Grief Dialogues



Grief Dialogues has blossomed into a massive community conversation about all things death, dying, and grief-related. Today, we offer:

  • Resources for patients, families, and caregivers
  • Relatable (and beautiful) stories from talented artists and authors through Grief Dialogues Stories
  • Ongoing events, news, networking, and conversation starters on our social platforms.

Grief Dialogues at a Glance

Elizabeth Coplan, founder and chief playwright, started the Grief Dialogues in 2016 as a theatrical expression opening new conversations between grievers, those with terminal and chronic illness, and the health care providers who serve them.

In 2019 Coplan joined forces with Virginia Mason Palliative Care Program to create an evening of short plays followed by a moderated discussion.

As COVID-19 developed, we noticed a massive increase in demand for caregivers and medical providers. We transitioned our performances to online platforms to provide our content in a safe and accessible way.

Now, in 2022, we proudly announce the creation of a screenplay adaptation of the play “Honoring Choices” recently filmed in New York City.

We learn by engaging in theatre. The main goal is to feel what another is feeling, whether you are an actor on the stage, or a member of the audience sitting in a dark theatre.

At Grief Dialogues, we use theatre as the artistic expression most likely to reach an audience on a personal level. Theatre is the ultimate empathy generator. The productions allow us, as individuals and as a society, to face the untold, unheard, and often misunderstood tales of life and death.

Meet Elizabeth Coplan

Elizabeth Coplan is a 40-year marketing and public relations veteran who turned her personal loss and grief into the groundbreaking play, Grief Dialogues and built the nonprofit Grief Dialogues, a theatrical movement to create new conversations about dying, death, and grief.

Elizabeth Coplan,
Founder of Grief Dialogues

Her other playwriting credits include the award-winning Hospice: A Love Story, as well as Honoring ChoicesUntoldIndependence Day, and Death, Doctor among other plays.  She is also the script consultant, director, and producer forJuntos Nos Ayudamos/Better Together with Dr. Enedina Enriquez.

The stage play Honoring Choices was first commissioned for Honoring Choices PNW in late 2019 and performed live in February 2020.  Subsequently it was produced on Zoom throughout 2020 and 2021 with the original cast, an African-American cast, and a Latinx cast in Spanish.  In 2022, the demand for performances expanded into the necessity to develop a film.  Honoring Choices (the film) is now available for licensing and is an official selection of the Legacy Film Festival on Aging presentation in 2023.

Elizabeth is also the Out of Grief Comes Art  podcast creator and co-host, and the Executive Producer of 8 AM, a short film on traumatic loss. 

Elizabeth’s most recent play, Over My Dead Body is currently in Off-Broadway development.  An updated version of Grief Dialogues will be staged in the New York area in 2023. 

Elizabeth is a published author with essays in numerous anthologies and is the editor of Grief Dialogues: The Book, a finalist for the 2019 Pacific Northwest Book Award.


Grief Dialogues: The Book

Her early love of theatre pivoted to playwriting when her first play, the award-winning Hospice: A Love Story was performed in Seattle, WA; Sedona, AZ; in LA at The Group Rep, and in the UK.

Elizabeth workshopped her play Hospice (now titled Over My Dead Body) at 18th & Union theatre (Seattle) in 2017. Hospice received a 2021 Writer’s Digest Award in the Script Category.

Hospice, now known as Over My Dead Body, in October 2017 at 18th & Union.

Grief Dialogues: The Play opened the Seattle Death Salon in September 2017. In June 2018, the original cast performed the show in the Seattle area to sold out crowds. 

2017, Seattle Death Salon opening night of Grief Dialogues: The Play

Elizabeth, Grief Dialogues Play

Since then, the play, or a portion of the play, has been performed in New York for the Dramatists Guild National Conference, and in Las Vegas (to honor the First Responders on the anniversary for the Las Vegas shooting), and in Portland, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Los Angeles and in the UK, as well virtually performed for Reimagine: Life, Loss, Love.

Untold, UW Center for Health Sciences, 2020

Elizabeth produced the Overcoming Womxn Play Festival in Seattle 2019 where she debuted her short play Untold. Untold has since been performed for the University of Washington Center for Health Sciences, for Reimagine, and at the Beautiful Dying Expo in 2020.

Honoring Choices PNW commissioned Elizabeth to write the play Honoring Choices for a live performance in February 2020.

Since the COVID 19 shutdown, Honoring Choices has been performed on Zoom numerous times with three different casts including an all African-American cast and a Latinx cast (in Spanish).

Honoring Choices Cast
Honoring Choices Cast

Honoring Choices casts

Her newest play, Independence Day, a collaboration with playwright/actor Jeffrey Grover, was filmed and recently screened at the Western Region Aging Life Care Conference.

Independence Day, Short Play

Elizabeth is the Executive Producer of the film 8 AM, based on the play by Mark Harvey Levine. 8 AM won several awards for selection including the Seattle International Film Festival, Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, Anchorage Film Festival, Byron Bay Festival (Australia), Cleveland International Film Festival, and YES Film Festival in Columbus, IN.

She is now working with Dr. Jessica Zitter on a new play. Extreme Measures is an adaptation of Dr. Zitter’s book by the same name.

Elizabeth has also recently been featured in a chapter of Robert A Neimeyer’s book, New Techniques of Grief Therapy, Environment and Beyond. 

Even before becoming a playwright and producer, Elizabeth never lost her early love of theatre. She is a financial patron of Seattle theatre and a current board member of the Intiman where she serves as the Strategic Planning Chair.

Elizabeth and her husband Scott live on an island in the Pacific Northwest.
Scott & Elizabeth at Celluloid