Emily Ritger is a director, playwright, performer and choreographer based in Chicago. As a teacher and director developing new work, she has worked for American Theatre Company, Redmoon, Cleveland Public Theatre, Northlight Theatre, ChiArts, The New Harmony Project and The National High School Institute.
While Ritger’s focus is in ensemble based work, her diverse training includes Viola Spolin Theatre Games, Viewpoints, Puppetry, Contact Improv, experimental methods of writing and various forms of music, creating work that is saturated in movement, music and play. Her work draws from her experience of growing up in small town Wisconsin. It celebrates rural america - its voice, land, dialect, sense of community and the people who carry on the traditions and way of life inherent to living off the land. With the agrarian landscape as her cornerstone, her work explores the philosophy and religion inherent in nature and living off the land, and the cyclical birth and death inherent in life on a farm.
Her current projects include her solo show, "Crud", part documentary style theatre, part fantastical music and shadow puppetry, examining a day her family never talks about. "Behaymas", a collaboration with playwright Aliza Bartfield, three humans and one animal blur the lines of domesticity and societal constructions of family. And her play "The Day Krissy LeDuke Fell Through the Ice", is a moment in time and its arrayed vectors of tragedy told through free verse and music.
She has studied with theater artists Dan Hurlin, David Neumann, Sibyl Kempson, Tina Landau, Brett Bailey, Claudia Castellucci, Aretha Sills, Shirley Kaplan, Cassandra Medley, Stuart Spencer and Tom Lee, and received her MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College and a BS in Theatre and Philosophy from the University of Evansville.