Carolyn Gage is a lesbian‑feminist playwright, performer, director, and activist. The author of five books on lesbian theatre and fifty-five plays, musicals, and one-woman shows, she specializes in non-traditional roles for women, especially those reclaiming famous lesbians whose stories have been distorted or erased from history.
Gage tours internationally in her award-winning, one-woman play, The Second Coming of Joan of Arc, offering workshops and lectures on lesbian theatre. In 2008, her new musical about Babe Didrikson was given concert readings in both Phoenix and Minneapolis, and her play The Countess and the Lesbians premiered at the Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival, where it was reviewed by The Irish Times and sold out the run. In 2008, two collections of her plays were published: Nine Short Plays and The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and Selected Plays. Both have been nominated for this year’s Lambda Literary Awards.
In 2004, her play Ugly Ducklings was nominated by the American Theatre Critics Association for the prestigious ATCA/ Steinberg New Play Award, an award with given annually for the best new play produced outside New York. It won the Lesbian Theatre Award from Curve Magazine, and a $150,000 documentary on the play premiered at the Frameline International Film Festival in San Francisco. The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women was named national finalist for the Jane Chambers Award given by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Receiving top reviews in Miami and in Washington, DC, it was the subject of a feature article in The Washington Post. Her one‑act, Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist, was presented at Actors Theatre of Louisville in the Juneteenth Festival of African American plays. It was a national winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, and is included in Random House's anthology Under 30: Plays for a New Generation.
Gage's musical, The Amazon All‑Stars is the first lesbian full‑book musical ever published by a mainstream play publisher. Published by Applause Books, it is the title work of an anthology of lesbian plays that was a national finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Her manual on lesbian theatre production, Take Stage! How to Direct and Produce a Lesbian Play was published by Scarecrow Press. Gage’s Monologues and Scenes for Lesbian Actors is being reissued this year in a revised and expanded version. The University of Oregon has acquired her personal papers for their Special Collections Archive.
In 2008, Gage lectured at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and she has been a Guest Lecturer at Bates College in Maine. She has won the Oregon Playwrights Award from the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts. She has also been awarded grants from the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Women Writers’ Collection at the University of New England, the Walden Writer's Fellowship from Lewis and Clark College, the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts Writer's Grant, and the Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant. In 2005, she won the national Lynda Hart Memorial Grant from the Astraea Foundation.
One of the most prolific feminist playwrights in the world, Carolyn Gage is a dynamic speaker and a powerful role model.