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Marsha Norman to Step Down From Juilliard’s Playwrights Program

Playwright Tanya Barfield will succeed Norman as the co-director, with David Lindsay-Abaire, of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program.

NEW YORK CITY: Evan Yionoulis, Richard Rodgers Director of Juilliard’s Drama Division, has announced that Marsha Norman will step down as co-director of Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the end of the 2019-20 academic year. Playwright and Juilliard alumna Tanya Barfield will succeed Norman in fall 2020, and will co-direct the program with David Lindsay-Abaire.

Marsha Norman.

“We’re grateful for Marsha’s 25-year tenure, which has built this program into an incredible incubator for playwriting talent,” said Yionoulis in a statement. “Her generosity and mentorship have shaped a generation of writers, and we celebrate her remarkable legacy. We’re delighted that Tanya and David, both acclaimed playwrights who studied with Marsha at Juilliard, will continue to inspire and challenge our students to tell the diverse stories that only they can tell, stories that speak to the times with clarity and boldness.”

Tanya Barfield.

Barfield served as Juilliard Drama Division’s literary manager from 2009 until 2014. Her play Bright Half Life, which received a Lambda Literary Award, will be presented by Juilliard Drama in November. Her play Of Equal Measure was performed at Center Theatre Group and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Other works include The Call ( co-production between Playwrights Horizons and Primary Stages), Blue Door (Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Seattle Repertory and Berkeley Repertory), Chat (New Dramatists’ Playtime Festival) and The Quick (New York Stage & Film). Barfield received the inaugural Lilly Award Commission, a Helen Merrill Award, Honorable Mention for the Kesselring Prize for Drama, and a Lark Play Development/NYSCA grant. She’s a two-time finalist for the Princess Grace Award. She participated in the Lark Play Development Center’s delegation of artists to Romania and was part of the PBS documentary Legacy: Being Black in America, which was hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Her residencies include the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the Ucross Foundation, New York Stage and Film, the Royal Court International Residency, and Seattle Rep’s Women Playwrights Festival at Hedgebrook. She’s also an alumna of New Dramatists and the Dramatist Guild Council. She also writes for television and shares a Writers Guild of America Award for her work on The Americans.

“Teaching with David, and Christopher Durang before David, has been one of the great joys of my career,” said Norman in a statement. “We have not ‘taught’ playwriting but rather listened to plays, talked about plays, told the writers what working playwrights go through, and gotten them ready for the critical decisions and collaborations that will make the difference in their careers as artists. I’m thrilled that Tanya will succeed me as co-director with David. She was one of my favorites at Juilliard. She was my assistant on the book for the musical, The Color Purple, and she is one of the most generous, thoughtful, and funny people I know. (And that’s exactly what I look for in humans.)”

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