A Black female performer in a green head scarf speaks to a seated audience.
Ashley Reign in Khuraki. Photo credit: Heather Mull.


RealTime connects human beings through innovative theatrical experiences.

Founded in 2015, we’re a Pittsburgh-based performance company that creates unique theatrical works celebrating real people and real places–works that emphasize the interconnectedness of all human beings. Our values are evident in the work we make as well as how we work: collaboratively and with community. We reach deep into our communities for partnership, talent, and inspiration. Every project is created by a diverse collective of individuals with knowledge and experience reaching well beyond the arts, who are united by the story we’re telling together.

As “curators of wonder in the present tense”, we design theatrical experiences that lean into liveness. We believe that live storytelling in shared spaces is more potent and vital than ever as an engine of empathy and connection. We seek to generate this connection, curiosity and wonder through our work, and help audiences see the world in new and unexpected ways.

Our performances have been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Grant, the City of Pittsburgh, the Heinz Endowments, the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Hillman Foundation, Opportunity Fund, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Office for Public Art, Neighborhood Allies, PACE, Buhl Foundation, and many individual donors who believe, like us, that live theater as a form is thrilling, extraordinarily beautiful, and a vital contributor to human well-being and meaningful social discourse.

Real people. Real stories. RealTime.

our team

photo credit: Molly Rice.

molly rice, artistic director (she/her)

… is a playwright, songwriter & experience designer whose work has been developed and produced in theaters across the country and in NYC (Public Theater/ Joe’s Pub, WP Theater, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Soho Rep/ Ars Nova, Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick, HERE, 54 Below, Tisch/ NYU MFA program). Her work has been published and written about in American Theater Magazine, The Dramatist, Dramatics Magazine, Kenyon Review, Play: A Journal,  Indie Theater Now, Clarkson Potter Press, Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal, Tripwire Harlot Press, Heinemann Press, and local and national press outlets including the New York Times. Honors include Brown University’s Weston Prize for Playwriting, Women’s International Theater Festival, Princess Grace Award (finalist), PONY Award (finalist), O’Neill National Playwrights Conference (2-time finalist), nominations for the New York Innovative Theater Awards, the Kesselring Fellowship, Cherry Lane Mentor Project, the Pittsburgh Mayor’s Award for Public Art, the Carole R. Brown award, and Global Pittsburgh’s Organizational Diversity Champion award. She has developed numerous plays at institutions of higher education and was a resident artist in New Work Initiatives at Montclair and Pace Universities with director Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812) and composer Orion Johnstone. She’s enjoyed residencies at the Orchard Project, Tofte Lake, Bard College, P73/Yale, and a 3-time resident of the Missoula Colony, and in 2024 will be in residency at the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy. Projects beyond RealTime include Futurity: A Musical by the Lisps (book co-writer, additional text and story) at ART (Cambridge, 2012) and Soho Rep (Lucille Lortel Award for Best New Musical, 2016); and THE SAINTS TOUR, a site-specific traveling play that has appeared in neighborhoods across the country since 2009. Molly currently teaches in the Point Park Writing for Screen and Stage MFA program; her MFA is from Brown University, under Paula Vogel. 

photo credit: Molly Rice.

rusty thelin, artistic director (he/him)

… is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, and attended the Hollins University Graduate Playwriting program.  He has worked with a number of notable theater companies in NYC, including 13P, Clubbed Thumb, Soho Rep, Bread & Puppet, The Brick, Teleotheatre Company and New Georges. Rusty graduated from the Broadway League’s Commercial Theater Institute, and has produced indie rock musicals including The GrooveLily’s ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME (Seattle Rep, 54 Below, NYC’s Tony Kaiser Theater, Paramount @ ArtsEmerson); FUTURITY by The Lisps (HERE Arts Center, ART); STRUCK by Rebecca Hart and SOMETIMES IN PRAGUE by Orion Johnstone & Joshua Gelb (New Ohio’s Ice Factory); and CANARY by Molly Rice (New York Theatre Workshop, co-conceived & directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin). As a director, Rusty has developed new plays and community-fueled work with playwrights such as Lucy Thurber, Maura Campbell, Justin Maxwell, and Molly Rice. He has directed classics like DEATH OF A SALESMAN, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, and HAMLET. Trained as a classical actor by members of the OSF and RSC, Rusty has appeared on stage as a number of Shakespearian characters, including Petrucchio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, Caliban & the villainous Antonio in THE TEMPEST, and the good Antonio in TWELFTH NIGHT; he was nominated for an Irene Adler Award for originating the role of Jess in PAPER CUP OCEAN.  For RealTime, Rusty directs and produces original works, including THE SAINTS TOUR:  GREATER BRADDOCK and KHURAKI, as well as ANGELMAKERS:  SONGS FOR FEMALE SERIAL KILLERS, which he co-conceived with his partner Molly Rice.

our board of directors

Ombrea Askew, LCSW: Social Worker, Veteran’s Administration Pittsburgh

Leilani Mears: IT Product Manager, PNC Bank

Molly Rice: ex officio

Sean Rogers: Software Developer, Bluesight; novelist

Gina Rosso: Attorney

Megan Skiba: Associate Attorney, Reed Smith

Rusty Thelin: ex officio

additional committee members

Feyisola Akintola: Manager, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for Mayor Ed Gainey

Graham Fandrei: Major Gifts Officer, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Brooke Mullin: Chief Financial Officer, Penrose Advisors, LLC

Emmanuelle Wambach: artist + entrepreneur, owner of Emmanuelle Ceramics

Leeann Younger: Pastor of Cityview Covenant Church, Chair of Pittsburgh Democratic Committee

our current workspace

The Hollander Project – the flagship initiative of our friends at ForGoodPGH – is a co-working space and business incubator for female entrepreneurs from Braddock and surrounding Mon Valley communities.