Emilyn Kowaleski

Writer & Director

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Hey there! 

I'm Emilyn, a Brooklyn-based writer and director who is  dedicated to creating intrepidly theatrical work that experiments with language and form. 

My backstory ~

I grew up in Berkeley, California, where I enrolled in my first acting class at the age of 7. Throughout high school I performed and trained at several Bay Area theatre companies including California Shakespeare Theater and American Conservatory Theater. In 2007, I co-founded  a student-led performing arts organization called Performers for Progress (now in it’s 8th year running!).

I crossed the country in 2008 to earn my B.F.A. in Drama from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts, Experimental Theater Wing, and the International Theatre Workshop in Amsterdam with a dual-degree in Psychology.  

Since graduating, I've  continued my artistic education by taking a wide range of classes from experts in the performing arts, such as Theater Mitu, Labyrinth Theater Company , Winter Miller , Merry Conway,  Karen Bergreen, and The TEAM. I have interned and assisted for a handful of theatre companies including, Shotgun PlayersfoolsFURY Theater Company,  Elevator Repair Service , Big Dance Theater, and Target Margin Theater. I was the Associate Director of Young Jean Lee's Theater Company from August 2013 to January 2016 where I helped develop and tour Straight White Men.  Please see my  resume for a full list of credits. 

From 2012 to the present, I  was the lead singer/song-writer for the music project, Red Queen on the River, with whom I performed at venues across New York City. You may have also seen me performing in a few plays, readings, and films. Or, perhaps you saw me running around the Martin E. Segal Theater Center in a production capacity at PRELUDE '13 and '14, and The International PEN World Voices Festival, or helping out at PS122's COIL Festival or Under The Radar. Yup, I like performance and I enjoy  helping  to make it happen. 

Nowadays ~

Occasionally you'll catch me performing some original music or a poem somewhere,  or producing an event, but mostly, I write and direct new work (both my own, and other playwrights'). You can read more about my upcoming directing projects here.  

My work as a writer focuses on stories of womanhood. I investigate how we as women understand, construct, and perform our identity in relation to the world around us. I seek to engender a ripple of empathy by cracking open tales from the mythic to the mundane. I pursue language with genuine curiosity. I’m fascinated by how we intimately communicate our stories and desires and how we are understood by one another through the words we choose. I am enlivened by what I believe to be the electric results of mixing poetic and heightened language with colloquial speech, and even further propelled by the challenge of marrying intimacy, absurdity, and this kind of language onstage.  I create works that are bold and joyous in their theatricality, while exploring the painful and the uncomfortable. Through doing so, I aim to open a space of healing for my audiences. 

My work has been  presented at venues such as Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Cloud City, Grand Art Haus, Dixon Place, The Bowery Poetry Club, Pete's Candy Store and Ars Nova. Check out my projects - past and present - and find out where to see my upcoming work!