In memoriam: Nancy Swortzell, 1931-2011

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing, on July 30, of Nancy Swortzell, one of the great women in theater for young audiences and educational theater in the USA.  Most relevant to the 'write local play global' community may be her co-founding the New Plays for Young Audiences program at the Provincetown Playhouse, which helped develop over forty new plays for children and young people with playwrights from the USA, Ireland, the UK, and Australia.

Of great significance to the world of educational theater: she co-founded the seminal graduate program in Educational Theatre at New York York University in 1966 and established the NYU Study Abroad Program, conducting courses in England, Scotland, and Ireland. 

She will be remembered for her intelligence, creativity, wit, and uncompromising drive, a no-nonsense and insightful professional who cared deeply about her students and colleagues. Nancy will be missed, but her legacy will live on in the work of the countless students and fellow professionals whose lives were enriched by working with her.


And, if you listen very closely, with fine-tuned ears, in theaters, university classroom and schoolrooms all across our field, chances are good that you'll be able to hear the echoes of one of Nancy's signature phrases: "Where is the drama, dear heart?"

Donations in her memory may be made to the Lowell S. and Nancy Swortzell Graduate Scholarship Fund for Educational Theatre, c/o Barbara Kotlikoff, NYU Steinhardt Development, 25 West 4th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10012.