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Elsa Hiltner

Elsa Hiltner (she/her) is a costume designer and a writer and organizer on labor and pay equity issues in theatrical design.

Elsa Hiltner (she/her) is a costume designer and a writer and organizer on labor and pay equity issues in theatrical design based in Chicago. She is a co-founder of On Our Team and director of development at Collaboraction. In 2021 she was honored with the Michael Merritt Committee's Arts Advocate award. Theatrical design credits include Collaboraction, Silk Road Rising, Teatro Vista, Signal Ensemble, American Blues Theater, Steppenwolf, First Folio Theatre, Next Act Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, and Windy City Playhouse, among others. She holds a BA from Western Washington University. For more information and speaking availability visit www.elsahiltner.com.

***Photo by Joel Maisonet

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The Price of Pay Activism
Essay

The Price of Pay Activism

2 September 2021

Genevieve Beller and Elsa Hiltner discuss exploitation and abuse in the theatre field, pay equity, how there should always be space for people to learn and move forward in a better way, and more.

a person handing over a ticket
Pay Equity
Essay

Pay Equity

What’s In It For Theatre Companies?

6 January 2021

Elsa Hiltner examines the value of pay equity in the theatre through a fresh lens: how it benefits companies.

a group watching a presentation
Inequity by Design
Essay

Inequity by Design

13 July 2020

Elsa Hiltner discusses equity issues for designers in the theatre industry and offers tips for how artists can work together to change the system.

A Call for Equal Support in Theatrical Design
Essay

A Call for Equal Support in Theatrical Design

23 November 2016

Chicago-based costume designer, textile designer, and wardrobe stylist Elsa Hiltner considers the division of labor and allocation of technical support within theatrical design.