Kate Mulley is a playwright, librettist/lyricist, producer, and dramaturg whose work explores gender, power, and sexuality through a feminist, and often historical, lens. Her work has been developed and performed on three continents at theaters including Luna Stage, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Dixon Place, the Flea, Theatre503 and the Soho Theatre.
She has an ongoing collaboration with composer Andy Peterson. Their musical Razorhurst was commissioned by and had its world premiere at Luna Stage and was developed at Catwalk Art Residency and FORGE Fuel. Outlaw, a new musical about the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, has been developed at Catwalk Art Residency, FORGE Fuel, and Barn Arts Collective and performed at Dixon Place and Dartmouth College.
Her play The Tutor has been translated into Mandarin and performed at the Shanghai Theatre Academy and the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre. The Year Before the Civil War is published in Issue 004 of The Dionysian.
Strange Bare Facts, Kate’s military medicine trilogy which includes Grey Lady, Hither Ditch and The Next War has been developed at Columbia, NYU, Sewanee Writers’ Conference and VoxFest at Dartmouth College, among others.
She has worked for Playscripts, Inc., Nick Hern Books, Soho Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop and Hourglass Group, and has published headlines in The Onion. Kate has been a Playwriting Fellow at Shanghai Theatre Academy, a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference, a finalist for the Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship, SPACE at Ryder Farm, and the Columbia@Roundabout New Play Reading Series and a semi-finalist for the O’Neill, Princess Grace, ATHE Playwriting Award and Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Theater and History, received an MA in Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths College, London, and an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University. She currently lives in New York and is a founding member of Vox Theater.
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The plays that I write are often about women pushing against the confines of their circumstances. Whether they are Civil War-era widows with a desire to overcome grief and propriety, over-educated exhibitionists with a penchant for breaking the rules or teenagers stuck in a well (the first play I wrote was a Beckett-inspired short about a girl stuck in a well), these women peek beyond the curtain of what society expects of them and revel in the freedom and then await, and experience, the fallout. I write plays that are theatrical, yet subtle; that demand an engaged and intelligent audience, but don’t shy away from sensual or lowbrow moments. There may not be a happy ending, but there is always self-discovery and the knowledge that one cannot return to where one started.
Perhaps I write this way as the product of eight years of single sex education. Perhaps it is the result of being the daughter of a woman who consistently outearned her husband. Or perhaps it is pushback from being educated at the collegiate level by a number of male professors with an apparent distaste for female sexuality. Or the many post-collegiate years of often exhilarating and often disappointing relationships and entanglements.
The reasons most likely don’t matter. In my view, the work is what matters. And how it affects audiences seeking work that challenges their notions of gender, sexuality and class whether they’re in New York, New Hampshire or Shanghai.