Meet Queer Shorts’ brainchild, Katy Conley.
Katy Conley made her stage debut at age 10 as Toto in “The Wizard of Oz.” She was initially sad that she didn’t get to play Dorothy, but says, “It was clear from the first moment that I wasn’t the strong princess type.” And she grew up doing theater: “It was my passion till I graduated from high school. Then I left theater for 20 years.”
Over time, doing theater felt almost frivolous, or not connected enough to the real world. According to Conley, “I said that I would come back if I could do something that would matter. I got involved with Flaming Dykasaurus [a comedy improv troupe], that was political, dyke-centric, reflective and connected. And then I saw a StageQ audition notice, and thought, “Queer theater!” I was in three of the four shows in the first StageQ season, culminating in Gertrude Stein, which remains to this day my favorite role. I remember say-ing during the first year that this could be home, more than just a place to do theater, it could be a family.”
StageQ did become a home for Conley, who joined their board for six years, and remains on the Artistic Committee, which selects the works which StageQ performs. The popular annual playfest, “Queer Shorts,” was Katy’s brainchild.
What draws her to theater? Conley says, “I love becoming somebody else, because every time I do, it makes my reality so much bigger. What I love about directing is having that vision and facilitating actors to go deeper than they knew they could.”
“It’s all about connection. I want the audience to leave a show feeling well-fed in their hearts or their humor.”