Catherine Zudak is a writer, producer and storyteller in Southeast Michigan. She is currently revising Lion’s Share (A slave turned gladiator travels to Rome hoping to win his freedom), which Theatre Nova read as part of the Michigan Playwrights Festival. In 2021, Nova will read another new work, Nun’s at the End of the World(Four Catholic nuns stranded by a weather apocalypse struggle to keep faith). Zudak has produced an annual new play festival for Ann Arbor Civic Theatre for over ten years, as well as her own independent shows that explore social justice issues, including Broken (human trafficking), The Know Gun Show (gun violence), and Inside the Rainbow (LGBTQ). She has written and performed personal stories about suicide, gun violence and sexual harassment at regional events including Heaven Spot, HERSay, MOMS, Snapshots, and Story Night. Her full-length play, Virtues, (loosely based on the Borders bookstore strike in 2003) was produced by From Around Here Productions at the Riverside Art Center in 2014.
Zudak has a Master’s in Public Policy from George Washington University and focused on homelessness prevention and education equality during her first career. She lives in Ann Arbor with a husband, two children and a dog.
Regional Rep: Michigan
I am delighted to be serving as the Dramatists Guild Regional Rep for Michigan. I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from two previous Michigan Reps, Anita Gonzalez and Janet Torreno Pound. I’ve been doing theater in Southeast Michigan for almost 20 years first as an actor, then director and producer. I’ve been writing plays for the last 10 years and screenplays for the last five. I am very familiar with the artists and theaters in my area — Purple Rose, Theater Nova, Detroit Rep, JET, Black & Brown Theater, and Tipping Point, among others. (I’ve been rejected by them all!) I have some familiarity with the Grand Rapids area and a little with Central Michigan, but that leaves a lot of Michigan dramatists I have yet to meet. So that’s where I’d like to start — getting to know Michigan Guild members and their needs. At the same time, I hope to bring program support to Guild members in the next few months. We are all operating in a new normal with a lot of Zooming. I have short plays being produced on Zoom by regional and far-flung theaters. I am also producing several Zoom shows as fundraisers. I’d love to share ideas and best practices with other dramatists. Everything from how to protect the rights to our work in a virtual world to writing and revising for a virtual stage to finding creative ways to keep pre-COVID projects moving forward.
Michigan has had very strict social distancing guidelines in place since mid-March, and the benchmarks for reopening large gatherings like theater are not likely to be met anytime soon. We could easily stay shuttered through June or the end of 2021. It may be awhile before I can hit the road to meet and greet Michigan dramatists in person, but one of the unexpected benefits of a virtual theater world is we can connect over great distances. I am looking forward to meeting and greeting Michigan Guild members virtually and further developing our community of dramatists.