Skip to main content

Claudia Allen papers

Identifier: MSS0051

Scope and Contents

The Claudia Allen papers contain manuscripts and drafts of Allen's works, including her essays and short stories.


  • 1987-2004


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Born in 1954, Claudia Allen grew up in Clare, Michigan. After graduating from University of Michigan with an M.A. in English, she moved to Chicago and began writing plays. Allen is an alumni of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble. She has been affiliated with Victory Gardens Theater for over 20 years, and her plays have been produced in Chicago and across the United States. From the 1990s through the 2000s, Allen also taught at various institutions including DePaul University, Northwestern University College, and the University of Chicago. In 1999, Allen was recognized as Best Playwright by Chicago magazine. She is the recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards and five Jeff nominations. She also received the Trailblazer Award from Bailiwick Repertory for demonstrating excellence in playwriting and for moving lesbian plays from the theatrical fringe to the artistic center. Allen is well-known for incorporating lesbian and bisexual characters into her plays, with nearly half of her productions as of 2010 addressing lesbian or bisexual topics. I wrote lesbian-themed plays, because I wasn’t seeing what I wanted to watch. (The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame website, accessed on June 15, 2016, In 1987, Allen’s play They Even Got the Renzi was one of only two plays by women chosen from over 500 submissions at the Great Chicago Playwrights Expo. In the foreword of a published anthology of Allen’s plays, a colleague describes her work with admiration: Allen’s stage moves beyond literal naturalism to representations of memory, of love lost and reclaimed that move us far beyond the living room, the nursing home, the rooming-house porch, or even the backstage dressing room (She’s Always Liked the Girls Best: Lesbian Plays, 1993). Allen’s most frequently produced play is Hannah Free, which first premiered at Chicago’s Bailiwick Repertory in 1992. The story focuses on a complicated, lifelong lesbian relationship.


2.5 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Claudia Allen papers are arranged into two series: 1. Biographical and 2. Productions, which are arranged alphabetically by title and then chronologically.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 1999.37; 2004.12

Related Materials

The Long Awaited. SpC. 812.54 A425L1992 c.3; Movie Queens. SpC. 812.54 A425M1991 c.2; Ripe Conditions. SpC. 812.54 A425f1994 c.2; She Always Liked Girls Best: Lesbian Plays. SpC. 812.54 A425s1993 c.2; Winter. SpC. 812.54 A425W1996; Deed of Trust, starring: Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless. (Cassette Tape) SpC. 812.54 A425d 1994; Still Waters, starring: the cast of Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre production. (Cassette Tape) SpC. 812.54 A425s 1994 v.1

Processing Information

Revised by J. Mann 2016

Guide to Claudia Allen papers
Revised by J. Mann 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the DePaul Special Collections and Archives Repository

John T. Richardson Library
2350 N. Kenmore Ave.
Room 314
Chicago Illinois 60614