The Female Pope

The Female Pope is a highly disputed story about a woman in the 9th century who rose to the papacy. A young girl’s father – desperate to keep her safe – disguises her as a boy, with the promise of an education. This unlocks a passion for learning that propels her to the most powerful position in the world. A stunning achievement that threatens the very existence of the Catholic Church itself.

The Writers

Shannon BurkettLyrics and Libretto

Shannon Burkett is an actor, writer, and producer based in NYC. Acting: Broadway – The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (Arthur Miller, starring Patrick Stewart). Off-Broadway – The Atlantic, The Flea, Soho Rep, New Georges, WPA, Playwrights, as well as commercial runs. Librettest/Lyricist: The Female Pope (music: Heather Christian, O’Neill Semifinalist, NAMT 2022), So You Wanna be a Porn Star: a story of sex love and rock-n-roll, (music: Peter Salett), and The Cult. Productions: music video (Winner: Best Music Video at Los Angeles Movie Awards) and sold-out benefit cabarets (Laurie Beechman – Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

Heather ChristianMusic

Heather Christian is a Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Obie Award winning composer/performer making music centered shows and rituals. She is a 2021 Richard Rodgers Award winner and Sundance Institute Time Warner Fellow. Recent composing/performing credits include her own work Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova), Animal Wisdom (The Bushwick Starr, Wooly Mammoth, ACT) I am Sending You the Sacred Face (Theater In Quarantine), Prime: A Practical Breviary (Playwrights Horizons Soundstage). She has released 11 records, teaches vocal-based music composition at NYU, and can be seen regularly in concert halls and dive bars as Heather Christian & the Arbornauts.

Development History

At their initial meeting, writers Heather Christian and Shannon Burkett bonded over their love of Greek food, mathematics, science, spirituality, and their desire to create musicals rooted in their passions (minus the Greek food) that was appealing and inspiring to young people. The Female Pope is a semifinalist for Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s (NMTC). Shannon is an affiliated artist with New Georges, where The Female Pope has their support and are hosting an upcoming roundtable. Other exciting development news includes upcoming readings/workshops at Wellesley and Smith, the alma maters of some of the nation’s fiercest female leaders. 

Next Stages

Check back soon.