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In MemoriAm


Kathi B. Ellis, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Kathi E.B. Ellis was a champion of the arts, and a collaborator of theatre that brings change to communities. She was a gifted teacher, a mentor to many artists, and a fierce feminist, much loved and much admired. Kathi passed away July 15th as a result of complications from cancer. She was 59.

Kathi was an active member of ICWP for more than 20 years. She was a frequent contributor on the ICWP discussion list, offering support, advice and artistic insights into the art of theatre and playwriting. She gave her time, energy and considerable talents by organising reading events of plays by ICWP members to celebrate International Women's Day and then later for SWAN day. 

ICWP member Robin Rice writes, “Kathi was more than a brilliant director. Her life was dedicated to theater, helping to advance women's theater in particular. I'm told that only a few weeks ago she was actually holding rehearsals in her hospital room. That's how persuasive and committed she was. I doubt if the hospital staff allowed this to happen right off the bat!”

Kathi received her MFA in Directing from the University of Louisville and was the first recipient of the Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Award for Gender Equity, from the University of Louisville’s Women's Center. She was a professional theatre director, a member of the Lincoln Center and Chicago Director’s Labs, and an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She directed professionally across the USA and had been nominated for the South Florida Regional Theatre Carbonell Award (West Side Story and Jekyll and Hyde).

Kathi was Co-Artistic Director and Resident Director of Looking for Lilith Theatre Company. In addition to performing plays by and about women, the company provides outreach to communities of women, both domestically and internationally. A donation to the Looking for Lilith Theatre Company is perhaps the best way to honor Kathi.

Production Photo

I'm Wearing My Own Clothes!
By Nancy Gall-Clayton

Directed by Kathi E.B. Ellis

Looking for Lilith Theatre Company

VENUE: Clifton Center, Louisville, Kentucky

DATES: July 2017

Erica McClure (Dr. Walker) tells her family she wants to serve the Union Army (Ted Lesley as her father, Mandi Elkins Hutchins as her mother, and Dawn Campbell as her sister.)

Shirley Barrie, Toronto , Canada

(September 30, 1945 – April 15, 2018)

SHIRLEY BARRIE was a playwright, producer and arts administrator. She co-founded the Tricycle Theatre in London, England and Straight Stitching Productions in Toronto and received two Chalmers Awards and a Dora Award for plays written for Straight Stitching. She wrote plays for young and family audiences, for adults and librettos for opera. She co-edited the book, Prepare to Embark: Six Theatrical Voyages for Young Audiences. Recently she has had two plays produced by 4th Line Theatre: Beautiful Lady, Tell Me.... (2007) and Queen Marie (2012). Measure of the World was produced by the Alumnae Theatre in 2013, and I am Marguerite was produced at the Alumnae in 2015. She was also a story editor for film and television projects and was President of the Playwrights Guild of Canada from 2009-11.

Shirley was a well-loved and respected member of ICWP from its earliest days and regularly contributed knowledge and enthusiasm to discussions on the ICWP Email discussion List. Many members have benefitted from her generous sharing of insights and experience of playwriting and creating theatre. 


Shareen Knight  (d. October 23, 2015), British Columbia, Canada)

Shareen Knight was a writer and artist/photographer who lived in the coastal mountains of British Columbia. She was a member of ICWP for many years and was a requent contributor to the discussion list. 

Nalatya Churlaeyeva, Russia, d. August 2013

Natalya Churlyaeva was born in a military prosecutor's family (Novosibirsk, 1955), graduated from the Institute of Nonferrous Metals and Gold (Krasnoyarsk, 1977), defended her Ph.D. thesis in the field of Mathematical Economy Studies at the Institute of Industrial Organization and Management (Novosibirsk, 1983), and since then worked as a lecturing professor at what is now called the Siberian Aerospace University (Krasnoyarsk). Here she developed a doctoral thesis on Competency-Based Quality Assurance of Engineering Education, and in 2008 defended it.

 This is an extract from a powerful post made by Natalya in a member discussion Forum which is not public.

" Theatre must always speak truth (in an artistic form).  I don’t know what You-tube means and how it can serve for “propagating truth” but Theatre shouldn’t worry about “propagating” anything.  It’s the elite problem to worry about complying with social needs and meeting challenges.  If the elite doesn’t worry, all the worse for the elite.   Sociology discovered long ago that the most valuable information for the elite is not from sociological inquiries themselves but from such source as literature (and theatre). 

By ELITE I don’t mean only politicians who often might be even opposite to the true elite.  We can also distinguish financial, intellectual, emotional, scientific, technical, etc elites.  In the ideal pyramid of power the intellectual elite is above politicians, and the emotional elite represented by Theatre is still higher.  So, Theatre shouldn’t worry and must realize its superior role (in principle).  So, it shouldn’t be an instrument of the mass culture, and only thus can it survive.  What for to go to a theatre instead of just turning on your home DVD-player to see and hear anything you want wide-screened and of high quality sound, cheaply and comfortably? ...As for thinking that politicians might find out about the influential trends through their kids?  It seems thinking so about politicians and their kids is too good to be true.  Also, for any adult a child’s opinion seems to mean not much in fact."


Rebecca Ritchie 

Rebecca died after a 13-year battle with breast cancer on Friday, May 8, 2009. She was 60 years old.

By day she was a healthcare attorney. She is survived by her husband Stafford, daughter Glynis, and sons Stafford and Tom.

She was well respected and admired in her local arts and theatre community. A respected member of International Centre for Women Playwrights, she gave considerable time to writing articles on playwriting for the ICWP Seasons Newsletter. Her articles as "The Play Doctor" where she answered queries from playwrights with problem scripts were especially appreciated.

It is with regret that I mention the life and achievements of Rebecca Ritchie. As we all look toward remembrance in our life time, we should never forget the calling on our lives--to do the very best we can do for ourselves and the world. Rebecca will be remembered for her achievements, but they are only a small portion of her life. The remembrance is in the hearts and minds of those who wish to recall her talents and gifts. Let us all think on our end result and work toward our future.  --Terri Febuary

Virginia Foster (nee Bauch) 

Virginia ( Ginny) was born November 4, 1933 in Kelso, Washington. She died in Portland, Oregon on February 4, 2012, after years of living with Stage IV cancer. As a playwright and poet, she was known as Ginny Foster. [Full obituary here.]

Ginny was the daughter of Clifford and Agnes Bauch, and mother to five children, grandmother to three; great-grandmother to five; great-great grandmother to one.

She graduated with honors from Centralia Community College, attended Stanford and Berkeley Universities (where she was active in civil rights), and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship.

Ginny taught English to high school students, and wrote poetry throughout her life. After she retired from teaching, she began to write plays. She was a member of ICWP. Together with Sandra de Helen, she produced readings of new plays by women in 1998, and helped organize a mini-conference of ICWP in Portland, Oregon in 2001.

Ginny's dream was to see one of her plays on the boards at Portland Center Stage. She didn't long for the lights of Broadway, she didn't chase publication. She continued to learn, to write, to hone her craft, until her play Starvation Heights was selected for JAW, and a staged reading was presented. The interview with her about this event provides a delightful opportunity to hear how Ginny thought, and what her work process was. Read it here.

Ginny's literary executor is ICWP member Sandra de Helen. They were friends who were also a two-person writing group for more than twenty years. You can contact Sandra for information about Ginny's work at sandra (at) 

--- by Sandra de Helen


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