NNPN Commission HARBUR GATE by Kathleen Cahill Will Receive World Premiere at Salt Lake Acting Company

Jan 25, 2017

Washington, D.C. - National New Play Network, the country’s alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, announces the World Premiere of its 2012-13 Annual Commission, Harbur Gate by Kathleen Cahill, at Core Member Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC). The Commission, which was awarded to Ms. Cahill in collaboration with Salt Lake Acting Company, will receive its first professional production from February 8-March 12.

In their joint proposal for the Commission, Cynthia Fleming (Executive Artistic Director of SLAC) and Ms. Cahill noted that the inspiration for the play was “The Veteran in a New Field,” a Civil War-era painting by Winslow Homer: “It presents an image of a figure scything a field of golden wheat, life and death locked in the same moment. The veteran doesn’t look like a soldier and we assume it’s a painting of a man, because veterans are – or rather were – men. But no longer. The veteran in [Harbur Gate] is a woman.”

Since its conception, Harbur Gate has developed into a play which asks the questions: what does leadership look like? What makes a warrior? Or a hero? And if trust is the bedrock of the soldier’s profession, what happens when that trust is broken? At a time of evolving notions about what it means to be a woman or a man, Harbur Gate explores the military as a gendered space where, as one character puts it, “men are men and women are not.”


Six characters, in three interconnected plays, illuminate the emotional chaos that results from the experience of war: how it can disturb, destroy, and transform the lives of three women forever.

Harbur Gate is also the recipient of a 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, which supports an extended rehearsal process for select world premiere productions. It can be found on the New Play Exchange here.


Kathleen Cahill’s awards include the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, two Connecticut Commission on the Arts Playwriting Awards, a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts New American Works Grant, two Edgerton Foundation Awards, and a Drama League Award. Her play Charm was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; her play The Persian Quarter was nominated for a Steinberg Award (both published by Dramatic Publishing). Her produced musicals include Friendship of the Sea (North Shore Music Theatre); Dakota Sky (Olney Theatre), an opera, Clara; two opera/cabarets, A Tale of Two Cities: Paris and Berlin in the Twenties (Maryland Center for the Performing Arts); a comic opera cabaret, Fatal Song (most recently Utah Opera); and Perdida, the Winter’s Tale set in Mexico, (most recently Catholic University, DC and upcoming at the Grand Theatre, Salt Lake City; published by Dramatic Publishing). Her plays include the comedy, Course 86B in the Catalogue (Salt Lake Acting Company); The Still Time (Georgia Rep/ Porchlight Theatre, Chicago); the comedy, Women Who Love Science Too Much (Porchlight Theatre and NPR Radio); Joy Forever (Cleveland Public, Firehouse Theatre, Massachusetts); Charm (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere: Salt Lake Acting Company premiere, Kitchen Dog Theatre, Dallas, Orlando Shakespeare; Taffety Punk, Washington D.C. among others); and The Persian Quarter (Salt Lake Acting Company, Merrimack Rep.). Her play, Harbur Gate was workshopped at Colt Coeur in New York, and in the Lab of the Salt Lake Acting Company, where it will be produced in 2017 and in 2018, at NNPN Core Member Theater 16th Street Theater, Chicago. She wrote the screenplay for the independent feature, Downtown Express. She writes for Alan Cumming when he introduces “Mystery!” on PBS. She is Playwright-in-Residence at the Salt Lake Acting Company.


Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC)’s mission is to engage and enrich the community through brave, contemporary theatre. Founded in 1970 to present innovative and thought-provoking plays for Utah audiences and to nurture a community of local and national professional theatre artists, SLAC is committed to commissioning, developing and producing a year-round season of new work. SLAC has cultivated an engaged and adventurous audience, as evidenced by its ever-growing subscriber base, and is proud to be a champion of new plays. saltlakeactingcompany.org