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Kaitlin Stilwell is a professional dramaturg who teaches Theatre in Society, Drama in Text, Dramaturgy, Student New Play Festival, and assists in Theatre for Community Impact and Site-Specific Performance on the BA Theatre Studies and MA Theatre programs. She is proud to have assisted in the development of new student work in productions such as THE ORANGE PROJECT: LIGHTS UP ON EDUCATION [Theatre for Community Impact]; THE MY AMERICA PROJECT 2018 AND 2020 [Theatre in Society]; MONTCLAIR STATE STUDENT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL 2019; VERBATIM PODCAST PLAYS [Theatre for Community Impact]; and A PATERSON EXPERIENCE: THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD IS LOVE [Site-Specific Performance].
Along with Cheryl Katz, Kaitlin is a co-founder and co-director of The New Jersey Play Lab, an organization dedicated to developing production-ready plays through comprehensive, hands-on dramaturgy. This unique approach to play development serves both New Jersey playwrights and producers by offering an alternative to the often fractured process by which plays arrive at their first production. Through developmental residencies, play development forums, and dramaturgical services, The NJPL’s offerings are designed to foster the creation and production of outstanding new work in The Garden State and beyond, thus strengthening the ongoing movement to establish New Jersey as a valued and vibrant hub of new play development. With the support of The New Jersey Theatre Alliance and The New Jersey State Council for the Arts, The NJPL is about to begin its third Residency cycle, having previously developed WE VICTORIANS by Matthew Cole Kelly, THE INCELS by Ruth Zamoyta, ALLIES by Michael J McGoldrick, A PERFECT EXISTENCE by Lesley Scammell, and WE HAVE TO HOLD HANDS by Kait Kerrigan.
Prior to that, Kaitlin spent four years as Resident Dramaturg and Director of Audience and Community Engagement under Cheryl Katz' leadership at Luna Stage, where she assisted in the development of world premieres OLD LOVE NEW LOVE by Laura Brienza, KING OF THE MOUNTAINS by Ben Clawson, INDIAN HEAD by Nikkole Salter, TRANQUIL by Andrew Rosendorf, and RAZORHURST: A NEW MUSICAL by Kate Mulley and Andy Peterson. During her time at Luna, Kaitlin also created the audience engagement space The Context Room, and the new play development class PlayGym. She spearheaded the development of several suites of plays inspired by and in celebration of the city of Orange, NJ including THE 280 PROJECT, SECRET CITIES, and THE ORANGE PROJECT: LIGHTS UP ON EDUCATION with the BA Theatre Studies program at MSU.
In addition to her current work at The New Jersey Play Lab, Kaitlin has worked in the literary offices of Urban Stages, The Mint Theater Company, the Hangar Theater, and McCarter Theatre, where she assisted playwrights Marina Carr, Danai Gurira, and John Guare on premieres of their new plays. As a freelance dramaturg, she has developed plays with Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Southern Writers’ Project at Alabama Shakespeare Festival; McCarter Theatre’s Youth Ink! Festival, Teen Solo Performance Camp, and Spotlight on Playwriting series; and with many individual writers. Kaitlin has done research for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Company in New York. Her postgraduate work in England culminated in a dissertation on the dramaturgy of climate change plays.
Dramaturgy, new play development, community-engaged theatre