Emily Ritger

Founder and Artistic Director of The Midwives


Emily currently lives between Chicago and Wisconsin where she writes, directs, teaches, makes music, and dreams about owning a farm turned arts venue/food co-op/retreat center. As an administrator, director and teacher she has worked for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, American Theatre Company, Redmoon, Cleveland Public Theatre, Northlight Theatre, ChiArts, The New Harmony Project and The National High School Institute.

Her training is in Viola Spolin Theatre Games, Viewpoints, Puppetry, Contact Improv, experimental methods of writing and various forms of music. She is interested in 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. She is curious about the land we live on, how we are connected to it, the people who lived here before, and how we take care of it for the future. She went to the University of Evansville for her undergrad degree where she Theatre, Philosophy, and Religion. Later, she designed her own theatre MFA with the fantastical hippies of Sarah Lawrence College.

Her superpower is connecting people. She loves goats, cheese, walks in the woods, gardening, being alone, and experimenting in the kitchen. She has a dog named Gatsby whom she loves and a husband named Mike who is endlessly patient.

Other projects include: Crud, part documentary style theatre, part fantastical music and shadow puppetry, examining a day her family never talks about. If you Believe, a children’s puppetry piece driven by music and fairytales. Behaymas, a collaboration with playwright Aliza Bartfield: three humans and one animal blur the lines of domesticity and societal constructions of family.


  • Connecting People
  • Making Things Happen
  • Making Food - especially the crackers for Anne to eat
  • Knowing what people need
  • Creating impossible tasks
  • And Challenging all involved


Anne Shirley
Yves Klein
Sybil Kempson
Claudia Castelucci
Viola Spolin
Her Parents


Aurora Road - A working trilogy currently including the plays, The Day Krissy LeDuke Fell Through the Ice and Pig Day.