Rachel Atkins

Playwright

Rachel Atkins (she/her) is a playwright and teaching artist. She is the scriptwriter for Living Voices, the educational theatre partner of Theatreworks USA, with whom she has 12 different multi-media shows in ongoing national touring repertory, all focusing on issues of history and social justice, and seen by over 3 million audience members throughout the US and Canada.

Her play Black Like Us (Original Works Publishing) received the Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Award for Outstanding New Play, two Seattle Times Footlight Awards, including Top World Premiere, and was an American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award nominee.  A 3-time Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Award nominee for Outstanding Playwright/New Play, her other work has been produced extensively throughout the Seattle area.

Other plays include Treadwell Gold (Perseverance Theatre, AK), Baalzebub (multiple national and international youth productions, published by Theatrefolk), and an updated revision of Wycherley’s The Country Wife (Temple University, PA & Theater Schmeater, WA). 

Literary adaptations for Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre include Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, Jane Austen’s Emma (also Harvard Radcliffe Summer Theater, MA & Vintage Theatre, CO), Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and a variety of children’s literature. 

Her play for young actors, Cam Jansen & the Mystery of the Missing Eagle, has been seen in WA, IL, and VA. Short plays Brain Trust, This Is Not September 11, Baby Love, Conspiracy Theory, Zoetrope and Can You Hear the Mermaids Singing? have received multiple productions in NY, MO, OH, NM and WA. 

Rachel graduated from Dartmouth College and holds her Masters in Educational Theatre from New York University. A member of the ArtsWA Teaching Artist roster and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Arts Partner roster, she works as a master teaching artist for several teacher professional development programs, as well as A Contemporary Theatre’s Young Playwrights Program. Previously, she was the Scriptwriter/Dramaturge and Director of Education for Ardeo Theatre Project in France.

Highlights

Published plays:

Black Like Us (Original Works Publishing)

  • Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Award for Best New Play
  • Seattle Times Footlight Awards: Top World Premiere, Top Play on a Smaller Stage
  • American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award nominee

Baalzebub—full length & one-act (Theatrefolk)

Reviews

 “Candid, compassionate and engagingly humorous… a reflection on how limiting a “them vs. us” mindset is, in a land where racial and cultural identity cannot be so easily defined.”  Seattle Times

“Both funny and chilling…a sharp slice into the racial history of an American city from an unusual perspective”  The Stranger

“Her ability to find comedy… her eye for characterization and her ear for immediate, intimate dialogue are faultless...Thoughtful, crisp, and incredibly funny in the best tragicomic way. Ms. Atkins has written an excellent piece that deserves discussion...”  Seattle Star

“An accomplished, important and challenging new play …Unlike many good plays that leave you with much to discuss over coffee after you leave the theater, I suspect this play will leave me with internal discussions and conflicts that I'll debate for the rest of my life. “  Seattleactor.com

“The real sadness about great pieces like this is that most of the people who need to see it — people who think that “cleaning up the drug problem” is as easy as making arrests, people who don’t see a problem with the minimum wage as it is, people who think racism is dead — don’t usually see it. So we need you to go see this piece, and also to bring your friends.”  Seattlish.com

Interviews & media

From Raised Eyebrows To Raised Curtains: Rachel Atkins Tackles Racial Identity

The Dark Side Of Brain Science: Seattle Pair's 'Thought Experiment' Plays Out Onstage

How A Doomed French Chateau Inspired A Seattle Play