Pittsburgh Artist Registry

Tammy Ryan, Playwright

Tammy Ryan, Playwright

Artistic Category artist

I am a playwright because I love collaboration.  I write plays in order to be in the rehearsal room.   Most of my work that is produced in Pittsburgh has been presented by The REP at the Pittsburgh Playhouse where I have had an artistic home for the past 15 years working with a family of collaborators made up of directors, designers, actors, stage managers, all of whom I love.   Artists I have worked with on favorite projects include directors Sheila McKenna, John Amplas,  Marci Woodruff, actors Laurie Klatscher, Greg Lehane, Sharon McCune, Bridget Connors, Connie Castanzo, designers, Steffi Mayer Stayley, Andrew Ostrowski, among many others.  As a member of the Dramatists Guild of America I feel that I try to be an advocate for new playwriting and new playwrights locally

Career Level Professional
Experienced With Collaboration, Commissions, Leading workshops, Lectures, Teaching engagements, Speaking engagements, For-hire services

I try to tell the truth in my plays -- not the strict narrative, journalistic truth, but a deeper, emotional, visceral truth. I’ve always believed playwriting was closer to poetry than any other kind of writing and each play I write has its own integrity, its own poetic heart beat that I need to discover before I can tell the story. I  write theatrical plays intended to be seen and heard on the stage. I write character driven plays, and try to create juicy, layered, complex roles for actors. The subject matter, genre and even audience they are intended for varies, but always the plays are meant to move audiences towards enlightenment, transformation, hope.  I strive to write socially conscious work that desires a conversation with the community in which I live.  I believe, as Bertolt Brecht said, that "art is not a mirror with which to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."



TAMMY RYAN is a playwright and librettist whose work has been performed across the United States and internationally.  She was awarded the Francesca Primus Prize by the American Theater Critic’s Association for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods (Premiere Stages/Playwrights Theater of New Jersey.).  Her play Tar Beach, (Luna Stage) was included on “The List” of the most outstanding plays by women playwrights in 2014 compiled by the Kilroys and was a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award honoree, as well as a finalist for both the Terrence McNally Playwriting Award and the Source Theater Festival. Other plays include Soldier’s Heart, Dark Part of the Forest (Premiere Stages) A Confluence of Dreaming, Baby’s Blues, FBI Girl (Pittsburgh Playhouse), and The Music Lesson (Florida Stage/2001 Carbonell Award Best Production/2004 AATE Distinguished New Play Award).  Her first libretto, A New Kind of Fallout written in collaboration with composer Gilda Lyons was commissioned by Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and given its world premiere at Summerfest in 2015.  Ryan has held fellowships at Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, Hambidge Center, the Sewanee Writers Conference and her work has been read and developed at The New Harmony Project, The Bonderman, Philadelphia Theater Company and The Lark, among others and has been featured at the National New Play Network’s National Showcase of Plays.  In 2013 she received a Pittsburgh Artists Region Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments to support the creation of Molly’s Hammer an adaption of the book Hammer of Justice by Lianne Ellison Norman about peace activist and nuclear protester, Molly Rush. Molly’s Hammer will have its world premiere at The Repertory Theater of St. Louis in March 2016.    


For more information go to: www.tammyryan.net


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206
412 915 5486
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  • Essay
  • Playwriting
  • Prose