Lynne Conner

Lynne Conner

Professor of Theatre

Lynne Conner is a playwright, cultural historian, and cultural policy theorist. Her publications include the books Routledge Companion to Audiences and the Performing Arts (co-editor; 2022), Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital Era (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), Pittsburgh in Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater (University of Pittsburgh Press 2007), In the Garden of Live Flowers, co-authored with Attilio Favorini (Dramatic Publishing Company 2003), Spreading the Gospel of the Modern Dance: Newspaper Dance Criticism in the United States, 1850-1935 (University of Pittsburgh Press 1997), and the monograph Project Brief:  The Heinz Endowments’ Arts Experience Initiative (The Heinz Endowments 2008). Conner has also published chapters, articles, and essays in Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life (Routledge), l’ordinaires des Amerique, Crucibles of Crisis (University of Michigan Press), Theatre Annual, Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance, The International Dictionary of Modern Dance, Metamorphosis, High Performance, Theatre Studies, Grantmakers in the Arts Reader and numerous other journals and newspapers.

Dr. Conner was named a Distinguished Visitor at the University of Alberta at Edmonton as part of a peer-reviewed residency for widely recognized scholars who have achieved a high level of distinction in their field. Over the years she has given scores of talks on cultural policy/audience studies related topics, including keynote addresses at the inaugural symposium of the International Network for Audience Research in the Performing Arts/University of Leeds, Institute of the Americas/University of Toulouse, University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center, Salzburg Global Seminar, Toronto Creative Trust, National Performing Arts Convention, Wallace Foundation, International Society of Performing Arts Presenters, Boston Foundation/Massachusetts Cultural Council, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Grantmakers in the Arts, Dance USA, and the American Symphony Orchestra League. Her column “We the Audience” appeared as a featured blog at

Lynne’s most recent play, THE MOTHER, is a 2023 Bay Area National Playwright’s Festival Semi-finalist and a 2019 and 2018 Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center National Playwright’s Conference Semi-finalist. THE MOTHER received its world premiere at Dramatic Repertory Theatre in Portland, Maine in March 2020 and was subsequently produced as an audio play by Dagaz Media (directed by Conner). You can access the audio play here.

With choreographer Stephanie Martinez, Lynne devised and directed UNSEX ME HERE, a 45-minute ballet based on four Shakespeare plays commissioned by the Charlotte Ballet as part of the 2019 Innovative Works series. The piece has been performed at the Charlotte Ballet Center for Dance (January-February 2019) and the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater (July 2019).  Her play about Rachel Carson, IN THE GARDEN OF LIVE FLOWERS (co-written with Attilio Favorini), won the 2002 Kennedy Center National Playwriting Award and an honorable mention prize in the 2002 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award contest and is published by Dramatic Publishing Company. In 2023 it won a Green Academy Award (“Best Biopic”) for a streaming version produced and directed by Frank Farrell and First Flight Theatre Company. AMERICAN HUMBUG—a political satire based on P.T. Barnum, George W. Bush and the “New American Century” ideology—received a Creative Heights grant award from the Heinz Endowments in 2007 and was produced by the Three Rivers Arts Festival (AEA special contract). In January 2013 Conner was awarded the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region I award for Excellence for her original adaptation of LYSISTRATA at Colby College. She served as the resident playwright for Carnegie Mellon University’s Interactive Theatre Company, a professional troupe performing scripts on workplace and campus life issues, for which she received a Pennsylvania Economy League Learning and Development Award and a College and University Professional Association Innovation Award. As the founding director and resident playwright of the Heinz History Center’s Stages in History professional theatre company from 1996 to 1999, she wrote over fifty one-act plays, monologues and short scenes and received the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums Award of Merit/Outstanding Museum Programs in May 2000. Conner served as the Resident Dramaturg at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and the Literary Manager at City Theatre (Pittsburgh).

Lynne’s plays, dance-theatre works and adaptations have been produced at: Dramatic Repertory Company (Portland), Chautauqua Institution Amphitheatre, Theatre Project (Brunswick, Maine), Main Street Theatre (Houston), First Flight Theatre (New Jersey), Theatre-Hikes (Chicago), the Actors’ Guild of Lexington (Kentucky), Gemini Theatre (Pittsburgh), Prime Stage (Pittsburgh), Carnegie Mellon University, Smith College, William and Mary College, Loyola Marymount, Slippery Rock University, Point Park University and the University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre (among others). She is currently working on Seven Sisters, a new play loosely based on her mother’s family—seven sisters brought up on a subsidence farm in rural Western New York during the Depression and World War II eras. Seen through the lens of the evolution of American feminism, the play’s themes and topics include the daily life of farm women, the impact of rural poverty, female sexuality, birth order, aging and dementia, and Conner’s favorite questions about the nature of resiliency and innate optimism (why some have it and some don’t).

Click here for Dr. Conner’s full Curriculum Vitae