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Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women In The Arts – Spotlight On Kathleen Warnock

by Karen Tortora-Lee on March 18, 2011

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These women of the arts hail from different disciplines, but they all have an indomitable spirit and a luminescent spark that makes them amazing human beings who are out there every day, doing amazing work.

Today we continue our series with Kathleen Warnock.

Kathleen Warnock is a playwright and editor. She is company manager of the Playwrights Circle at Emerging Artists Theater, and curates the Robert Chesley/Jane Chambers Playwrights Project for TOSOS Theater. She curates the Drunken! Careening! Writers! reading series at KGB Bar the third Thursday of every month. She is also series editor for Best Lesbian Erotica (Cleis).

She is tired.

I certainly would be too!  I had the opportunity to sit on a panel with Kathleen last year and have been trying to find a time when we could feature her here on The Happiest Medium.  Well, thank you Women’s History Month!  You finally got this very tired, very talented, very wonderful woman to share her story with me.  I’m thrilled that I’m finally able to celebrate all the wonderful things that Kathleen Warnock is doing, every day.  I’ll let her take it from here  …

Kathleen Warnock

Kathleen Warnock

As I said, I’m tired. But interested. One thing always leads to another: whether it’s helping produce The Secretaries for TOSOS in last year’s Fringe (and extension), or working with the Playwrights Circle at EAT. My day job, editing travel guides for Frommer’s, also takes me around the world from my cube in Hoboken.

The days that make a difference are always an Opening Night of mine; those are the best days. I also get a similar buzz from attending Opening Nights for friends of mine, particularly when I’ve helped out with the production. The days that make me think “I’m too old for this shit,” are when I have a lot of production-related stuff at the same time I have a big project due at work, or when I’ve got 2 or 3 deadlines within the same, say 72-hour period! Does anyone know where I can get Adderal?

I’ve often been the only girl in the room: I was sports editor of my college newspaper, worked for the Baltimore Orioles and Colts, and became a sports journalist after I graduated from college. I made it my business not so much to be one of the guys, but to focus on the work, and usually ended up with the respect of my colleagues. I’ve tried to operate that way since. Sometimes, when I’m one of the few women at a production meeting, I just do the same thing and say what I need to say, and do it in a constructive, positive way, to make sure that an issue is addressed. And often, I realize that my presence reminds people that there are women playwrights, women who run theaters, etc.

I wouldn’t work with someone who treated me as less than an equal. Of course, I have the “luxury” of working for little or no money off-off, so if someone’s an ass, I can walk away from the project. The people that I choose to work with most often, and who have chosen to work with me are the likes of Paul Adams, artistic director of Emerging Artists Theatre, who has given me many opportunities as a playwright; and Mark Finley, artistic director of TOSOS, who is like my twin-from-another-mother. Doric Wilson, founder of TOSOS is someone who recognized me as a playwright and a colleague, and has often opened doors for me, and promoted my work.

As a playwright who is a woman and a woman who is a playwright, I find resource websites/lists to be extremely helpful. I have a bulletin board that I’ve been maintaining online for 8 years, called “En Avant Playwrights,” on which I list all the opportunities I find in a format based on play length, and whether it’s for production, staged reading, contest, etc. We’ve had nearly 1.7 million pageviews since I started it. I am also a member of the yahoo group “Playwright Binge,” founded by Patrick Gabridge, a smart, talented Boston playwright who has shared his process of marketing his work, and created a place that supports all playwrights who want to know about getting their work out there. The group does semi-annual “Binges” where they commit to sending out their work every day for a month, then reporting back to the group.

I have a short play, Staying Put, running in Series A at EATfest (TADA Theatre, 15 W. 28th St., subway: N/R) through March 20. It runs Monday, Thursday at 7pm and Saturday at 9pm. The other plays in the series are by two playwrights whose work I love: Barbara Lindsay and Audrey Cefaly. Tickets can be purchased here: and are $18 (reduced for students, seniors). In addition, my latest full-length play, “Outlook,” was just read as part of the “First Taste” series for company playwrights on March 15, at 8:45. It was directed by Mark Finley, and featured Meghan Cary, Robin Cloud, Irene Longshore & Danielle Quisenberry.

And the deadline for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 is coming up April 1! For submission guidelines, visit my website at


More about Kathleen Warnock:

Her works produced in New York include: “Grieving for Genevieve” (MITF); “Rock the Line” (EAT); “Some Are People” (EAT NYC, Ireland); “The Adventures of…” (EAT, NYC, Ireland, Provincetown). She is a member of The Dramatists Guild.

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