Kate Whoriskey is one of the most adventurous and admired directors in the American theatre today. Widely praised throughout her career for her visual imagination and heightened storytelling, she is equally acclaimed for her commitment to exploring all the possibilities of the theatrical experience through rigorous attention to text and performance.
Adept at staging modern classics and new works by some of today’s leading writers, she is currently represented in New York with the smash world premiere of Ruined, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play written by her frequent collaborator Lynn Nottage. Set in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo, a country ravaged by a brutal civil war, Ruined looks with both scorching honesty and surprising humor at the physical, social and psychological consequences of that war on a group of women and girls living and working in a brothel. To develop the play, their third collaboration (after the world premieres of Fabulation at Playwrights Horizons and Intimate Apparel at South Coast Repertory), Nottage and Whoriskey traveled to Uganda to do research and conduct interviews.
In New York, she has also directed the world premieres of Inked Baby by Christina Anderson at Playwrights Horizons and Massacre by Jose Rivera at the LAByrinth Theatre Company, of which she is a member. Additional Off-Broadway credits include The Piano Teacher at the Vineyard Theatre and the world premiere of another play by Julia Cho, The Last Tree in Antarctica, at Ensemble Studio Theatre.
Whoriskey has directed The Tempest at Washington, DC’s Shakespeare Theatre; the world premieres of Noah Haidle’s Vigils and Regina Taylor’s Drowning Crow, The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams and Shaw’s Heartbreak House at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre; and the world premiere of Julia Cho’s The Piano Teacher, Calderon’s Life Is a Dream, Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antigone by Sophocles and Sarah Ruhl’s Clean House at California’s South Coast Repertory, where she is an Associate Artist. Other companies where she has directed include Theatre for a New Audience in New York, Baltimore Center Stage, Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Sundance Theatre Lab, the Eugene O’Neill Center and Geva Theatre.
A graduate of NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing and American Repertory Theatre’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, Whoriskey directed Ibsen’s The Master Builder at ART soon after receiving her graduate degree. Writing in the Boston Globe, theatre critic Ed Siegel called her “a major new talent” with “the dazzling potential to make theatrical history.”
The recipient of several grants and fellowships, Whoriskey is currently a Lecturer at Princeton University.