The more (of us) you know…

When you really start looking for something you start see it everywhere.

This is how I’ve been feeling the past few days as I draw my attention fully focused onto the topic of gender parity in the arts.

When you really start looking for something you start seeing it everywhere.

I’ve had more substantive conversations and been struck by more observations about this in the last 48 hours than I probably have in the last 48 days. And that’s really saying something, because I think about this a lot. But what’s most interesting and exciting? I’ve also felt freer and more invested in really trying to articulate the difficult honest version of my thoughts. I haven’t dumbed it down. I haven’t tempered my real feelings for the sake of the easier chit-chat. I’ve really tried to say what I believe and then listen back in a way that is open, non-presumptive and curious.

I want to try and capture some of those observations and conversations. I feel like talking in generalities gets us only so far. I really want to share and discuss real world examples here in Philly and figure out how we as a community feel about particular choices. I think this is the best way to really get into the meat of the matter. But I am also cognizant that part of creating safe space is making sure people don’t feel like they might say something to me and then see it online without having been consulted or that I’m putting really specific thoughts about their company in the public eye without being invited to the table.

So I’m gonna work a bit on those writings and I’m going to send them to the people they are in reference to, and my hope is that those folks will not only consent for me to share my thoughts, but possibly get in on the action.

So for today, instead, I’m going to start with what I know: female directors.

One of the things I catalogued last year was the number of women directing for companies in Philly. Female actresses and playwrights didn’t have it easy, but female directors (most especially at larger sized companies) had a rough go of it, especially if you factor out directors who occupy multiple directing slots in a season.

Part of the problem, I think, is a chicken and egg syndrome. More guys are directing which reinforces the idea of the pool of directors being more guy heavy generally and so when AD’s think about bringing in outside directors their first instinct is likely one of the people already visibly working.

Elissa Goethschius started an awesome thing on her website in which she literally just catalogs names of female directors. There is no plug or assessment of each particular person, just a list that shows the sheer size of the population that a person in a position of choice might choose from.

So in that vein I’d like to put out into the Philly arts ether a list, as comprehensive as I can muster of female directors/lead artist types (cause sometimes that distinction is fuzzy) who are working in theater (though again that line gets blurry) that I know of who you might consider to direct the next time you’re considering…

  • Abigail Adams
  • Krista Apple
  • Gedney Barclay
  • Samantha Bellomo
  • Suzana Berger
  • Deb Block
  • Cara Blouin
  • Carly Bodnar
  • Tina Brock
  • Karen DiLossi
  • Anne Marie Cammarato
  • Liz Carlson
  • Jen Childs
  • Candace Cihocki
  • Jess Conda
  • Ginger Dayle
  • Emmanuel Delpech
  • Amber Emory
  • Lisa Jo Epstein
  • Lee Etzold
  • Rebecca May Flowers
  • Charlotte Ford
  • Kate Galvin
  • Allison Garrett
  • Tamanya Garza
  • Arianna Gass
  • Brenna Geffers
  • Anisa George
  • Karen Getz
  • Amanda Grove
  • Jill Harrison
  • Allison Heishman
  • Jenna Horton
  • Candra Kennedy
  • Maura Krause
  • Kathyrn MacMillan
  • Manon Manavit
  • Deb Marcucci
  • Sarah Mitteldorf
  • Maria Möller
  • Sebastienne Mundheim
  • Gigi Naglak
  • Charlotte Northeast
  • Megan O’Brien
  • Erlina Ortiz
  • Malika Oyetimein
  • Michelle Pauls
  • Lizzy Pecora
  • Martina Plag
  • Harriet Power
  • Nora Quinn
  • Erin Reilly
  • Gwen Rooker
  • Jen Rose
  • Sarah Sanford
  • Chelsea Sanz
  • Rebecca Schaffer
  • Jessica Schwartz
  • Joanna Settle
  • Micki Sharpe
  • Catharine Slusar
  • Amy Smith
  • Eva Steinmetz
  • Elizabeth Stevens
  • Sam Tower
  • Meg Trelease
  • Mary Tuomanen
  • Daniella Vinitski
  • Meghann Willians
  • Becky Wright
  • Blanka Zizka

And of course me, Adrienne Mackey.

That’s it for today.


PS – I know there are more. Let me know and I’ll update. Also, I’ve only included in town folks for now, though I know there are many who work in Philly but may not permanently reside here.


  1. Hi Adrienne! I am a philly director too! I am currently directing in NC but I live in Phila. and have directed/choreographed at Candlelight theatre, Media Theatre, Brick theatre, Hedgerow theatre, Univ. of Pa.and a few schools. Thanks!

  2. Adrienne. Great that you put this list together! A few edits and additions:
    Harriet Power (without an “s”)
    Sara Garonzik (despite being an AD is not actually a director)
    Deb Marcucci (not “Marducci”)
    Anne Marie Cammarato (I may be wrong, but I believe she is no longer in the area, since leaving her position as AD of Delaware Theatre Company)

    Add Maura Krause (currently working as InterAct’s NNPN Producer-in-residence) & Rebecca Schaffer (recently moved here from Montana)

  3. Also add:
    Sarah Mitteldorf (an Asian American director)
    Maya Oletim(sp?) (will get you correct spelling)

  4. HI I’d like to be added to the list please! My name’s Manon Manavit. I moved here in September. Working on my first Philly show ‘Michael The Rebel’ which will be performed at the German Society in June.

  5. Hi Adrienne,

    This is awesome! I have actually been directing and would like to be added to the list. Also Meg Trelease is a female director who moved to town over the summer.

    Carly Bodnar

  6. What about award winning director Ginger Dayle, who won the Broadway World Award for best new work for “RFK” in Philadelphia and the Directors’ Choice Award for “RFK” at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C.

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