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Listen: New List, New Leaders as the Kilroys Push for Parity

The collective of writers and producers known as the Kilroys has been pushing for gender parity in the theater for five years now. With the launch last week of the latest edition of the List — the group’s annual round-up (inspired by Hollywood’s Black List) of plays by women, trans and non-binary writers — members of the Kilroys’ new class point out that the group’s activism reaches far beyond the theater industry.

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“I think that there is, from my experience, more opportunity and risk-taking to be able to create stories in TV that I don’t quite find in theater,” said playwright and screenwriter Hilary Bettis (“The Americans”), who appeared with fellow Kilroy Caroline V. McGraw on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast. “But that said, I think theater is also the pipeline to Hollywood, in terms of talent. TV loves playwrights and loves theater actors, and they’re sort of held on a pedestal. So the representation of these voices in our theatrical landscape is also about job opportunities in Hollywood. It’s about economic opportunities in Hollywood.”

Bettis and McGraw are among the 14 writers and producers who took the reins of the Kilroys late last year. (The group’s 13 original members remain as an advisory board.) On the new episode of Stagecraft, the duo discuss where there’s been progress, where work remains to be done, and how they plan to expand the work of the Kilroys in the future.

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The List will always remain a central component of the group’s work, they said, as they aim to push the larger conversation forward.

“[The List] isn’t a thing that’s saying: ‘Only these 33 plays are the ones you should read,'” McGraw said. “We want it to be part of a larger movement. …  There’s those 33 plays which are incredible, but then, there’s also just: People are talking about their favorite plays by women and non-binary writers.”

New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple PodcastsStitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

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