10 Boston Playwrights You Should Know
As we enter another week of the pandemic, theatre artists continue to imagine a future for the art form that will thrive under “the new normal” — not just in the context of post-pandemic performances, but also with an eye towards increasing racial equity in the industry. One of the questions theatres are facing right now is: what kinds of plays do we want to see when theatres reopen? Whose voices and experiences are we going to see on stage?
One thing’s for sure, Boston is home to a great number of playwrights whose voices and themes are crucial to imagining a more equitable arts community. The more local writers that get produced, the more we will see an accurate and honest reflection of our world in the plays that we see. These writers, all at different, exciting points in their careers, are worth keeping an eye out for as companies continue to explore possible productions. Plus, you can support them now by following them plays available to read on the National New Play Network’s New Play Exchange). We hope you check these amazing folks out!
Francisca Da Silveira is a Cape Verdean-American playwright and Boston native whose plays have been developed with TC Squared, Company One, Flat Earth Theatre, Fresh Ink Theatre, and more companies across the U.S. and Europe. Her work as a playwright and as a dramaturg is grounded in social consciousness and her plays often include comedy, “but the kind where you stop laughing abruptly and question whether or not you were meant to be laughing in the first place.” Keep an eye out for her work with The Public Theater’s 2020-2022 Emerging Writers Group!
Lerch’s work focuses on the exploration of gender and sexual identity, as well as bringing sci-fi and fantasy elements to the stage. You can look forward to a digital staged reading of their play, Shrike, as part of Fresh Ink Theatre Company’s 2020-2021 season. An alien invasion and rebellion in a post-apocalyptic society? We’re there.
Dev Blair is a musician, performer, poet, and playwright whose work traverses all of those genres and forms with intelligence and fearlessness. A recipient of the Live Arts Boston 2020 Grant, Blair will be putting up a virtual production of A Game of LIFE: A Modern Ritual Drama, an unprecedented digital artwork existing at the intersection of theatre, video games, and live-streaming.
Siañez-De La O is a Mexican-American playwright whose work focuses on the political structures of the border. Currently a 2019-2021 Huntington Playwriting Fellow, his work will also be featured in Fresh Ink’s upcoming season, with his play Truth or Consequences, which follows two Agents from The Bureau of [REDACTED] as they spend a harrowing stay at The El Dorado Motel.
While her play Our Daughters Like Pillars was postponed due to COVID-19, you can still luxuriate in Greenidge’s work via Huntington Theatre Company’s Dream Boston audio drama series. The 54th in ’22 explores COVID-era dating in the city of Boston, as the whole series draws inspiration from locales all around town.
A recent alum of Boston University’s Playwriting MFA, Pipes writes “high concept, playful, and political,” work that often exploring themes of Latinx and African-Amerian identity. Her 2019 play Dream Hou$e follows two Latinx sisters on an HGTV-style show who are selling their family home, hoping to capitalize on the gentrification in their “changing neighborhood.”
As a writer, Rivera fuses poetry, magical realism, American history, and satire and absurdist comedy, “experimenting in wit and lunacy to capture the paradoxes of contemporary social relations.” His play Goliath: A Choreopoem dives into the life of a veteran as he faces the consequences of actions rooted in American masculinity and imperialism. As an Assistant Professor at Boston University, Rivera teaches performance studies with a focus on race, sexuality, and gender in U.S. American cultural production.
Rockwell’s writing is grounded in character-driven storytelling that aims to “disrupt complacency, foster cognitive empathy, and cultivate hope.” An alum of BU’s Playwriting MFA, she also recently earned second place for the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, for her play The Tragic Ecstasy of Girlhood, which was produced at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in 2018.
Valdes’ work has been featured across the US and UK and has developed plays with Company One and Huntington Theatre Company here in Boston. He is currently working on Downtown Crossing, a play that is based on interviews and community meetings with local immigrants and immigrants rights’ advocates, exploring the joys, fears, and pride of living life undocumented.
Alberdi is a Mexican-Basque playwright & dramaturg who frequently writes about being queer, being Mexican, and/or being brought up Catholic. Also a poet, he was the recipient of the Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwright’s Center, among other development opportunities that have led to work such as ¡Mamágua!, which is a coming-out story that blends supernatural horror and theatrical humor.