I KNOW MY OWN HEART is Jeff Recommended!


Play by the author of the Oscar® winning film ROOM explores the secret loves of a 19th Century English gentlewoman

I KNOW MY OWN HEART by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue, was inspired by the secret coded diaries of Yorkshire gentlewoman . It details Lister’s affairs with various women in the early 19th Century. Donoghue is best known for her novel and subsequent screenplay and stage play of ROOM. The film version of ROOM was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Brie Larson’s award-winning performance. This will be the US premiere of I KNOW MY OWN HEART and it will be directed by Elizabeth Swanson. “Heart is a colorful chamber drama about a woman who works toward that most elusive end – to know herself. And what she uncovers about her needs and desires challenges every traditional queer narrative.”

Purchase tickets here.

Swanson’s cast, which was announced today, will be led by Vahishta Vafadari as Anne Lister. Vafadari was recently seen as Roxane in BoHo Theatre’s Jeff award-winning production of CYRANO. Also in the four-person cast are Jessie Ellingsen  (ROMEO & JULIET and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM  with Shakespeare All-Stars), Eleanor Katz (ARMS AND THE MAN with City Lit and CYRANO with BoHo),  and Lauren Grace Thompson (FRANKENSTEIN with Lifeline Theatre and TWELFTH NIGHT Montana Shakespeare in the Parks). The design team will include Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Blake Cordell (sound and lighting design) and Elyse Balogh (scenic painting).

Tickets  are available now at here or by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222.



By Emma Donoghue


Directed by Elizabeth Swanson

January 10 – February 10, 2019

Previews: Thursday January 10, Friday January 11, and Saturday January 12 at 7:30pm. All preview seats $15

Press Opening: Sunday January 13 at 7:30 pm

Regular Run: January 17 – February 10 with Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3:30pm and Wednesday January 30 at 7:30pm

Pride Arts Center – The Buena, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago

Premium seats $30, general admission seats $25, student/senior/military $20 (not valid Saturdays)

Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online.

Inspired by the secret coded diaries of Yorkshire gentlewoman Anne Lister, this play subverts all the conventions of Regency romance. Teasing out the entangled lives of Lister (nicknamed ‘Gentleman Jack’) and three of her many lovers, I KNOW MY OWN HEART explores the different choices women make in a time of limits and prohibitions. I KNOW MY OWN HEART was nominated for the Stewart Parker Award for Best Irish Debut Play.


Emma Donoghue (playwright, I KNOW MY OWN HEART). Born in Dublin in 1969, Donoghue is an award-winning writer, living in Canada. She adapted her novel ROOM for the screen, earning an Academy award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. (ROOM was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture, Brie Larson won Best Actress for the 2015 film). Donoghue also adapted ROOM for the stage and its world premiere was co-produced by Theatre Royal Stratford East and Abbey Theatre Dublin in May-July 2017. She has written six other plays as well as 18 novels. She is also adapting her novels THE WONDER and FROG MUSIC for the screen.

Elizabeth Swanson (director, I KNOW MY OWN HEART). Elizabeth Swanson is a Chicago-based theater director. Her recent credits include HARVEY (Three Brothers Theatre), WHERE ALL THE WHITE SNEAKERS AT? (Second City), and LUNGS (Granary Theatre, Cork, Ireland). Assistant directing credits include FUN HOME (Victory Gardens Theater), LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), and VARDO for the Dublin Theatre Festival (Anu Productions). Elizabeth has also directed for Stage 773’s Artists Lab and directed festival shows and readings with Chicago Dramatists, Pride Films & Plays, Artemisia, and Otherworld Theatre, among others. Elizabeth has an M.F.A. in theatre directing from the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts at Trinity College, Dublin.


Pride Films and Plays changes lives through the generation of diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that is essential viewing for all audiences. The company produces a four-play season of full productions, shoots one short film each year, and continues our famed play developmental projects. PFP is the principal tenant in Pride Arts Center.

Pride Arts Center, in its own right, produces events complimenting the PFP vision, including dance, cabaret, film, and more. Events can be one-night or limited run productions, or feature national treasures like Charles Busch.  PAC occupies The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway, which has 85 seats, and The Buena, which has 50 seats at 4147 N Broadway.

Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation.

PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northhalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.

For more information, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com or call 1.800.737.0984.




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