Elizabeth Kenny is an actor, playwright, teacher, and lecturer. She has been working in the professional theater since 1993 and became an Artistic Associate at New City Theater in 1998, working as a generative collaborative artist under the direction of John Kazanjian. Elizabeth has honed her writing and contemporary performance skills as a key collaborator, developer, and performer of new work by playwrights Kristen Kosmas and Ki Gottberg, and is an accomplished solo performer, receiving critical acclaim for performances including Neil Labute’s Bash and Ki Gottberg’s The Compendium of Nastiness. Elizabeth and Kristen Kosmas founded Shady Lane Productions in 2007. Shady Lane is a theater company focused on the development of new work that is intimate, immediate, and provocative.
Sick, a solo performance written and performed by Elizabeth and collaboratively created with New City Theater Artistic Director John Kazanjian, premiered at New City Theater in 2011. Sick explores a patient’s two-year odyssey inside the most advanced healthcare system in the world—an odyssey that almost killed her. It investigates how treatment by well-meaning, sophisticated practitioners for a common gynecological issue plunged her into a downward spiral through the complex medical and mental health establishments. It examines the ways that the intricate threads woven between healthcare providers, pharmaceutical makers, insurance companies, and medical educators unknowingly conspire to undermine patient care. Sick is the story of everyone trying hard to get it right…but getting it wrong anyway. Sick and Elizabeth were honored with Gregory Award nominations for best performance, best new play and best production, and she won The Gypsy Lee Rose award for excellence of production, performance and playwriting. Sick played to sold-out audiences in Seattle for 4 months and toured the USA for most of 2012; and plans for a film adaptation are in the works.
These Streets – a play with rock music co-written by Elizabeth, Sarah Rudinoff and Gretta Harley — premiered at ACT Theater in Seattle in 2013. A concert version of the These Streets was performed at MeowCon in Austin and at Neumo’s 20th anniversary in Seattle.
Elizabeth is currently working on a new play that traces the history of the phrase ”what we know about the brain is…” and examines the nature of what it is to know something. Elizabeth has done extensive research into the current state of our mental health system and patient advocacy, and has given lectures on patient experiences at major teaching hospitals around the country. As a teacher, Elizabeth has shared her master storytelling skills in workshops, for both large and small audiences, which focus on turning our lived experiences into story. Elizabeth has been a presenter and teacher at many national mental health conferences, including the National Alternatives conference in 2011 and 2013.