Meet the Playwrights for 'Together/Apart': Rachel Strayer

Meet the Playwrights for Together/Apart: Rachel Strayer

"Together Apart: A Socially Distanced Collaboration" features pieces from a multitude of sources and playwrights. Many of the pieces in "Together Apart", are from playwrights that wrote pieces about the pandemic, or other current economical and social events affecting them, others, and the world we live in. We want to take the chance to introduce you to our guest playwrights.

Rachel Luann Strayer is a Pennsylvania playwright with an MFA from Wilkes University. Her full-length plays include Drowning Ophelia (Repurposed Theatre, Gaslight Theatre Company, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, University of Idaho); The Poe Asylum (Scranton Fringe Festival, Keystone College); Songbird, selected for The Bechdel Group’s 2019 Fall Reading Series in New York City and reading with Premiere Stages at Kean University in 2020; and The Last Daughter, a finalist for the 2020 Jane Chambers Award for Excellence in Feminist Playwriting. She recently completed her first play for young adults, A Decameron for the Apocalypse. Rachel currently resides in Lancaster, PA.

On March 11, 2020, my new play, Songbird, had a closed reading with Premiere Stages at Kean University. On March 12, the readings of four other plays at Premiere Stages were canceled. That same week, my nephew's middle school musical production was canceled on opening night, and the very first play my husband was directing for Millersville University was shut down three weeks before it was scheduled to open. No one knew if, or when, theatres would open their doors again, and in fact, most of us are still waiting. Maybe it was strange to write plays during a time when theatre as we knew it felt dead. But as I found myself mourning the loss of live theatre and the opportunities that came with it, I also found myself faced with two choices. I could give up on theatre or I could embrace its new form. Opportunities were appearing everywhere to write plays for a virtual audience, whether for simple readings or online performances. I wrote both Light and Light the Way Back for online reading opportunities less than two weeks after the theatres in my life shut down. I've seen both these pieces performed virtually and I'm thrilled to see them again. I hope, one day, to see them live and in-person. For now, it is the most important and most remarkable to see theatre go on in any form. It is a testament to our resilience, our determination, and our creativity. I feel so blessed to be a part of that.Rachel Strayer visit to Together Apart rehearsal. Picture of a zoom meeting with students, direct, and guest playwright, Rachel Strayer

Light is about the fear and uncertainty that came with the loss of our live theatre experiences. Light the Way Back indulges all my worst fears, but still offers one bright, shining moment of hope at the end. Both pieces are important because we are still facing uncertainty, but not without hope. And I believe that no matter how dark things have been, no matter how hard things get, the theatre will find a way to survive.

Get your tickets now for "Together Apart: A Socially Distanced Collaboration" at to be able to watch the performance when it becomes available on November 16th. 

You can also engage with the cast and crew and ask questions about the performance. At our Talkback Thursdays. This event will take place on a zoom webinar, register early for reminders.

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Last Updated: October 27, 2020