Kristen Palmer Playwright Spotlight

Meet Kristen Palmer, Playwright of  Things You Can Do July 8-31!


Kristen Palmer (Playwright) is a writer and theatre-maker whose work has been seen in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and elsewhere. Her plays includeOnce Upon A Bride There Was a Forest, The Stray Dog, All the Girls Love Bobby Kennedy, Local Story, and Departures. She is an Associate Artist of New Georges (NYC), a recipient of the Jerome Fellowship, and an alum of the Women’s Project Theater Lab and Soho Rep Writer Director Lab. Currently she is the Artistic Director of Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater in Middletown, Connecticut. 

Playwright Spotlight Questions

Where did the idea for your play come from?

This play started from the word, ‘Cryosphere’ and wanting to write about a group of mothers who were disconnected from their adult children.  Early drafts of the play had 3 other characters not in this version – it was more interconnected stories, a group of 20 somethings, a group of mothers and Bella with her immediate family.  Once the play was written that way, the beating heart of the play emerged – the family unit of Stevie, Bella and Clara.  So I started over.  This play has been in process since 2006.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?

Getting in the room and working towards a production.  I’ve lived with this play for while, it’s grown over the years as my writing has grown and it’s ready to fly.  Stepping into the room with this cast led by Meghan is my favorite moment.

What projects are you currently working on?

A retelling of the Persephone myth imagining Demeter taking Hades down and bringing on an age of summer – an attempt to myth make from climate change and tap into the collective imagination.  it’s staggering what we’re facing and more than we can wrap our heads around.  Stories have a role to play.

And a new play, my first one wholly written since my son was born 2 years ago. Too early to talk about, beyond being excited to be working on a new piece.

Finish this sentence- “I love theater that…”

Reaches beyond the expected.

What was the best advice you were given as a theater artist?

Most recently from Tina Howe who gave me a gift when I told her I was pregnant. She said not to worry about the writing for two years, then it will all come back.  For me this proved true, I kept up with projects while he was an infant, but new, generative work was terribly difficult.  I held her words in mind though and I think they released me from some useless self-flagellation.

What is the one thing you know as an artist now that you wish you could tell your younger self?

That writing and life are going to be mixed up deeper than you can imagine so dive into both.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?

Reading whatever strikes my fancy at the library.  Some where over the years I lost that habit and re-discovering it has been a great joy.

What is your favorite and least favorite word?

Tradition.  Favorite because it triggers a sense of history, of human reach and community.  Least favorite because it claims primacy for one cultural narrative over divergent experiences and becomes a lazy, default explanation for why things are.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, …really – anything at all?)

I’m loving working with Live Girls!  What a gorgeous way to bring this play to its world premiere with you all.  Thank you.

Kristen Palmer photo by Jody Christopherson-59