berries) is thrilled to make her playwright’s debut at Ivoryton. She has worked in film, TV, and theatre as an actor, appearing opposite De Niro, Julia Roberts and Woody Allen, among others. She has published poetry and short stories, and her novel The Berlin Girl can be found here: but this is her first foray into playwriting. Thank you so much Ivoryton! She just finished a full-length comedy titled Real Estate inspired by the current political situation, excerpts of which have had readings at “Naked Angels Tuesdays@9.” Any producers out there? It’s a very funny play, if it weren’t so sad (


Kathleen Cahill (The Robertassey) Kathleen’s awards include three Edgerton Foundation Awards, the Jane Chambers Playwrighting Award, two Connecticut Commission on the Arts Playwrighting Awards, a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts New American Works Grant, and a Drama League Award. Her play Charm (NNPN Showcase) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has been produced around the country, upcoming at the New Hampshire Theatre Project. Her play/dance/romance, Silent Dancer, premieres at the Salt Lake Acting Company in April 2019, and at BStreet Theatre in Sacramento in August, 2019. She is Playwright-in-Residence at the Salt Lake Acting Company, and Dramatists Guild Fund Master Teacher. Her play Henry, Louise and Henri was part of the Women’s Playwrights Initiative at Ivoryton Playhouse in 2018.


Rachael Carnes (Partner of -) as an arts nonprofit founder and educator, Rachael has spent her career developing inclusive performing arts experiences for people of all ages and abilities. She discovered playwriting in 2016 and is humbled by her many productions since, with performances across the country and throughout the U.K. Recent highlights include invitations to the Inge Festival, the Midwest Dramatists Center Conference and the Mid-America Theatre Conference. Rachael’s work has been published by the Coachella Review, she is a Bechdel Group workshop semi-finalist, and her full-length play, Canopy, will receive a staged reading at the WriteON Festival, in Cambridge, U.K. in 2019. A community builder, Rachael founded #CodeRed, a playwrights’ collective dedicated to writing, and sharing, plays in response to gun violence. Rachael is beyond grateful for the opportunity to be in residence at the Ivoryton Playhouse. And she thanks her many playwriting mentors, and her husband and kids, for their continuing support.


Tori Keenan-Zelt (How to be a Widow) Originally and proudly from Pittsburgh, Tori writes curiosity-chasing plays that sniff out in-between spaces in big theatre to change the world. Many of them decide to be comedies. She has developed and presented work around the country and abroad. Recent plays include How the Baby Died (Ingram New Works), Seph (Araca Project, Princess Grace Finalist), Air Space (Kilroys 5 Most Recommended Plays, Ingram New Works Lab, Princess Grace Finalist), Truth/Dare (Project Y Theatre, Best Ensemble Pittsburgh Fringe, Kilroys List, Princess Grace Finalist), Egypt Play (InterAct 20/20 Finalist), Episode #121: Catfight! (Yale Cabaret), and others. Having written for Colonial Williamsburg’s Emmy Award-winning PBS education series, Tori has been named an Emmy Nominee, Kilroys Lister, Jerome Finalist, Princess Grace Finalist, Playwrights of New York Nominee, and some other things. She is an affiliated writer with The Lark, The Playwrights’ Center, Ingram New Works Lab, Ensemble Studio Theatre Playwrights’ Unit, Fresh Ground Pepper, & the Dramatists Guild. Several of her short plays are published by Next Stage Press. AB, Harvard. MFA, NYU Tisch Asia (Singapore).

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